Friday, April 13, 2007


Zionism is now a "four letter word." This came about because anti-Zionists have used it extensively in slogans like "Zionism is Racism."  Real Zionists became ashamed of the word "Zionism," and decided that it was outmoded, while a few extremists adopted the term to apply only to themselves - advocates of Greater Israel, supporters of Rabbi Kahana and apologists for Yigal Amir (assassin of PM Rabin).

This blog entry about Zionism  from Fresno Zionism spells it out. Someone actually told the blogger:
...your blog is really interesting…but don't you think calling it Fresno Zionism turns off a lot of possible readers?"  
The result of the villification of "Zionism" is evident when you search Google for the keyword "Zionism." A lot of the pages that Google displays are anti-Zionist or anti-Semitic, because real Zionists are often afraid to use the word.
As Fresno Zionism writes, calling the blog "Zionism" is meant to make a point:
to take ownership of the concept of Zionism from those who use it as a term of abuse.
He also notes:
What I'm struggling to do is in effect to say "This is a Zionist point of view" (not the Zionist point of view, a Zionist point of view).
That is a very important point as well. Those who are presenting Zionism need to do it proudly, but to make it clear that they are usually representing their own view of Zionism, not "Zionism."
Ami Isseroff

Thursday, April 12, 2007

"Enough" -is- "Enough" with "Complacency"

"Enough" -is- "Enough" with "Complacency" 
 Egyptian Gazette April 12 
Tarek Heggy
 In a discussion after one of my recent public lectures I was asked by a young student to name "one single" dimension in the contemporary Egyptian thinking that requires a full scale change. My immediate answer was: "Complacency".
In my elaboration I highlighted the following relevant aspects:
-         Any fair outsider cannot negate that Egypt made, throughout the past decade, excellent moves towards a much better economic life. Nonetheless, the inability to admit the gigantic mistakes of the 1950's and 1960's continue to empede the introduction of new systems that would undeniably make the past decade achievements mush greater. We simply need to say it, patently clear, that the way our economy was structured and managed since the mid 1950's was a complete mess. Most of the systems engineered during this era ought to be replaced by systems that proved to be successful in the advanced economies.
-         Our well-deserved pride of our history must not leave us in the currently prevailing "complacency phenomenon". On the contrary, we must admit that many features of our contemporary life ought to be changed.
-         The advocates of the "Medieval fundamentalism" and equally the old guards of "The totalitarian era of the 1960's" are the true enemies of the great efforts to build a "Modern", "Stable" and "Flourishing" Egypt. The first group advocates an "illusion" that could only throw us into the Middle Ages. The second group has taken us through a long journey of failures. Both of them would cut our ties with the world in an age of "No isolation".
I remember that I ended my talk about these contradicting notions i.e. "Self Criticism" and "Complacency", by expounding the opinion that I never stop making: "Self Criticism is like all advancement values… they need to be demonstrated by each leadership in its domain".
"Self Criticism" does undeniably generate positive (non-passive) citizens i.e. members of the society that profoundly believe that they can make "a difference". With such a "belief" we gain "more believers" and "fewer followers".
With a decreasing "Complacency" and growing ability to practice "Self Criticism" we shall not disregard "conspiracy" as an undenied  phenomenon, but we shall certainly relate more of  our major problems to "The way things were/have been managed within our  boarders". For instance, we shall thence accept that the catastrophic living conditions in many many areas such as "Imbaba" are not the result of an Imperial (or Israeli) plot!!! 

US & Al Qaeda - A Strange Partnership

Al Qaeda's buildup in Lebanon is apparently supported by the US administration, which anticipates a war with Shiite Hezbollah. This risky strategy could backfire, toppling the Siniora government and the moderate bloc in Lebanon.
Thomas Braun, Lima, Peru

The long arm of al-Qaeda - The Economist

The bombs that shook Algiers and ripped the façade off the prime minister's office this week, killing some 30 people, suggest a worrying resurgence of the country's Islamist militants since they rebranded themselves as al-Qaeda's official arm in the Maghreb. This week's counter-attack on bombers in Morocco raises similar questions. But they were probably different sorts of terrorists. There is no presumption yet that al-Qaeda has effectively activated a joint north African front, though it would surely like to do so.

It is the first time in years that Algeria's capital has been attacked on such a scale. Earlier this year there were terrorist shootings in Tunisia. In Morocco this week four suicide bombers died in Casablanca as they were cornered by security forces, while several other terrorist plots in Europe have been linked to north African militants. America worries that the vast ungoverned spaces of the Sahara desert could provide sanctuary for jihadists.

Thomas Braun, Lima, Peru

NEW PETITION- No Tenure for Finkelstein

SWU Logo
Urgent: NEW PETITION- No Tenure for Finkelstein
Please sign this petition right away and forward to your lists

Instead of engaging in reasonable and respectful debate, Dr. Finkelstein defames and demonizes scholars and others who disagree with him. In our opinion, Finkelstein's association with DePaul University will damage DePaul's reputation. DePaul will be seen as a school that fosters irresponsible scholarship, extremism and childish, hateful debate.

Please Click Here to Sign the Petition


phone: 310-836-6140


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Fears Mount for BBC Reporter Kidnapped in Gaza

The BBC reporter kidnapped a month ago in Gaza is still missing. This is the longest a foreign national has been held in the Gaza Strip. The Jerusalem Post reports:

Fears mounted Monday within the Israeli defense establishment regarding the fate of BBC reporter Alan Johnston, who was abducted a month ago by masked Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Security officials noted that a month was the longest a foreign national had been held in the Strip and did not rule out that the kidnapping had "gone wrong" and that Johnston had been injured.

Four gunmen snatched Johnston, 44, from his car on March 12 as he headed to his apartment in Gaza City.

The Jerusalem Post has also learned that the Defense Ministry recently allowed a delegation of Arab diplomats and security officials from countries that do not have diplomatic relations with Israel - including Saudi Arabia - to enter Gaza on behalf of the British government.

PA cabinet meeting convened in Gaza amid anarchy

"It is as if he was swallowed up by the ground," a defense official told the Post, noting that no Palestinian group had taken responsibility for the kidnapping. The official also raised the possibility that Johnston had been injured during his captivity.

"Something might have gone wrong and that is why we haven't heard anything," he said.

Remainder of the article is
--Wendy in Washington

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Doesn't Hizbollah Brake at Red Lights?

A Hizbollah Takeover of Lebanon

Another development that could occur in Lebanon as a result of a prolonged political crisis is the far-reaching possibility that Hizbollah might take over the country, almost certainly with the support of Syria and Iran. The term "takeover" may relate to two scenarios, first of all, a takeover by force. In terms of capabilities, Hizbollah is capable, with the assistance of partners inside or outside of Lebanon, to physically conquer large sections of the country (the south, the Bekaa valley). However, Hizbollah is saving this possibility for extreme scenarios, under which the Lebanese country alone, or with the assistance of foreign elements, would declare war against Hizbollah for the purpose of disarming it, or as a possible outcome of a civil war.

Full article:
Thomas Braun, Lima, Peru

Monday, April 9, 2007

The Arab Initiative: Peace Plan or Ploy?

Is the Arab peace initiative the real thing or a fancy gimmick?

Peace Plan or Political Ploy?

by Carlos

They have treated the wound of my people carelessly,
Saying "Peace, peace," when there is no peace.
(Jeremiah 6:14)

April 8, 2007 - The "new" Saudi peace initiative is being hailed as a breakthrough. But what is its real significance?

This "new" plan is identical to the plan the Saudis proposed at the Arab Summit in March 2002. Here are some of its key provisions, as stated in the actual text:

Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4, 1967 lines as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon.

Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194.

The acceptance of the establishment of a sovereign independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since June 4, 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The rejection of all forms of Palestinian patriation which conflict with the special circumstances of the Arab host countries.

In return for these Israeli concessions, the Arabs promise "normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace."

This plan requires analysis. Looking at it closely, one can see that it would leave Israel in a worse position than it was in prior to 1967. Israel would have to withdraw from all areas occupied since 1967, which would mean once again a division of Jerusalem and the loss of Judaism's holiest site. In addition, Israel would have to accept a right of return for Palestinian refugees. The Arab interpretation of Resolution 194 always included this right of return. In addition, the Saudi plan rules out any resettlement ("patriation") of Palestinian refugees that Arab host countries may decide is against their interest. There is only one place remaining for the resettlement of the Palestinian refugees: Israel. Continued here

Secret Matza fans: Arabs

It's always a pleasure when cultures peacefully collide. I find the article below, from Ha'aretz, to be puzzling on two counts: first, that Arabs like matazah (why, why? I can't stand it, even in the modern fancy whole wheat or egg varieties) and that the English language edition of Ha'aretz capitalizes the word "matazah." Oh well. Here's to a peaceful end of Passover, and to peace generally.
--Wendy in Washington

Matza's secret fans - Arabs
By Yoav Stern

....Gadaban Supermarket, located at the entrance to Umm al-Fahm, generally stocks up on Matza for Passover. Moreover, the supermarket has to replenish its stock before the end of the holiday, due to keen demand by locals. Apparently, the Arab public regularly consumes large quantities of Matza.

Iyad Sharbaji, the manager of Gadaban, told Haaretz yesterday that his Matza is consumed entirely by local Arabs. "The Jews passing by here already have enough Matza. The customers are all from the local Arab community," he said.

His competitor down the road, The Market, opened this year. The demand for Matza therefore caught the store by surprise. "People told us ahead of time that they wanted Matza, so we bought five crates. Now we have only two left," he said.

It turns out the avid consumption of Matza is not a new trend in Arab towns and villages, whose inhabitants view the traditional Jewish food as a welcome and refreshing change in the menu. "It's not a religious issue, and certainly not a political one," Sharbaji explains.

A journalist associated with the Islamic Movement in Israel told Haaretz that he also bought Matza. "The kids can't get enough of it," he gleefully reported. "They eat it like crackers. But it also represents a sense of folklore for us. Maybe we like it more than Jews do because no one's forcing us to eat nothing but Matza all day long," he said in explanation.

Another happy customer from Baka al-Garbiyeh said his children and wife were "packing the Matza away," adding that they preferred to eat their Matza with a spread of jam or chocolate.

In fact, it seems Matza is particularly popular with Arab children, and most consumers report their sons and daughters especially relish the seasonal offering.

This article is from Ha'aretz, at

Iran: Unclear nuclear announcement.

How many centrifuges did Iran add? One guess was 3,000, another guess was 1,000. And now that the nuclear announcement is made, this article is unclear too:
Iran, which according to diplomats has set up almost 1,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges at Natanz, has said it plans to install 3,000 there as the first stage towards "industrial-scale" nuclear fuel production.
With 3,000 machines, Iran could make enough material for a bomb in one year, if it wanted, Western experts say.
Who says they have 1,000 centrifuges, and when will they have 3,000?
Ami Isseroff

By Parisa Hafezi
NATANZ, Iran (Reuters) - Iran announced on Monday it had begun the "industrial stage" of nuclear fuel production, in a fresh snub to the U.N. Security Council which has demanded Tehran halt such work.
Iran, which according to diplomats has set up almost 1,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges at Natanz, has said it plans to install 3,000 there as the first stage towards "industrial-scale" nuclear fuel production.
With 3,000 machines, Iran could make enough material for a bomb in one year, if it wanted, Western experts say.

Empathy For Suicide Bombers

Empathy For Suicide Bombers 

Samson has shown up in 1960s-era Italian muscleman movies, in Grateful Dead lyrics, in Christian bedtime stories, and in Marvel comic books. Peter Paul Rubens painted him. Michelangelo sculpted him. And since September 11, 2001, there has also been a great deal of highbrow hand-wringing in literary circles about how the Samson story must now be read, in light of everything that has happened.

But until Capet, nobody had figured out a way to use the Samson story to so completely turn things upside down as to reconstruct an important work of art to portray a Jew as a suicide bomber.

It's a long piece, and it ends up here:

"Capet's Samson is just another eruption of that fatally naïve misconception among a certain class of artist and intellectual -- and most pathetically, among the much of the left -- that Paul Berman calls 'a faith in the rationalism of all things.'

"Its real-world consequence has been a crippling incapacity to recognize the mass pathology at work in the phenomenon of suicide bombings. It's the failure to see it for what it is: a death cult. It's an irrationalist, anti-modern savagery that has rather noticeably singled out Jews for the construction of its corpse-heaps, just as it singles out Palestinian children for the work of executing its grisly business.

"We'd all like to think that we can reason with suicide bombers. In the real world, we can't, and we simply cannot go on 'expecting the world to act in sensible ways,' as Berman writes, 'without mystery, self-contradiction, murk or madness.'

"Suicide bombers aren't asking for our empathy, they don't particularly care if we understand them, and they don't want to be reasoned with. They want to kill the Jews. They want to kill Simon Capet. They'd be pleased to kill pretty well any of us."