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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Taking sides

Saree Makdisi, Counterpunch, February 10:

"...There can be no doubt that the Hamas charter is not only xenophobic, sectarian, and racist, but also ill-conceived, inaccurate, retrograde, and intellectually vacuous. Nevertheless, the obsessive attention being paid to this document in the US in recent weeks forces one to ask not merely what purposes such an obsession serves, but also what equally (or even more) important issues it elides or covers up.

"First, one has to marvel at the interest being paid to the racism of the Hamas charter, given the extraordinary lack of interest here in Israel's own racism, which is executed not merely on paper and in theory but actually, practically, materially.

"Israel's Basic Laws, for example, discriminate between Jews and non-Jews in ways that many of those Americans who object most loudly to the mixture of religion and politics strangely don't seem to find objectionable. And Israel's unique existence as a country that expressly claims to be not the state of its actual citizens but rather of a globally dispersed people manifestly privileges the (non-Israeli) Jews of New York and Chicago over Israel's actually existing non-Jewish citizens. Although they amount to some twenty percent of the state's population, the latter are literally written into second class status by virtue of their non-Jewishness in what loudly proclaims itself to be the Jewish state."


Blogger psydoc said...

Hmmm, thats a toughie. Why would anyone "obsess" about a charter that was racist etc etc etc? Could it be because the charter has been the basis of deliberately targetting non combattants with suicide bombings? Is this the tiny detail that eludes the author?

No, it is not enough that Palestinians would voluntarily elect a terrorist entity that holds these values. This again would not be enough reason to examine them closely. The close attention must be denigrated into the world 'obsession' in order to de-legitimise the real interest that should be paid to a country that elects terrorist leaders. Makdisi merely tries to obfuscate thse issues by once again pointing the finger at Israel. This is the typical action of the antisemite with their backs against the wall: when in doubt, accuse Israel.

Israel's basic laws reflect the utter failure of the world to protect Jewry during the second world war. Jews cannot rely on any state other than their own for complete sanctuary. It is transparently discriminatory and requires no defence.

Israel is not the only state based on religious values. Almost all Western states incorporate Christianity and Most Arab states Islam. I don't think as a Jew I am even allowed to go to many places inside Saudi. The Vatican will always be headed by the pope. Frankly I don't care. I do care however about a terrorist group that has as its raisen detre the elimination of a peaceful neighbour.

Sunday, February 12, 2006 8:42:00 pm  
Blogger Clumsy Birds said...

Comparing what is effectively Israel’s Constitution to Hamas’s Charter is a nice attempt at tying to show some kind of institutionalised South African (circa Apartheid) state, but the evidence just isn’t there.

That’s never mattered much to Counterpunch though, Makdisi is probably just another ‘creative writer’ employed for $25 an article.

Sunday, February 12, 2006 8:44:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...


Excuse me for being flippant but this passage is just ridiculous, "Israel's basic laws reflect the utter failure of the world to protect Jewry during the second world war."

How long are Israel's supporters going to rely on the holocaust? They repeatedly complain that Israel's existence or legitimacy is under scrutiny, not only from Arab and Muslim countries, but from the West also, yet insist on tying Israel's legitimacy to the events of World War II.

What are Israel’s amen actually saying here? That in light of the trauma of the Holocaust, it is discriminatory for the international community to hold Israel to the standards it holds other western countries, and that they should continue to tolerate the ongoing irrational behavior of Israel as it continues to exorcise it's demons through inflicting brutality on others?

This statement is even more fanciful, "Jews cannot rely on any state other than their own for complete sanctuary. It is transparently discriminatory and requires no defence."

Again, Israeli apologists pull this one out at the drop of a hat, insisting that there is a second impending holocaust on the horizon, in spite of the fact that there is not a shred of evidence to suggest this is likely.

The notion that Israel's existence is some insurance policy to ease the minds of Jewish people, raised to believe that the world hates them, makes debating this very subject impossible, because it ensures that such debates are driven by irrational arguments.

And Clumsy Bird, COnterpunch has pumped out some incredile articles, including those from Uri Avnery. Sorry that they don't aspire to the lofty standrds of your poster boy, David Horowitz. Whereas Counterpunch raises it's money through public donations, Horowitz recives big fat cheques from right wing think tanks.

Monday, February 13, 2006 2:47:00 am  
Blogger Brian said...

Israel's basic laws reflect the utter failure of the world to protect Jewry during the second world war. Jews cannot rely on any state other than their own for complete sanctuary. It is transparently discriminatory and requires no defence.

The reality is that the concept of a sectarian state in the mode of Israel has become "outdated" in the short time since Israel's formation.

It is true that many western states still have some claim of official religion, but any attempt to use the tactics employed by Israel to preserve that identify, such immigration restrictions based on religion, state sanctioned attempts to increase the "preferred" population and the second class status of the non-state approved group would be pilloried.

Think if the UK or the US attempted similar policies? One only has to look at the treatment of the BNP to see the result. Additionally, much of the backlash would come at the hands of mainstream Jewish organizations.

And this does not even include the day-to-day outrages Israel engages in in the name of security such as tying illegal Palestinian workers to donkeys, killing of young children and confiscation of housing with "absentee" owners who are living in the houses.

All this adds up to significant condemnation from the mainstream and left sides of the isle for Israel. (The hard right is only angry because they can't do the same.) Frankly, the condemnation is rather mild all things considered.

Israel is not the only state based on religious values. Almost all Western states incorporate Christianity and Most Arab states Islam.

As i mentioned above this is in name only. No western state employes the same methods as Israel.

I don't think as a Jew I am even allowed to go to many places inside Saudi.

Not a western state.

The Vatican will always be headed by the pope. Frankly I don't care.

Well, other mainstream Jewish groups do care, as well as the mainstream left press. They scream bloody hell if anyone proposes preserving the religious identity of their nation using the tactics employed by Israel.

And, this does not even go into the racial component of "Jewishness," which simmers below the surface of this debate.

I do care however about a terrorist group that has as its raisen detre the elimination of a peaceful neighbour.

While I don't want anymore conflict, you really can't argue that, from a Palestinian point of view, that Israel behaved peacefully towards them over the last 60 years. As someone who lives in "settled" territory (the US) I concede that the matter is very complex, but to argue that Hamas is completely unjustified in its anger toward Israel is not taking a full view of things.

Monday, February 13, 2006 2:49:00 am  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

Yeah, you're right clumsy. As long as there is something more outrageous out there than the Israeli state's racism, then it's not really something to be condemned. In fact, we should be supporting it. Two cheers for institutionalised racism.

Monday, February 13, 2006 4:29:00 am  
Blogger psydoc said...

brian: "to argue that Hamas is completely unjustified in its anger toward Israel is not taking a full view of things."

You need to understand the difference between anger and terrorism. I don't care who is angry, I do care about a policy of deliberately targetting men, women and children with suicide bombers in pizza parlours. There are the elected representatives of the palestinians. It is a shocking indictment on palestinians to have elected such blatantly bigotted fanatics. In doing this they condemn themselves and reveal to the world that it is not a small group that support such tactics, but the vox populi.

American Indians don't do it, Australian Aboriginals don't do it and neither should Arab/Islamic terrorists.

No Western state employs the same methods as Israel for very obvious reasons, no western state has been under an existential threat since its very existence. The threats are continual, military and political in nature.

No Western state responds perfectly to terrorism, because it is a burden that is extrodinary and outside the realm of usual experience. It is a dilemma for all countries to respond adequately whilst attempting to preserve autonomy and freedom. This is something that Arafat and his terrorist cronies have exploited over years: use ambulances for terrorists then complain of human rights violations when they are then stopped; use schools and hospitals as military bases then complain that the Israelis are killing children and the sick; use Mosques as refuge for combattants and then complain that they are religiously persecuted.

Sure Palestinians are angrey: they have been the victim of sinister and cynical manipulaiton by their own leaders as a strategy to demonise Israel. And guess what everyone suffers.

Monday, February 13, 2006 11:01:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

And so continue you absurd generalizations Psydoc.

Abumlances being used for terrorists huh? What about when Israel lies to the world about UN ambulances being used to move missiles and get's caught out by video which proves otherwise? Where are you getting your information from?

As usual, you make these biased comments with the assumption that terrorism happens in a vacuum. It's a non issue that Israel inflicts what is essentially state sanctioned terrorism of it's own, just so long as the Palestinians don't do it is that right?

Oppression is to be excused and even encouraged, but how dare the victims fight back. It's perfectly alright to bulldoze 10 thousand homes, and build Israeli settlements in their place, but how dare those terrorists bomb a pizza bar! 10 thousand homes destroyed and yet you suggest that the real reason to be angry id that they have been the victim of sinister and cynical manipulation by their own leaders as a strategy to demonize Israel.

Yes, the Palestinians are the victims of manipulation by their leadership, while in the absence of any facts to support the theory, people like yourself maintain the fantasy that the Jews are facing a repeat of the holocaust.

What delusion and denial. Yes, there's that word again.

Incidentally, you seem to have avoided responding to my rebuttal of your earlier missive.

Monday, February 13, 2006 11:30:00 am  
Blogger psydoc said...

Oh, thats right, step inside a pizza bar and kill young children rather than resort to the law to address your grievances.

Monday, February 13, 2006 12:59:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

The law? You really want to play that childish game Psydoc?

By the law, I gather you are referrign to to the law that sanctions the act of firing 17 rounds into a 13 year old girl ( or shooting a 9 year old girl ( Thos terrorists sure do start young don't they?

I guess there is little reason to step into a pizza bar and waste your own life when you can do the job from safety of a check point and get paid to do it.

Monday, February 13, 2006 1:21:00 pm  
Blogger psydoc said...

addamo, it is impossible debating with you. The tragic death of the young girl you speak of was fully investigated. It is self-evident that the IDF do not target children as a matter of policy. The same cannot be said for Hamas. It is amazing that you cannot appreciate the difference.

Monday, February 13, 2006 1:50:00 pm  
Blogger Clumsy Birds said...

Edward, I linked the Basic Laws. No institutionalised racism there.

Monday, February 13, 2006 2:12:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

You just cannot get past your own blinkeredness or bias Psydoc. You draw comfort from the fact that an investigation took place, and that this in and of itslef is evidence that all is well.

Were these young girls killed as a result of accidents? No. Would they have been killed had they been Israeli Jews? No.

Just open your eyes for a minute Psydoc. At the conclusion of the court hearing of the IDF soldier that killed the 13 year old girl, it was concluded that he had followed protocol. He was let off with little more than a slap on the wrist. This was not an isolated incident, it was the consequence of sanctioned directives and IDF policy.

Are you trying to tell me that it would be cathartic if Hamas were to conduct court room hearings in absentia of suicide bombers, and conclude that they were innocent seeing as they were obeying the Hamas charter?

The only difference is that violence conducted by Isirael is branded as maintaining security while vilnece against Israel is branded terrorism, and you have bought right into the whole charade. When Israeli's are attacked, the world condems the acts of terror; when Israel targets a Palestinian leader and kills a dozen innocent bystanders, the world calls for restraint.

How long do you insist on being marooned on the island of moral exceptionalism?

Monday, February 13, 2006 2:15:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Acutalyl Psydoc,

My mistake. I meant to also link to this earlier incident.

Israeli officer: I was right to shoot 13-year-old child

A schoolgirl riddled with bullets. And no one is to blame,2763,1332219,00.html

“An Israeli army officer who fired the entire magazine of his automatic rifle into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl and then said he would have done the same even if she had been three years old was acquitted on all charges by a military court yesterday.”

Not guilty: The Israeli Captain Who Put 17 Bullets Into a Palestinian Schoolgirl

And just in case you want to argue that these were isolated incidents:

Israeli soldiers tell of indiscriminate killings by army and a culture of impunity,,1563273,00.html

And need we forget about Rachel Corrie, who’s killer were also acquitted.,3604,936305,00.html

Monday, February 13, 2006 2:27:00 pm  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

Clumsy Birds said...
"Edward, I linked the Basic Laws. No institutionalised racism there."

Nice slide, but I'm more interested in the actual institutionalised racism (rather than desperately searching for knooks and crannies devoid of it):

here is a summary of the revised edition of Uri Davis's book Apartheid Israel. It gives an idea of how the racism is institutionalised.

Monday, February 13, 2006 3:58:00 pm  
Blogger Clumsy Birds said...

It wasn't a 'slide' at all. I was staying on the topic raised by Antony's quotations from Counterpunch- which was an attempt to compare the Basic Laws to the Hamas Charter.

I glanced through your link. Worn arguments and attempts to rewrite history, especially regarding 1948.

Israel also get's the blame for PA and Arab activities- [under occupation, Palestinians are refused] the right to adequate medical help [...] and the right to work.

It was Arafat who proclaimed that no Arab should go to Jewish hospitals. Israel shouldn't be responsible for providing jobs to non-Israeli's, its like blaming Australia for unemployment in the Pacific.

Although, an interesting point on Israel's economy- that its citizens are becoming worse off as a whole, and there is a general decline in economic strength.

Also interesting is the decision that its a good idea to destroy Israel to protect the world from its inhumanity or whatnot.

I shouldnt have to try and convince Antony's fans here so often, but there is clearly no evidence of an ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians as claimed in Apartheid Israel.

Monday, February 13, 2006 4:42:00 pm  
Blogger boredinHK said...

Clumsy Birds said-
"I glanced through your link. Worn arguments and attempts to rewrite history, especially regarding 1948"
Please re reread the article - it can't be glanced through.
The following may help as you may not have time to read the relevant bits -

Apartheid in Israel is an overarching legal reality that determines the quality of everyday life and underpins the circumstances of living for all the inhabitants of the State of Israel. … The introduction of [the] key distinction of ‘Jew’ and ‘non-Jew’ into the foundation of Israeli law is, however, accomplished as part of a two-tier structure. It is this structure that has preserved the veil of ambiguity over Israeli apartheid legislation for over half a century. (39)

The first tier, the level at which the key distinction between ‘Jew’ and ‘non-Jew’ is rendered openly and explicitly, is in the Constitutions and Articles of Association of all the institutions of the Zionist movement and in the first instance, the [World Zionist Organization (WZO), the Jewish Agency(JA) and the Jewish National Fund (JNF)].

The second tier is the level at which this key distinction between ‘Jew’ and ‘non-Jew’ … is incorporated into the body of the laws of the State of Israel, notably the body of strategic legislation governing land tenure.

The situation alters radically after the establishment of the State of Israel, in that now the exclusivist constitutional stipulations of the WZO, JA and JNF (for Jews only) are incorporated into the body of the laws of the State of Israel through a detailed sequence of strategic Knesset legislation … Thus organizations and bodies that, prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, could credibly have claimed to be voluntary have been incorporated … into the legal, compulsory, judicial machinery of the state:

* 1950: Absentees’ Property Law; Law or Return; Development Authority Law
* 1952: World Zionist Organization – Jewish Agency for the Land of Israel (Status) Law
* 1953: Jewish National Fund Law; Land Acquisition (Validations of Acts and Compensation) Law
* 1954: Covenant between the Government of Israel and the Zionist Executive …
* 1958: Prescription Law
* 1960: Basic Law: Israel Lands; Israel Lands Law: Israel Lands Administration Law
* 1961: Covenant between the Government of Israel and the Jewish National Fund

In subsequent years this body of strategic legislation governing the terms of tenure of 93 per cent of Israel lands was further refined in such pieces of legislation as the Agricultural Settlement (Restriction on Use of Agricultural Land and Water) of 1967 and the Lands (Allocation of Rights to Foreigners) Law of 1980. The list above, however, represents the mainstay of Israeli apartheid …

… it is through this two-tier mechanism that an all-encompassing apartheid system could be legislated by the Israeli Knesset in all that pertains to access to land under Israeli sovereignty and control without resorting to explicit and frequent mention of ‘Jew’, as a legal category, versus ‘non-Jew’. (40-43)

In other words, in the critical areas of immigration, settlement and land development the Israeli sovereign, the Knesset, which is formally accountable to all citizens, Jews and non-Jews alike, has formulated and passed legislation ceding state sovereignty and entered into Covenants vesting its responsibilities with organizations such as the WZO, the JA and the JNF, which are constitutionally committed to the exclusive principle of ‘only for Jews’, that legal apartheid is regulated in Israel. And it is through this mechanism of legal duplicity that the State of Israel has successful veiled the reality of Zionist apartheid in the guise of legal democracy since the establishment of the State of Israel to date.

The same procedure has been applied by the Knesset in order to veil the reality of clerical legislation in Israel. Israel is a theocracy in that all domains pertaining to registration of marriage, divorce and death are regulated under Israeli law by religious courts. (48)

The critical importance of these structures of veiling and obligation cannot be sufficiently emphasized. They represent one of the primary vehicles that made it possible for official representatives and various apologists of the Zionist movement and the Government of the State of Israel to deliver the claim that the State of Israel was a democracy akin to western liberal democracies, the Palestinian nakba notwithstanding.

I have chosen to state the case of Israeli apartheid rather parsimoniously. In fact there are quite a number of instances of exactly such discrimination of ‘Jew’ versus ‘non-Jew’ or ‘Jews only’ in the body of Israeli law. (52)
This is from the link in Edward's message.

Monday, February 13, 2006 9:42:00 pm  

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