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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Monday, October 31, 2005

Accepting realities

Australia's Muslim community is growing - and under ever-increasing scrutiny - and yet this is rarely reflected in the mainstream media. I can't think of one regular Muslim commentator in the country. A shameful situation for a media elite that prefers white, privileged, Anglo, middle-age "experts." Australian parochialism rages on.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is a weekly columnist for the UK Independent. A progressive Muslim woman, her musings are frequently challenging and punchy. Her latest, "Hitler couldn't have put it better", discusses Israel, the Muslim world's attitude to the Jewish state and much needed perspective on Western culpability (subscription required, so I've posted the full article below):

"Let me try and describe to you my reactions since the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, made his deplorable and inflammatory remarks last week. My brain feels as if it is a squash court, balls hitting various points, then another, and another with confusing speed and force, a repetitive condition if you are, as so many of us are, people who seek to push for a more equal and decent world where might is not right and universal rights and obligations are incumbent on all.

"Ahmadinejad said Israel should be "wiped off the map". Hitler couldn't have put it better. The Fuhrer would have played the audience similarly - a conference of emotive students marking Jerusalem Day, who would readily rise to imagine the glorious obliteration of the Jewish state. You know the type, furious people like millions of others across the Middle East, disenfranchised and stamped on by their own leaders, who displace their anger by turning their eyes on Israel, lusting for its annihilation in a kind of political pornography which provides temporary relief but can only lead to a greater sense of hopeless impotence and homeless rage.

"So the president picked the right crowd for his demagoguery, the right place too. Tehran is always willing to join in with "spontaneous" agitation, flag burning and marches to register defiance of the West while their own liberties are strangled noiselessly.

"It is not wrong to deplore the way Europe created Israel and the brutal cynicism with which the anti-Semitic European continent deported its own guilt to the Middle East, stealing the land of Palestinians who were not responsible for the Holocaust but were asked to pay for it with their lives and their inheritance. It is also legitimate strongly to criticise the actions and policies of successive Israeli governments. But Israel exists, and it must, a post-Second World War sanctuary for Jewish people persecuted for 2,000 years. And it is vital for progressive Muslims to stand up and say so.

"The president's remarks have been condemned by the righteous across the globe, and by individuals who like to believe they are righteous. The UN, the EU, our Parliament, Russia, China, even the new sober generation of civic Palestinian leaders, Israel obviously, and reformers within Iran have come out to express their alarm and dismay, clear rejoinders to the speech made by a leader who was once Mayor of Tehran and was elected to his present position only three months ago.

"The hateful Ahmadinejad is the worst thing to happen to Iran in recent years. A mean, lean little man with little parts and even less imagination, his restless inadequacy grasps at cruel despotism, nuclear military ambitions and religious certainties. His best friends are the Revolutionary Guards and "immorality" police who are once again beating up women and girls who dare let a wisp of hair escape the hijab. To see him isolated is heartening.

"But when Blair and Bush and the grisly John Bolton, US Ambassador to the UN, start to strut and warn Iran off with imperial arrogance, my outrage against Ahmadinejad is overwritten by fear and revulsion provoked by these leaders who have already led Iraq into such bloody chaos that it isn't even a state any more. There it is again, that glint in Blair's eyes, seeking another folly, another chapter for his dodgy legacy, another theatre to use our weaponry and wealth to show upstart nations who is boss.

"Domestically, commentators talk of Blair as a busted flush, a leader whose hold on his Cabinet is slipping away. On this week's Any Questions, poor Tessa Jowell tried pathetically to defend Blair's authority. He was one of the all-time great leaders of the Labour Party, she claimed devotedly. You felt for her as the audience and the other panellists laughed in her face, especially as she attempted to remind people that we have a UN and that reactions needed to be modulated and agreed by that august body. Yeah, right.

"Bush is in serious trouble too, in Iraq and at home, and may well choose to galvanise and distract Americans by attacking Iran, admonitory blows similar to those used by Reagan against Libya and by the adulterous Bill Clinton against Iraq when he was in trouble over Lewinksy.

"Then there is the Israeli leadership, buoyed up by this escalating situation, rushing to and fro making demands which I hope will be put down firmly. The foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, has said on Israel radio: "We have decided to open a broad diplomatic offensive. I have called on all my counterparts through the world not to turn a blind eye and to stop once and for all the Iranian games."

"They want the UN Security Council to meet, to take tough actions against the republic of Iran. Their political allies are already supplying aggressive postures and assembling "evidence" that Iran is likely to use nuclear weapons. In truth, there is only one country which has the capacity to use nuclear weapons in the region, and that is Israel, a nation that flouts all international directives and UN resolutions on nuclear weapons and on its policies in the occupied territories, which have victimised generations of Palestinians.

"The really terrifying fact is that nobody knows how big are the stockpiles of these weapons, not even the US, even though it freely supplies what it can to a country in which many volatile and unbalanced politicians get themselves elected. Nobody inspects Israel's nuclear capacity; the subject is never openly raised domestically or internationally.

"If the heat continues to be turned up by hardline leaders on all sides, we could get "pre-emptive" strikes by Israel, now that the principle has been established by the allies who embarked on the illegal war on Iraq. They may be unwise enough to think that such an action would secure Israel, and that the world would approve of it; in reality, it would only strengthen the already bellicose anti-Semitic heroes of the Middle East, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad foremost among them.

"And where is the proportionality? The Iranian president said dreadful and dangerous things. He will have encouraged suicide bombers already in the pipeline, waiting to shatter their lives and those of others. So in that sense, these weren't only words. But other powerful Iranians have intervened to cool the flames. The nicely named Expediency Council has said Iran wanted a fair two-state settlement for Israel and Palestine.

"So the thoughts knock about in my head, and I find once again that it isn't possible to emit simple outrage against one party or to agree that powerful and supremely armed, confrontational nations can do what they will, but that less powerful, well armed and confrontational nations must be punished. And the headache pounds away."

12 Comments:

Blogger Ibrahamav said...

The Palestinians were not asked by anyone other than their Arab overlords to sacrifice their lives.

Even though the Palestinian leadership aided Hitler is his quest to kill Jews.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 5:25:00 am  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

"subscription required, so I've posted the full article below"

You know, Anty, when you publish your tract for MUP, I hope bloggers everywhere post the whole thing for free so we don't have to give you any royalties for the pleasure of laughing at your prose. Let's see how much you like blatant intellectual property theft then!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 7:18:00 am  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

Ibrahamav: You forgot to mention that Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is an anti-semitic, islamo-fascist, blah-blah.

"Even though the Palestinian leadership aided Hitler is his quest to kill Jews."

I was given to understand that you believed the Palestinians didn't really exist in the 1930s and 1940s. Is it your position now that they DID exist before the Europeans started turning up in Palestine? Just trying to clear up what your position is.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 7:42:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

US companies IG Farben and IBM were involved in business dealings with the Nazis, as was Groeg Bush'd grandaddy. In fact IG Farben provided the cheicals for the gas chambers. Does that mean they too aided Hitler is his quest to kill Jews?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 7:56:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Edward was given to understand? You were given nothing. Perhaps you stole it? But it didn't exist. How can you steal what doesn't exist? Then you must have made it up.

If Bush was in Germany at the time, as a leader of the American people, and he encouraged Hitler to kill Jews, then he would have been guilty of providing Hitler with verbal support.

No Bush did, but a leader of the Arabs living in the Palestinian region, some who referred to themselves as palestinians, as almost all of the Jews living in the region identified themselves, did.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 8:44:00 am  
Blogger Comical_Ali said...

"Does that mean they too aided Hitler is his quest to kill Jews?"

Yup.

But the "Palestinians" (in answer to Ed's question -- even the "Palestinians" didnt consider that they existed at the time either...they always historically considered themselves "Syrians" fighting for a greater united Pan Arab cause) and their leadership played a direct role in inciting and carrying out genocide against Jews in Europe.

In one instance alone, thousands of hungrian Jewish children were deported to Auschwitz at the instance of the "Palestinian leader" Hussieni. Without his instance and persuasion (he persuaded Eichmann and Himmler), these children could have been saved and released to the allies.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 12:44:00 pm  
Blogger boredinHK said...

Can I ask Ibrahamav and Comical ali as question ?
I guess this is a debatable point but is there any concensus that the jewish peoples had any claim to any lands in the middle east before the establishment of the state of Israel?
Which international body sanctioned the creation of the state? The UN ? Only Europe ?

Ms Alibhai-Brown frequently appears on the BBC show Dateline. She inevitably interprets events along the line of west =bad , muslims = oppressed by /west whites. it leads to her current confusion I think.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 2:20:00 pm  
Blogger Comical_Ali said...

"I can't think of one regular Muslim commentator in the country."

Amin Saikal -- columns regularly featured in the fairfax press and is a regular TV commentator on ME affairs.

Waleed Aly - also featured prominantly as a commentator.


"and that is Israel, a nation that flouts all international directives and UN resolutions on nuclear weapons and on its policies in the occupied territories, which have victimised generations of Palestinians."

A country which flouts NON binding UN resolutions which were convienantly introduced and passed by the 52 member Muslim block -- countries which happen to be the most brutual and oppressive on the face of this earth.

B/thw there is no international directive or UN resolution - that is at least binding - which calls for Israel to disarm.

The reason why countries like Iran, North Korea and Iraq have been targetted over countries like Israel is simple -- these countries have threatened to use WMD or in Iraq's case already have (against the Kurds and Iranians). In Iran's case, the head state, threatened to wipe off another country off the face of the earth. His speech was just a one off -- there were many delivered by his "moderate" predecessor and Iran's religious elite.

Thats precisley why these countries are called "rogue" and have to be forced to disarm.

Israel has weapons for a reason -- and will only use them if that one reason becomes a reality.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 2:36:00 pm  
Blogger Ian Westmore said...

Comical_Ali said...

their leadership played a direct role in inciting and carrying out genocide against Jews in Europe.

In one instance alone, thousands of hungrian Jewish children were deported to Auschwitz at the instance of the "Palestinian leader" Hussieni. Without his instance and persuasion (he persuaded Eichmann and Himmler), these children could have been saved and released to the allies.


That was one man, living in Germany.

What evidence is there that Hussieni knew what fate awaited the Hungarian children? Or that he knew what Auschwitz was really for? Most Germans didn't, including many of those near the top of the political and military establishment.

It is even less likely that the Palestine leadership in Palestine knew anything of the Holocaust. Their support of Germany was about ending British rule of Palestine not murdering Jews.

And what evidence is there that the Germans would have released the children to the allies anyway? Hitler's ideology wasn't simply to banish Jews from Europe, but to exterminate them. Why would he allow them to go to Palestine when he wanted to control that too? What do you think Rommel was doing driving east towards the very same Palestine? Sightseeing?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 7:41:00 pm  
Blogger Ian Westmore said...

comical ali wrote:

A country which flouts NON binding UN resolutions which were convienantly introduced and passed by the 52 member Muslim block -- countries which happen to be the most brutual and oppressive on the face of this earth.

1) 52 states alone cannot pass a resolution!

2) Some of the resolution have been passed by the Security Council. Muslim states are rarely invited as temporary members, and even then only 1 at a time.

Israel has weapons for a reason -- and will only use them if that one reason becomes a reality.

Yes, to wipe out its neighbours. A possibility that seems to upset very few.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 7:53:00 pm  
Blogger Comical_Ali said...

"That was one man, living in Germany"

One man living in Germany? It was one man who happened to be the leader and representative of what are now called the "Palestinians."

"What evidence is there that Hussieni knew what fate awaited the Hungarian children? Or that he knew what Auschwitz was really for? Most Germans didn't, including many of those near the top of the political and military establishment."

I dont know exactly how much your average German knew, but I can tell you (with confidence) what I think the top military and political establisments new. After all Nazi genocide (especially in the East) was out in the open and the SS murder squads worked along side the regular army and political establishment - not outside of it. But thats another topic.

Not only did Hussieni know (he vistied Nazi death camps and inspected the gas chambers) but he activley encouraged the Nazis -- there is ample documentary evidence available (one of these is a passionate letter, urging the Nazis to send Hungrian Jewish children to Auschwitz instead of releasing them to the allies)

And not only did he encourage -- but he activley participated in the genocide by setting up Muslim SS units in the Balkans. These units massacred thousands of Serbs, Jews, Croats and Gypsies. So not only was he an inciter of genocide, crimes against humanity and Nazi war crimes - but he directly carried these crimes out himself.

"It is even less likely that the Palestine leadership in Palestine knew anything of the Holocaust."

The rallying cry of the Hussieni leadership was "death to the Jews" and large scale genocide and pogroms were carried out by the Mufti before the outbreak of the War - one was the Hebron massacer of 1929.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005 10:36:00 am  
Blogger Comical_Ali said...

"1) 52 states alone cannot pass a resolution!"

52 countries working as a single block, with all their allies and oil influence, are more than enough to directly influence the passing of a Non-binding resolution in the UN general assembly.

"2) Some of the resolution have been passed by the Security Council."

Which binding UN resolutions has Israel flouted?


"Muslim states are rarely invited as temporary members, and even then only 1 at a time."

Israel has never been invited. Countries like Pakistan, Algeria and Syria have. They also happen to have more allies who are permanent members - Russia, China and France.

"Yes, to wipe out its neighbours. A possibility that seems to upset very few."

To wipe out its neighbours only if Israel itself is faced with the possibility of anniahlation (and her neighbours - a more recent example is Iran - have stated their intentions loud and clear).

Wednesday, November 02, 2005 10:50:00 am  

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