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August 30, 2006

Hamas, blaming the victims!

From today's UK Telegraph:

Ghazi Hamad, the Hamas government's official spokesman, said Palestinians had been "attacked by the bacteria of stupidity".

"The anarchy, chaos, pointless murders, the plundering of lands, family feuds … what do all of these have to do with the occupation?" he asked in the opinion piece published in the Palestinian newspaper, al-Ayyam. "We have always been accustomed to pinning our failures on others, and conspiratorial thinking is still widespread among us."

He was particularly scathing about the failure of the Palestinians to make a success of the Gaza Strip, the territory that Israel effectively surrendered a year ago.

"When you walk around in Gaza, you cannot help but avert your eyes from what you see: indescribable anarchy, policemen that nobody cares about, youth proudly carrying weapons. From time to time you hear that so-and-so was murdered in the middle of the night, and the response comes quickly the next morning. Large families carry weapons in tribal wars against other families.

"The reality in which we are living in Gaza can only be described as miserable and wretched, and as a failure in every sense of the word."

August 30, 2006 at 12:13 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 26, 2006

City of Brotherly Love vs Military Service in Iraq

According to an analysis in the Washington Post, being a young black man in Philadelphia is more dangerous than being a US soldier in Iraq. . .

August 26, 2006 at 11:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 17, 2006

Toonwars Redux

Today's WaPo runs a Reuters story by Parisa Hafezi reporting on the opening of Iran's holocaust cartoon contest at the Museum of Palestine Contemporary Art in Teheran. (You remember this contest, which had been announced by one of Iran's leading newspapers in the wake of the furore over Muslim protests of the Danish Islamic cartoons.) According to Masoud Shojai, the head of Iran's Cartoon House, the contest "is a test of the boundaries of free speech espoused by Western countries."

While the exhibit consists of more than 200 cartoons, the only one shown on the organizer's web site is pretty tame:

Poster for Holocaust cartoon exhibition

While there are plenty of links to photos of various Iranian dignitaries touring the exhibition (including Iran's Minister of Culture, who appeared to be enjoying himself), it's hard to find any images of the actual cartoons. (Perhaps because most of them are terrible, but I suppose the murder of more than 6 million people is tough material for any cartoonist to work with.) However, I did manage to track down some of the cartoons at an Iranian website called IRFP.

If the Iranian editors expect these cartoons to provoke outraged public demonstrations against Iran, violent riots, and mobs of angry Zionists burning down Iranian embassies throughout the world, they are going to be sadly disappointed. (The IRFP's website has this amusing warning: "Attention Regarding to clarification of the issue of "Holocaust" this website possibly will be closed by United States, in this case please refer to the following address: www.irancartoon.com www.adlroom.com www.sharifnews.com [sic]")

As far as I can tell, the only Israeli reaction has come from the privately run Israel News Agency, which has launched a marketing campaign to ensure that people searching for "iran holocaust cartoons" will be directed to the INA's web site where holocaust cartoons are interspersed with photos and facts about the real holocaust. Also worthy of note is the Anti-Defamation League's web page showing examples of the Arab media's routine portrayals of jews and Israel.

I guess the Western commitment to free speech and religious tolerance has withstood this "test."

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August 17, 2006 at 09:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 11, 2006

Old time religion

You've gotta love how becoming a devout Muslim seems to often lead directly to study of bomb-making techniques.

This fellow Mohammed (pbuh) has a lot to answer for.

August 11, 2006 at 08:55 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 07, 2006

I Remember . . .

. . . sometime after 9/11, driving somewhere in Manhattan in a yellow taxi driven by a middle aged guy from Saudi Arabia. I asked him, as I often did with middle eastern looking people at that time, whether people were treating him badly because of 9/11. Perhaps touched by my concern, he turned to me and asked me why Mayor Giuliani had rejected a $10 million donation for disaster relief from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal? He seemed to be genuinely confused about why New Yorkers were offended by this generous offer.

I remember trying to explain to him that people were angry because the Prince's statement about US policies towards Israel and the Palestinians were inappropriate, that they sought to justify the terrorists' violence against American civilians. The poor man was puzzled by my response. He said it was all so simple: if the US were only to stop supporting Israel, "this whole problem" would go away. The Saudi people had no quarrel with the American people, they only objected to our government's policies towards Israel.

I was reminded about this incident by Bernard-Henri Lévy's piece about Israel in this week's NYT Magazine. It's worth reading for many reasons, but Levy drives home the point that Israel is on the front line of the West's fight against Islamofascism. And as I tried to explain to my Saudi cabbie, the US will never abandon Israel, not because it is a Jewish state, but because it is the only western democracy in the Middle East.

I only hope I was right about that.

August 7, 2006 at 10:04 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack