I do not have her name at the moment, but it’s available on the Web if you want to sleuth around. Back then, the Palestinians had a lot of female fighters in their ranks as the PLO was a secular Leftist organization. Nowadays there are few if any female Palestinian fighters. Both secular and Islamist Palestinian armed groups are pretty sexist and fueled by Arab machisimo, and they won’t tolerate female fighters in their ranks.
Category Archives: Palestinians
Would it not be nice if this spirit was more widely shared. Unfortunately, there are just as many on the Palestinian side who are intransigent as there are on the Jewish side. A lot of Palestinians want to live with few if any Jews in historic Palestine, from the river to the sea. They are the other side of the intolerant coin. No matter what, those Jews are not leaving. Any future settlement will have to allow a place for the Jews presently in Palestine to remain there.
This video almost makes me sick to my stomach. It shows how in the War of 1947 (the so-called Israeli War of Independence) in the course of The Nakba, or the forcible expulsion of 800, 000 Palestinians from their land, the Jews actually stole just about every single book in Palestine!
One thing that people do not realize about The Nakba is that it plays into some nasty stereotypes about Jews. The stereotype of the grasping, greedy Jew is hard one to get rid of, and Jewish folks’ behavior doesn’t exactly work to disabuse us of that notion!
Anyway, not only were 800,000 Arabs thrown out of their homes and not allowed to return. They were not allowed to take anything with them when they left. They were ordered out of their homes by Jewish militias. In the wake of these Jewish militias were various Jewish “thieving crews” for want of a better word. What did they want? The stuff. You know, the stuff. As per the old Jewish stereotype, the Jew always wants “the stuff.”
Various thieving crews were assigned to steal various types of items. One crew was called the book crew. It was more or less the “book stealing gang.” Yes, the fledgling state of Israel actually set up a little militia for the sole purpose of stealing just about every book in Palestine. Arab prisoners were press-ganged into gathering up the books from vacated homes. Jews then moved into the Arab homes, and they every single thing that was in the home for themselves. All of the furniture, the clothing, the silverware, the paintings, everything, everything, everything, the Jews stole it all. They literally stole everything in Palestine that was not locked down.
And you wonder why the Arabs are pissed.
These stolen books still exist to this day. They are in special Jewish institutions in Israel, and all of them are outrageously labeled “abandoned property.” The nerve!
Of course what followed were pogroms against Jews in Arab lands. Jews were thrown out of these lands, and they were also forced to leave all of their belongings in the country. They could hardly take anything they owned with them. The difference is that the Arab Jews only want to be compensated for their “stuff.” None of them want to go back and live in their Arab countries. They are now quite happy in Israel.
However, the Palestinians not only want their stuff back, but they also want to go back to their homes, and they can’t. This desire to go home and the Jews’ refusal to let the Arabs go back is what makes the Palestinian refugee question different from just about every other refugee and ethnic cleansing question on Earth. Persians who left Iraq? Croats, Bosnians and Serbs in former Yugoslavia? Russians who left Chechnya? Pandits who left Kashmir? None of those people want to go home and none of them are prevented from going home anyway. Palestine and Israel is the only place on Earth where the refugees want to go home but are prevented from going home. And this makes it a very special case.
I still can’t believe those Jews stole all those books! Those bastards.
Repost from the old site. This is basically a guest post by a young female college student in the US. It takes on Jews in a pretty serious say, so prepare yourself. My comments in bold brackets.
I Don’t Hate the Jews, I Hate Everyone, published in February on this site, was one of the most widely read and linked articles to have appeared on this blog so far. It’s been read over 2000 times so far.
Although it was published seven months ago, I continue to get hits for it to this day, and it is still being linked. Hotly controversial, the piece was vilified by many as anti-Semitic, while others praised it as anti-racist.
This dual view of the piece was exemplified by a spate of recent Indymedia posts of the article. Some of the commenters praised it as an anti-racist piece, and it was filed under “Anti-Racism” at one Indymedia site. Of course, that is how the piece was intended.
On another Indymedia site, it was attacked as “racist garbage” (probably by a Jewish commenter) and it was placed in the Hidden category as a violation of the terms of the site.
The fact that a single article can be portrayed as either anti-racist or racist, depending on one’s POV, illuminates how hard it is to for humans to objectively define anything, which is exactly what semiotics, poststructuralism, Derrida and the rest were getting at.
The article focused on a group of British former liberals and Leftists who have formed a movement that I called the “Pro-War Left”. Basically, the PWL is a British corollary to the US neoconservatives, albeit with some differences in etiology, political orientation (more leftwing), trajectory and history.
To this day, interestingly, there has not been one other article anywhere in the worldwide media that has explored the “British Pro-War Left” as a corollary grouping to the neocons.
I continue to receive mail about this piece. I don’t usually publish mail, but a recent mail I received about the piece had so many nice points that I have decided to publish it, albeit with my own comments interspersed. I will call the author “Anonymous”, since I don’t know if she wants her name published. The author is a young female US college student.
In regards to race, I personally don’t believe in the concept. There is no defined line along the spectrum of people to warrant such a dangerous theory, really. We could even go so far as to say each one of us is our own race making the whole point moot, and it is.
[RL: I don't agree. Clearly, one can make a case for 12 different races: Asian, East Indian, Caucasian, American Indian, Black, Pygmy, Hottentot, Negrito, Polynesian, Micronesian, Melanesian and Aborigine. Really, we could probably make even more if we want to start splitting.]
The concept seems to have been invented by some Europeans to make it easier to gain support in order to colonize, subjugate and enslave people.
[RL: Whether or not the modern concept of race was invented by Europeans in the 19th Century or not is not all that relevant, as humans seem to have been making distinctions like this for thousands of years.]
However, whether it’s a fact or not, we must acknowledge it because it’s with us, and I refuse to play the game that we should remove say, Affirmative Action, in an effort to erase the concept of race. That’s ridiculous. White men have had Affirmative Action since day one in this country by default, so it’s only fair that people of color and women have that protection as well.
[RL: This blog takes a nuanced stance on Affirmative Action. While I think it is necessary, it is not acceptable for less qualified members of certain races to be promoted over more qualified members of other races. And yes, this has been done a lot by the AA system.]
But back when race was being defined, with it came racism.
[RL: I will disagree and say that humans have always been racists; in fact, that the natural, normal state of man is a racist state.]
As race is a concept invented by “whites”, naturally the victims have always been people of color.
[RL: The victims of human racism have always been simply the "Other", which often was something as simple as the "tribe over that hill over there".]
The people of color also happened to live in lands the “white” people found attractive, and the darker folks seemed easier to enslave or conquer because of their lack of guns, germs and steel (yes, Jared Diamond).
And that byproduct called racism created movements like White Supremacy, Zionism, etc. All of these theories appeared noble and even Biblical, and all were based on the belief that the favored people were supreme in some way. The supremacism was portrayed in various ways, biologically, or even as victims (the “worst victims in history” theory used by the Jews, even though Zionism began long before WWII).
Americans, Israelis, Australians, white Africans, etc., are all just upholding the ideals of what is actually ongoing colonization. I do believe people are basically good, and the imperialists know this, so they must invent something that good people would support.
If you can tell a compelling enough story, and you know the components that are needed to make the story work, people will believe it. Religions are a testament to that.
Most people can’t or won’t believe their leaders are so capable of evildoing that they’d actually lie and kill for imperial reasons rather than “innocent” self defense. I mean, who wants to wake up one day to discover mommy and daddy are criminals?
I personally hated the day I woke up and realized that my leaders were doing this, although it didn’t actually happen in one day, but the realization built up to the point where there was one day when it all hit me. It dragged on for days, and now years – this realization that our government is an evil empire has made life very difficult for me to live here.
A pure capitalist society – a byproduct of ongoing imperialism and colonization – is absolute Hell. I feel that pain everyday, and most Americans feel it too yet they don’t realize that pure capitalism is the culprit. They think it’s just life. Capitalism is sold to us as one of the freedoms of democracy!
Funny thing is, you cannot have individual freedoms and democracy at the same time. If the majority doesn’t like your idea of freedom, you can’t have it! But any extreme system like pure capitalism is bound to be problematic.
People complain about dealing with bad customer service, or lack of choice of cable telephone services, or DSL/Cable connection, or bad customer service from conglomerates, or the loss of funding for social programs, the arts, education, or not having health care if they’re not employed by a corporation, or the ridiculous cost of college.
All of this is a product of pure capitalism, where maximizing profits goes above all else, even if it means people have to live in poverty or die. Oh well. They are just casualties of life, I guess, but as long as the corporation is making a profit, it’s all worth it, right? It gives people jobs, right? Except how do these corporations explain themselves when suddenly they send most jobs overseas?
Bizarrely, people still support that in some way or another, defending the company’s right to maximize its profits because, that is the American “dream” right? If only people would just stop and listen to themselves. They’ve been convinced that they don’t even deserve to be employed because it might get in the way of a company’s bottom line! That’s one amazing campaign!
I do want to preface the rest of this by saying that I don’t believe Jews would be naturally imperialistic or controlling if it weren’t for Israel.
[RL: Unfortunately, I am not so sure about that!]
The diamond industry is another story.
But support for Israel is one of those “things” that push most Jews to believe they are superior in some way, or at least more deserving. The campaign to support Israel is very well-done and extremely powerful.
In my efforts to learn more and more about Palestine/Israel, I discovered the fundamentals of colonization. They’re always the same, for the most part, so much so that it makes you wonder if there isn’t a book out there called Colonization Cookbook, Land Grab in Ten Easy Steps, and they’ve all used it.
They all do and say the same things – the European Christians said there were no people here in the Americas because they didn’t consider the natives human, the European Christians said what became Australia was terra nullius for the same reason, and the European Jews said that Palestine was a land without people for a people without a land, and on and on.
The colonists raised themselves to a higher status as a “race” and went from there. Agreements/treaties with the native people were continuously promised, then made, and finally broken.
The natives were eventually corralled into camps, reservations, Bantustans or ghettos, and the colonial violence against the natives continued until protests or a native insurgency eventually put a stop to it. But even after the colonization was halted, there was a tendency to start it back up again somewhere else, especially if our military-industrial complex is having a bad year or two.
Then the colonists either discover a new enemy or invent one. I do not believe Arabs/Muslims are behind the majority of our present day “terrorism.”
[RL: I respectfully disagree, but it depends on how you define terrorism.]
Regarding South Africa (SA), I have definitely studied that case. I was fortunate enough to meet a South African man who fought in the struggle and he told me lots of interesting stories. I also believe that the system of Apartheid and the State of Israel’s founding, both in 1948, is only slightly coincidental.
Cecil Rhodes and Herzl communicated and swapped colonization tips. And the largest stockholder of Rhodes’’ company, the DeBeers precious metals company, was Sir Ernest Oppenheimer. DeBeers is still owned by the Oppenheimers.
South Africa’s main industry at its founding was diamonds, and the diamond industry is now controlled almost entirely by Jews in diamond districts in New York, Amsterdam, Israel (20%), and other parts of the world. So the similarities between Israel and SA are no coincidence, it just remained hidden. Sadha, my South African friend, told me that it was the Zionist Jews who made dismantling Apartheid the most difficult.
I mean, why else did the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith work with and help the SA Apartheid government by spying and sabotaging anti-Apartheid movements in the US for many years? How did that help Jews fight “anti-Semitism”?
Of course, Israel and SA were partners for many years – note the arms deals, nuclear weapons, diamonds, etc. My theory is that Zionists finally agreed to let Apartheid fall because they needed the bodies to populate Israel, in order to fill the place because of the impending “demographics” issue.
[RL: Dubious. I realize that Jews have a lot of power in this world, but I don't think they have THAT much power, thank God, and it is not helpful to ascribe more power to the Jews than they already have. Anyway, I am not aware that a huge number of South African Jews headed off to Israel after the fall of Apartheid.]
A special city project was developed in Israel for the SA Jews, and many moved there. The SA Jews acted like desperate white folks, left to live amongst the now-freed savages.
[RL: It's a fact that many SA Jews, despite the fact that factions in their community played a significant role in dismantling apartheid, headed right out of SA as soon as Black rule took over.]
And despite the fall of Apartheid, the diamond industry is still exploiting Africans all over Africa.
Another issue is that Jews still control many industries that have immense power in this country and elsewhere.
For instance, they control the Entertainment Industry, the Mass Media, the Marketing of the Holocaust Industry, and US Middle East foreign policy (though not an industry per se). Such control is mostly to keep people’’s attention away from Israel until Israel carries out its goal of ethnically cleansing all non-Jews from Palestine, to make way for greater Israel.
[RL: I doubt it. The takeover of US mass media and entertainment by the Jewish elite (mostly accomplished from 1900-1930) was done for other reasons, not to keep people's minds off of Israel. In fact, at the time of the takeover, there was no Israel!
As far as why the Jewish elite decided to take over these industries and engaged in actual conspiracies to do just that in the US, that is a complex issue that is the subject of an entire post itself.
Jews took over the Holocaust Industry for a variety of reasons. Number one, clearly this is an issue of prime concern to almost all Jews. Another reason is more cynical - to facilitate Gentile support of Jewish causes and to perpetuate the notion of Jewish victimhood. Control over US Middle East foreign policy is simply being done out of sheer Jewish self-interest.
That's because Israel, the Jewish state, is central to US ME foreign policy. And let's not forget that the simple goal of making money for the Tribe runs like a river through each of these projects.]
Of all these industries, the Entertainment Industry shapes American opinion above and beyond any other. Just look at the way Arabs are portrayed in American films, or read the book Reel Bad Arabs by Jack Shaheen to see it spelled out for yourself.
Arabs are almost never portrayed in a positive light; the Arab is always a dirty, thieving, polygamist subhuman. Nowadays, he often plays the role of token terrorist. I am now taking a class called History of Film. In the reading for the class I came across this text:
Interestingly, the men who founded these companies (which are obviously still the major powerhouses in Hollywood) had a lot in common. They were all originally independent producers and distributors who climbed the ladder from nickelodeon operator and eventually outlasted the powerful MPPC.
Interestingly, they were all first generation Jewish immigrants with little education, yet in charge of the most significant form of mass entertainment in history enjoyed by a vastly Christian population.
Hollywood is still controlled primarily by Jews who are almost all Zionists, both liberal and right wing.
[RL: Actually, the Hollywood Jews are overwhelmingly male, secular, hedonistic, irreverent, and liberal to Leftist. Rightwing Jews are almost nonexistent in Hollywood.]
Take a look what happened to Vanessa Redgrave because of her part in the 1977 film, The Palestinians.
[RL: She was effectively blacklisted in Jewish-controlled Hollywood].
Due to Jewish control over Hollywood, that film was never shown here. Just try to get a Palestinian art exhibit or film shown in a major US city and see how far you get.
Paul Findley’s book They Dare to Speak Out deals with the Jewish Hollywood angle and many taboo topics along similar lines. The Jewish – Israeli Lobby is extremely powerful in the US. Recently, AIPAC has targeted college campuses. They are working closely with Hillel, the US Jewish college student organization. Both groups are promising to really ramp up the pro-Israel position on campuses this fall.
No group is perfect, and any group can be supremacist because we are all human; and I know that Palestinians are no angels, and neither are Muslims.
As an atheist, I could go on and on about the problems of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. But let’s take a look at another imbalance: note that people have no problem discussing Christian and Islamic Fundamentalism, but why the taboo about Jewish Fundamentalism?
Jewish fundamentalism – that’s exactly what Zionism is!
[RL: I don't really agree. There are many types of Zionism - secular Zionism, religious Zionism, ultra-Orthodox Zionism. It doesn't make sense to wrap the entire Zionist enterprise in the Jewish religion.]
You can’t even mention the phrase “Jewish fundamentalism” without getting horrific looks; nevertheless, Jewish fundamentalism surely exists. The dirty looks are testament to the power of the Holocaust Industry. This Jewish special privilege is allowing Zionists to get away with murder.
Right now, the Palestinians are absolutely the victims of Judaism as an imperialist, supremacist movement AKA Zionism, just as the native peoples of the Americas, Australia, Africa and parts of Asia were victims of European Christianity as an imperialist, supremacist movement.
The native peoples of those lands did not leave their lands to colonize, subjugate and ethnically cleanse people on another land.
They didn’t steal others’ land and then deny it, claiming the land was vacant or, if caught in that lie, try to justify it by calling it bringing democracy to the natives or civilizing the savages, or, best of all, claim that God had given them the land, as both the European Jews and European Christians claimed!
[RL: I have to disagree here. The notion that only European Christians and Jews have been colonizing other people is an especially pernicious myth that is drastically in need of busting.
Fact is, colonization has been going on all over the globe for, as best we can tell, 1000's of years. The examples of non-Judeo-Christian colonization and ethnic cleansing are voluminous and cannot be summarized in this comment bracket. Perhaps a subject for another post?]
So at least since history has been documented, the Europeans have had the upper hand in conquest and destruction, whereas others were simply either fighting back or left in the wake and rubble of former colonization efforts. Examples of this can be seen in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, parts of Asia, various oceanic islands, and of course the US.
[[RL: Well, I would agree that Europeans have been doing some of the more prominent colonizing in the past 500 years, but the rest of the planet has been colonizing away on their own during this same period; it's just that their efforts were usually on a smaller scale.]
The American people have an obligation to focus on Israel right now, to bring it to the top of the list as the worst atrocity being committed on this planet side by side with the war on Iraq and Afghanistan, even above Darfur.
[RL: I am going to strongly disagree. If the Israelis had treated the Palestinians in the past two years as the Arabs are treating the Africans in Darfur, the following a catastrophe would have occurred.
A catastrophe that looked like this: 1.3 million out of the 3.9 million Palestinians in the Territories would have been ethnically cleansed to Egypt or Jordan or wherever. The Israelis would have killed 120,000 Palestinians, often with extreme cruelty.
The Palestinians would have been herded into horrible refugee camps, where scores would have died every day of hunger and disease while the world dithered and Israel deliberately obstructed relief supplies.
Israeli soldiers and armed civilians would have gone a mass raping spree. Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of Palestinian women would have been raped in this mass Rape-a-Thon. Many Palestinian women would have been murdered by the Jews after being raped.]
Zionists love to put the spotlight on Darfur because it helps their cause by pointing out that Muslims are always the bad guys, as though Christians and Jews have never done anything bad in the name of their religion.
The Israeli-Palestinian issue is of prime importance to Americans – the Iraq war is Israel’s war, and we’re fighting it for them and with them.
[RL: True in part, see my comments here on whether the Iraq War is "all about Israel" or not.]
US support is the only thing that keeps Israel afloat. By natural selection, Israel would have been gone by now if it weren’t for the extremely expensive American life support system and the very powerful Jewish Lobby.
So, although I hear people say Jews do not control the world, they do control as much of the world as they want.
[RL:I don't agree with that. My God, if the Jews were that powerful, God help us all!]
They don’t want the whole world, they just want Israel and they will work through the power of the US to hold back the world whenever it gets in the way. But what they do control is all it takes to control the world – America, America’s opinion, and America’’s veto.
As columnist Tony Judt wrote recently in the New York Times Review of Books, Israel is an anachronism, since colonization itself is archaic, yet there the Israelis are, milking an archaic system that should have been defunct by now.
And Americans are falling for it, because most have no idea what’s really going on over there. Why? Because of Zionist control of Americans’ opinions on Israel and the Holocaust by way of the Entertainment Industry, the media, and our Middle East foreign policy.
Because the Israel’s colonial system is an anachronism, we are starting to see some desperate measures by the Israelis. Like a passengers on a sinking ship, Israelis won’t give up the Israel ship until there is nothing left to hold on to, and they’’ll lie, kick, scream, and kill as it goes down, taking a lot of innocent people down with them.
And this scenario I cannot accept. Just as I would not have stayed silent during the Holocaust, or during the French colonization of Algeria, or during the US slavery or Jim Crow eras, or during Apartheid, neither will stay silent now in the face of Zionism, nor will I accept that Zionism is simply an aspect of human nature.
At some point, we humans to learn from past mistakes and rise above such greed and hate and become a better species, shouldn’t we? We have the capacity to do so; we just all need to take an active interest.
It’s unfortunate that politics has been lumped in with religion as a subject not fit for polite discussion. This is nuts. One of them, politics, represents direct reality.
[RL: Well, potentially, anyway. The Bush Administration has shown us that the marriage of surrealism and politics is feasible.]
The other, religion, actually represents mythology, not direct reality. But politics’ place as a taboo subject is certainly by design, and undoing that edifice may be the hardest task of all.
To start, I suppose we could have a reality TV show that is actually about reality.
Repost from the old site. This is another old piece from 2005. It got some nasty comments from Israeli Zionists, including one woman who lived in Safad. Zionism is sick, and Israel, that shitty little country, is Jews’ hate state. The whole enterprise, the whole idea, is sick, and a pox on everyone who subscribes to the worldview of the KKK-Jews.
This piece has got to be the non-story of the day, New Palestinian Leader Still Persona Non-Grata in Home Town – Inhabitants Remain Suspicious of Former Resistance Leader.
At first glance, it appears interesting. But it is also an insult and a veiled attack on Abbas himself – I mean, if even the folks in his own hometown hate his guts – is he a jerk or what? But closer examination reveals the idiocy of this very piece.
Abbas was born in 1935 in Safed, a town in the Galilee in what is now Israel. Photo of Safed in 1934, one year before Abbas was born. Here are photos from 1948, just before the Nakba (the ethnic cleansing of 800,000 Arabs from their lands and the subsequent theft of their property by Zionism).
With the Nakba of 1948, most of the Arab population were apparently ethnically cleansed out of Safed and not allowed to return. And another photo of Safad two years later in 1950, when most of the Arabs were gone.
This is how Safed looked in 1992, after almost all of the Arabs were gone. In 1948, there were 13,300 people living in the town, only 20% of whom were Jews. There was fighting in Safad during the 1929 Arab-Jew riots and disturbances, and 29 Jews in Safad were killed by Arabs in that year. The Jewish presence is Safad is a long and deep one.
Safed was one of the few cities in Palestine traditionally considered holy by Jews. In the 16th Century, Safad was a center of Kabbalism, the Jewish mysticism movement. But the Palestinians also have an ancient presence there. Palestinians and their ancestors have been living in Safad since the time of the Canaanites, the ancient ancestors of the Palestinians.
In fact, Safad was the capital of Canaan, the Canaanite Kingdom. In 1400 BC, Egyptian hieroglyphics mention the Palestinian town. The Crusaders conquered Safad in 1140, and Saladin reconquered it for the Arabs in 1188.
The Jewish Palmach militia attacked the town before Israel even declared its independence on May 15, 1948, giving the lie to the Zionist insanity that “the war started when Arab armies invaded Israel after Israel gained independence“. Safed was conquered by the Palmach on April 11, 1948, before the “Arab invasion” had even started! So much for “the Arabs started the war” nonsense!
Today, the town’s population is 16,600, and it is a noted arts center. But it turns out, according to the Daily Star piece linked in the first paragraph, that the people of Abbas’ very own hometown want nothing whatsoever to do with him!
Why is that, you may ask? Because almost all of them are Jews, and almost all of the Arabs of Safed are gone, living as refugees (the refugee population was estimated at 67,698, as of 1998).
So, this shocking story reveals, the Jewish invaders and robbers of the Israeli town of Safed, Abu Abbas’ hometown that he was thrown out of as a 13-year-old boy in 1948, hate Abbas’ guts and don’t want him to come back to the town! Surprise surprise. This is a news story?
Repost from the old site. This is a good article, the first article I wrote on the Internet in December 2004. It was widely posted all over the Net and got a lot of comments on the Net. I believe it is still relevant today.
By any progressive standards, the Iraqi resistance seems to have morphed in recent days into one of the most unprincipled, unethical, fanatical, unreasonable, and reactionary resistance factions on Earth.
From a progressive standpoint, it would seem the Iraqi rebels have some principled grounds to fight for – we see them as resisting a US imperialist, neocolonialist and Zionist invasion of Iraq, one intended to subdue all of those forces in the Middle East resisting US and Israeli desires for total economic, military and political domination of the region.
The US invasion was completely contrary to international law, there has been massive colonization and outright theft of Iraq’s resources and economic base, and the US appears to be demanding the right to establish several colonial garrisons in the conquered land in furtherance of its imperial plans for the region.
We could go on and on about the larger political and economic schemes at play here, but that’s all been dealt with extensively by others. The point I am trying to make here is that merely from anti-imperialist or anti-colonialist point of view, the Iraqi resistance would seem to have a valid cause for armed struggle to throw the invaders and occupiers off their homeland.
Given the seedbed for a patriotic, nationalist, principled resistance the US has sown in Iraq, what have the Iraqi guerrillas done? In 2003, one could still hold out hope for some sort of a progressive, secular, nationalist armed resistance in Iraq. Through 2003, a plethora of resistance groups appeared, with new ones popping up every week or so.
A number of them were standard nationalist groupings, others stridently opposed sectarian politics, and a number were decidedly secular. Some of these groupings were associated with the former regime, but many were not.
They were generally made up of Sunni Arabs, though there were also a number of Shia Arabs, along with a few Kurds, Turkmen and even Iraqi Christians filling out the ranks. Further, there were a number of openly Leftist armed groups, though their numbers were small.
From the point of view of the Iraqi resistance, the best thing to do would be to cast aside all sectarian nonsense and try to unite as many groups as possible against the occupiers. This is what a sensible, intelligent, nationalist resistance does. Even in a region where tribal politics holds sway, the fighters close ranks in the name of “national unity”, as the guerrillas in Palestine have done.
The resistance should avoid imposing noxious, draconian law on the peoples under its control, proceed cautiously in the case of spies, and avoid trying to form local government. The case of Palestine is instructive for how a “national unity” resistance should be run.
Prior to the founding of Hamas in 1987, Islamists in Palestine were hardly involved in the armed struggle – they spent most of their time, believe it or not, arguing about how long to grow one’s beard. If one took up arms, one was regarded as a “Communist”, since armed struggle against Israel was for “Communists”.
There was a great deal of sectarian conflict in those days and the precursors to Hamas killed and wounded many Leftists, who the Islamists despised.
Around this time, Israel helped found Hamas as both a divide and conquer strategy against the Palestinians and to Islamicize the face of Palestinian struggle in order to make it less appealing on the international front. In many ways, this strategy was a complete failure. Before the founding of Hamas, the Islamists were attacking Leftists in Palestine all the time.
This internecine conflict came to an end soon after the founding of Hamas. After things settled down a bit, the Palestinian resistance moved to a point of equilibrium called “national unity”. Presently, open Leftists and Communists in the PFLP and DFLP fight side by side, with no problems whatsoever, with the hardline Islamists in Hamas.
Professors on Palestinian campuses write openly atheist and blasphemous tracts against Islam and are not harmed. One of the top figures in the PLO is an acknowledged atheist and no one bothers him. There are large marches against suicide bombings. Hamas eschews all local law enforcement and refuses to implement an Islamic dress code.
In Ramallah, one can walk into a bar and order a drink during Ramadan – the only place in the Arab World one may do this – and Hamas refuses to even issue an official denunciation. Hamas has never tried to shut down the numerous bars in Palestine.
Although Hamas is officially the Palestinian branch of Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas keeps this a big secret because the MB is so disliked in Palestine (it is regarded as an Islamic extremist organization). Most Palestinians are not even aware of the relationship. Last Christmas, Hamas members actually presented gifts and toys to churches in Bethlehem – an unthinkable act for a hardline Islamist group.
Hardline Islamist imams in Gaza have called for Palestinian Christians and Muslims to fight side by side against Israel. Palestinian Christians, and some Muslims, wear whatever they please, and miniskirts and not unheard of, even in Gaza. The Islamists don’t like Western dress, and comments are made, but Hamas has never tried to enforce any kind of Islamic dress code in Palestine.
Palestinian papers are filled with articles that many hardline Palestinians would consider to be openly treasonous – calls for calling off the armed struggle, for settling for the most debasing peace agreements with Israel, for peaceful struggle a la Gandhi, for disarming the armed groups, etc.
Through it all, Hamas and the hardliners generally keep their mouths shut and tolerate openly “sellout” positions, all in the name of national unity. Although the differences between the Left, the PLO and the Islamists are often very wide, there is not much discussion of these differences – they are all temporarily glossed over in the name of national unity.
PFLP and DFLP fighters, open Leftists, came out for the funerals of Hamas leaders Sheik Yassin and Abdulaziz Rantissi and were seen fighting in the battles with the IDF that erupted afterward. Human rights organizations operate openly in Palestine, criticizing both the Israeli and the Palestinian sides, and the armed factions leave them alone.
Most importantly of all, all Palestinian factions have deep roots in their communities and do not brutalize the people they live amongst. In many places, almost everyone in the community is part of the resistance in one way or another, from young kids to women to old folks – everyone serves some function. You can’t get closer to the people than that.
Journalists, politicians, government workers, UN employees, aid workers, Christians, Druze, students, innocent civilians, even ISF volunteers, have nothing to fear from Hamas, the most radical of the Palestinian factions. Hamas has never been known kidnap foreigners for ransom, or to behead prisoners, much less to do so on videotape.
Hamas has never attacked a Palestinian school, store, campus, neighborhood, mosque, church, bar, press office, polling place, government office or hospital. Only informers for Israel have something to fear, and usually only after a serious investigation.
Even on the rare occasions when Hamas has taken an Israeli soldier hostage, the captives were treated fairly well, at least until Israel made the mistake of trying to “free” them. Hamas held them as ransom to try to get its own prisoners out of Israeli prisons.
When Israel refused to negotiate and stormed the hideout, the guerrillas executed the prisoner, which is a crime, but that is still not the same thing as wanton execution of all enemy prisoners or beheading prisoners on tape and peddling the gorefest around the Internet.
Even during the 90’s, while the PA spent much of its time arresting Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists as favors for the US and Israel, Islamic guerrillas generally refrained from attacks on the PA, a breathtaking show of self-restraint.
While controversy has swirled over the Palestinian terror tactic of suicide bombings against civilians, the world fails to recognize that almost all Palestinian attacks have been against military or settler targets in the Territories, and only a relative few attacks have occurred inside the Green Line.
Palestinian guerrillas have repeatedly offered to cease all attacks on civilians inside Israel, only to be endlessly rebuffed. One gets the feeling that Israel wants a suicide attack inside the Green Line now and again to malign the enemy and feed its propaganda machine. Even here, though, Palestinian terrorists have taken a nuanced stance.
Note the International Solidarity Movement’s (ISM) volunteers that swarm the Territories, standing by the besieged Palestinian people and helping protect civilians. Most people don’t realize that 1/3 of ISM volunteers are Jewish.
Generally, these Jews who have chosen to stand by the Palestinian people do not complain of racism from the supposedly Jew-hating Palestinians. How long would a Jewish civilian volunteer last in Iraq’s Sunni Triangle, no matter how pro-resistance he was?
The point here is that all of these people – atheists, blasphemers, bartenders and bar patrons, women in miniskirts, “sell-outs” and compromise at any cost types, human rights activists, journalists, humanitarian workers, Leftists, Communists, feminists, Christians – are basically left alone!
There may be some words exchanged here and there, but in general, no one threatens them, puts a gun to their head, beats them up, attacks them, tortures them, much less kills them or chops their head off on tape. This is the intelligent way to run a principled, intelligent, nationalist resistance to a colonizer, occupier or invader.
Why? Because by fracturing and fighting amongst themselves, the resistance serves the needs of the occupier. Divide and conquer is the age-old colonial game and the smartest resistance movements try not to fall for it.
So what has the Iraqi resistance done? Exactly the opposite of the Palestinian resistance! Instance of uniting for national unity, they are presently pursuing one of the most reactionary, backwards, barbaric, sectarian, fascistic, oppressive, domineering, racist, tribalistic, and downright stupid agendas imaginable.
Allow me to elaborate: In late 2003, after the capture of Saddam, the resistance started moving towards Sunni Islamism and the pro-Saddam factions started drying up. Although there have been a couple of serious, and commendable, flare-ups of Shia nationalistic Islamism with the 2 Sadr rebellions in 2004, at the moment, the resistance is probably 90% Sunni Arab.
Furthermore, as 2004 wore on, the Sunni Islamists became more and more extreme, with a movement towards Salafism or Wahhabism, the most extreme Sunni Islam with roots in the Arabian Gulf.
Through 2004 the Leftist, nationalist, and unified front type groupings gradually seemed to give way to this extreme fanatical Sunni Salafist Islam, which now dominates the Iraqi resistance with its bleak, cruel, Medieval, puritanical, theocratic agenda.
With each passing month, more and more Shia are alienated from the resistance as the Sunni extremists attack the Shia with increasing regularity. In the areas they control, the Sunni fanatics have imposed the most backwards, insane, brutal and stupid version of Islamic law since the fall of the Taliban.
Even Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Sudan are not this harsh. Women are threatened and then shot dead for the crime of wearing blue jeans. Drivers listening to music are pulled out of their cars, beaten, and ordered to listen to religious music. Stores selling musical instruments and music and video CD’s are ordered to close and attacked when they don’t close. Hairdressers and makeup shops are ordered to close.
Women refusing to wear the hijab are threatened with guns and sometimes killed for not covering up. Alcohol stores are ordered to close and bombed when they don’t comply. Alcohol sellers are flogged in public. Men with long hair are given mock public trials where they are beaten and their “Western” haircuts shorn.
In recent days, the Sunni guerrillas around Latifiyah in the so-called Death Triangle have committed the ultimate outrage of shutting down the schools in the region, either in “solidarity with Fallujah” or because “schools are cooperating with the Occupation”.
One has to think hard to think of a resistance group in recent years that has shut down the schools of very same people they are claiming to “protect”. The damage that could be done to the Sunni youngsters in these areas from long-term school shutdowns is hard to calculate.
Journalists are kidnapped, beaten, tortured, shot dead, and even beheaded on tape in a frenzy of delirious rage that is hard for the sane mind to comprehend. News agencies are attacked for not sufficiently toeing the guerrilla line.
And in the ultimate crime and the nadir of stupidity, an aid worker who dedicated her life to the Iraqi people and hated the Occupation was kidnapped and brutally murdered for reasons only an asylum inmate could comprehend.
God forbid, even hospitals are attacked; in the most egregious case, after the idiotic bombing of a Christian church, in order to doubly punish the “infidel Christian” victims of the blast ferried to the hospital.
Execution of “spies”, “informers” and the like is utterly random and at the whim of the guerrillas, often without much evidence or the slightest hint of a proceeding.
The upshot of all of this is that in the areas where they Sunni fanatics hold sway, they are often feared and hated by a certain number of residents, Sunni Arabs themselves. Some residents are so fed up with guerrilla high-handedness and cruelty that they have welcomed the re-Occupation of their cities by US troops.
When a guerrilla faction is reduced to ruling and surviving through terror and not through the deep, passionate support of the people, that resistance faction is utterly failing in one of the primary rules of guerrilla war.
This rule, cited from Mao to Che to the finest war colleges on Earth, that the guerrillas need to gain support from civilian populations through good deeds and by the passionate commitment to the guerrilla cause of the people the guerrillas live amongst. The people’s support for the guerrilla works best when freely given and not coerced – terrorizing the people you claim to represent only gets one so far.
And how are the Sunni Islamists treating other religious groups, whom any half-sane Sunni resistance ought to be trying to enlist in a national resistance? Christians are threatened, ordered to close their alcohol, hairdressing and makeup shops and wear the hijab. If they refuse, they are killed.
Some Christians are being ordered to convert to Islam on penalty of death and there have been a few deaths in these cases. Iraqi churches, some of the oldest and most beautiful in the Christian World, have been repeatedly and shamelessly bombed.
It is true that many Christians have supported the Occupation in the past, but many others have not, and some large Christian parties have recently strongly opposed the Occupation.
The Shia are threatened, bullied, humiliated and ultimately ethnically cleansed. An entire region, from Abu Ghurayb down to Yusufiya and Latifiyah, is being systematically cleansed of Shia in an attempt to expand the Sunni Zone west of Baghdad.
Clearly, this is no better than what Israel does in their Territories. In Latifiyah, Shia mosques have been ordered to close and Shia are being thrown off the land so that Sunnis can take their farmland. Landowners renting to Shia are threatened with death unless they throw the Shia off the land.
The Sunni Islamists have begun setting up checkpoints in Latifiyah, on the popular Shia pilgrimage route between Baghdad and Najaf/Karbala. When Shia pilgrims arrive at these checkpoints, they are pulled out of their cars and ordered to denounce Ali, their patron saint. If they refuse, they are shot dead on the spot.
Other Shia are pulled out of their cars, beaten, and ordered not to come that way again. A Shia armed brigade, the Fury Brigades, was formed recently in Basra to deal with the blatant Sunni racism and oppression of the Shia in Latifiyah.
This Shia armed group recently fought a battle with Sunni Salafists in Latifiyah. Of course, US forces sat back and watched for a couple of hours while they bloodied each other. Obviously, it serves the occupier, the US Coalition, Israel, and imperialism in general to have various Iraqi factions fighting against each. This is exactly what the US and Israel want – the better to control Iraq.
The long-term strategy of the Israeli Right has long been that in order for Israel to survive its hostile neighborhood, Israel needs to become the dominant imperialist state in the Middle East and take control of the neighborhood by attacking its various hostile Arab neighbors (or getting the US to do it for them) and breaking up hostile Arab states into endlessly warring ethnic statelets.
This strategy was laid out in an internal Israeli document published in 1980 and uncovered and revealed to the world by the brave Israeli dissident Israel Shahak. Other more recent documents echo the same line, especially Securing the Realm in 1996 (The Securing the Realm document appears to lay the groundwork for the Iraq invasion).
The 1980 Israeli paper said that the optimal situation for Iraq, from Israel’s point of view, would be endless civil war between the various sects and ethnic groups, especially the Kurds and the Shia and Sunni Arabs. An eventual breakup of Iraq into unstable ethnic mini-states would be ideal.
A number of prominent American thinkers have also recently published on the benefits of breaking up Iraq into unstable, weak, easily controlled ethnic statelets. So, in their bottomless tribal stupidity, the Iraqi resistance is playing into the precisely laid plans and wildest dreams of their worst enemies – the Israelis and the Americans!
At the moment, the Sunni resistance has various goals. The first and only noble goal, from the point of view of an ideal resistance faction, is to throw the US Coalition out of Iraq. Beyond that, the Sunnis increasingly fear a Shia takeover in the coming elections in January. The Sunni Arabs have brutally ruled Mesopotamia, and later Iraq, for many centuries, lording it over the Shia Arabs in the process.
This 20% oligarchic elite, the Sunni Arabs, feel somehow entitled to lord it over Shia Arabs and Kurds like the worst feudal overlords.
A Shia victory in the coming elections would be the end of the reign of this racist ruling class Sunni elite, the end of their supremacism and domination of the other groups in the nation, and the end to their ill-deserved privileges obtained by brutally exploiting the other groups. The Sunni Arabs need to get used to the fact that they are a minority in Iraq.
If the Sunnis had any sense, they would be negotiating deals with the Shia at this very moment. Instead, like a typical ruling class thrown out of power, they are not giving up the tiniest bit of their illegitimate power and privileges without a vicious fight.
These deals would take the form of some sort of apology rituals by the Sunnis, such as statements of apology by the Sunni clergy for the crimes the Sunnis have committed against the Shia over the centuries, or perhaps pilgrimages to Shia mosques where prominent Sunnis essentially repent to the Shia for their crimes and ask for their forgiveness. The fact that these rituals would be largely symbolic is not the point.
In this sort of socio-political ritual, the symbolism itself can have potent sociological and political ramifications. The Sunnis could also cut deals for some sort of affirmative action or power sharing in government, a la Lebanon.
The Sunnis could point out that the Shia can hardly run the country without Sunni expertise and wealth. In return, the Shia would offer the Sunni Arabs, say, 20% of the seats in Parliament, 20% of the positions in the Cabinet, and perhaps one top-ranking post.
The basis for this deal would be that sharing power is preferable to civil war and that Iraqi Muslims ought to unite against the US and Israel instead of serving the enemy by infighting. Now that’s if the Sunni Arabs had any sense. But it appears that deep-rooted tribalism and bigotry and the towering arrogance and sense of entitlement of an ancient ruling class is trumping pragmatism in Iraq.
The Sunnis feel that they have enough power, guns and money to both throw out the US Coalition and then put the Kurds and Shia back under their boot, just like in the good old days. And they are willing to gamble a lot to get it all back. The game here is the zero-sum game.
Each group – Sunni Arabs, Kurds and Shia Arabs feels that either their tribe gets it all, or their tribe gets nothing. There is one winner who gets everything, and two losers who get zero. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Certainly sharing the wealth and power is preferable to endless civil war that only serves the enemy.
There are plenty of logical, historical reasons for Shia Arabs, secular Iraqis, progressive Iraqis, nationalist Iraqis and even Iraqi Christians to oppose the Coalition’s Occupation of Iraq. In 1920, all these groups rose up against the British.
At the moment, many amongst these groups are either supporting the US Coalition or sitting on the sidelines because the Taliban-like Sunni resistance either offers them nothing or seems even worse than the US. In this case, the US presence at least offers Christians, the Shia, the secular, progressives and even nationalists some modicum of protection against the nightmare of a brutal Sunni theocracy.
The leading figurehead for this insane, fanatical, brutal Sunni nonsense is none other than Mr. Zarqawi. This man is a certified sadist, a sociopathic freak with the mind of a serial killer who delights in personally sawing off the heads of live human beings for the whole world to see.
A few of his more famous victims have been utterly innocent in any sense of the word. Zarqawi harbors a crazed, pathological hatred of Shia Muslims and Christians in general, not to mention Sunni Muslims who are insufficiently fanatical. One could hardly think of a more backwards, terrifying, medieval, monstrous, criminal, racist pig of a man to head the Iraqi Resistance.
The US and Israel must be delighted. Zarqawi is a grade-A villain right out of the movies, with virtually no redeeming qualities and a mortifying, bloodthirsty, genocidal vision. The elevation of Zarqawi to the symbolic leadership of the Iraqi resistance symbolizes the depths of the depravity and lunacy to which the Iraqi Sunni Salafist rebels have sunk.
On the one hand, we have the ultra-reactionary, backwards, racist, corrupt, sexist, cruel-hearted, supremacist, chauvinist, criminal, fundamentalist, crusading Bush Administration and its imperial armies smashing around the globe picking fights and bullying the planet.
Lined up against them, in Iraq and Afghanistan, are some of the most backwards, ultra- reactionary, supremacist, chauvinist, medieval, fundamentalist, racist, corrupt, sexist, cruel-hearted criminals on Earth, offering a vision at least as vicious, animalistic, cold, primitive and fascist-like as Bush’s crusaders, if not much worse.
Rational people realize that religious wars are some of the stupidest of all possible wars. This war – the “War on Terror” – is a becoming a war between insane reactionary religious fanatics, one side waving the banner of Christianity (and more surreptitiously, Judaism), the other the banner of Islam.
The failure of the rest of the Earth, inhabiting the relatively sane terrain between these terrifying extremes, to offer a substantive vision between these two utterly bleak alternatives, is profoundly dispiriting.
Repost from the old site.
Israel, along with its US and European supporters, is demanding that the Hamas Palestinian government do three things in order to turn back on the international aid that has been cut off:
- End violence
- Recognize Israel
- Abide by all past peace accords
On the surface, that certainly sounds reasonable enough, does it not? But looking beneath the surface, things are not as simple as they sound. Let us look at the first demand: to end violence. Why not, eh? However, note that there is no according demand on Israel’s part to end its own violence.
Hamas already initiated a hudna or ceasefire, upon taking the government. That ceasefire has since broken down amidst continuous Israeli raids and attacks, and Hamas is apparently no longer abiding by it.
But Israel reserves the right to continue to make as many “anti-terrorist” raids as it wants against “suspected terrorists”, especially in the West Bank. How messed up is that?
Furthermore, Israel continues to expand its settlements in the West Bank and is refusing to evacuate any more settlements. Do not the Palestinians in the West Bank have a right to resist this colonization of their land with weapons? I say yes! Of course they do!
The second demand is quite seductive. Recognize Israel. But it is actually a trick question. You see, Israel, unique among all countries on Earth, refuses to delineate its borders. Its borders are, as Golda Meir once said, wherever Jews live. Since Israel refuses to say what its borders are, exactly which geographical state of Israel is Hamas supposed to recognize anyway?
Furthermore, any state of Israel that Hamas recognizes will apparently include much of the Occupied Territories in the West Bank. No Israeli government is even remotely considering a withdrawal to 1967 borders. But without a withdrawal to 1967 borders, there is absolutely no hope whatsoever of a viable Palestinian state.
So Israel is in essence refusing to recognize the Palestinians as a national people who deserve a viable state. Given that, why should Hamas recognize Israel?
There is yet another trap in this question – in recognizing Israel’s right to exist. As Noam Chomsky notes, Israel is the only state where we are arguing about whether or not it has a right to exist. Now why is that? What is so peculiar about this state that it alone is the basis of this argument?
Because it, alone again amongst all other states, is not the state of its citizens. Instead it is the state of all of the Jews everywhere in the world. It says so right there in its Constitution. The Palestinian and non-Jewish citizens of Israel? According to the Israeli government, they are not exactly represented as members of the state.
This is why any Jew from New York who has never set foot in Israel can hop a plane and become a citizen while a Palestinian whose family lived on the land for centuries has no such right. Once again, unique amongst countries. Furthermore, it acknowledges Israel’s right to exist as an exclusivist Jewish state that privileges the rights of Jews over all other citizens.
As Jonathan Cook points out in this excellent piece, The Trap of Recognizing Israel, Israel’s reckless need to ensure a Jewish majority in Israel at all costs, a need for which it is willing to sacrifice many important things, including regional stability and need for accommodation with its neighbors, is profoundly destabilizing and threatens to set off regional and even global war.
I do not know enough about the prior agreements signed between the Palestinians and Israel to understand why Hamas is refusing to go along with them. Perhaps a knowledgeable reader can discuss this in the comments or in an email to me.
Very impressive video from Hamas showing their new underground rocket launchers. This is a major advance for the Palestinian fighting force. They probably got the idea for making these things underground from Hezbollah, who has perfected the art of underground launchers. As you can see, there is a heavy metal door protecting the launcher from attack. The door opens and the launchers fire. Then the door closes, and the launcher goes back underground.
In addition, Hamas and other Palestinians have dramatically upgraded their missile arsenals with Katyushas and Fajrs. Most of those are coming via Iran and possibly Hezbollah. No doubt they are smuggled in from the Sinai.
Now their missile launching capability is much upgraded, as the new Fajrs have a range of more than 25 miles. Recent attacks have hit Tel Aviv and its suburbs itself. A missile was intercepted over Holon by the Israeli Iron Dome, and shrapnel landed on a car, setting it on fire. A town just south of Tel Aviv was also hit, but the missile landed in an open area.
Another couple of missiles hit the sea off Tel Aviv. Missiles hitting the sea are actually quite dangerous because that is the flight path for the jets arriving and leaving Tel Aviv airport. Hence a number of countries are cancelling their flights to Israel.
The greater Tel Aviv area is called Gush Dan.
Another missile was launched at Jerusalem itself, instead hitting just south of Jerusalem in the Gush Etzion colonial settlement block on Arab land in the West Bank. However, this also landed on open land.
Hamas has also been trying repeatedly to hit the Israeli nuclear reactor in Dimona with missiles. However, all of these missiles have landed outside of the town of Dimona in the desert. It’s uncertain what sort of damage a missile might do to a nuclear reactor.
Hamas and other groups are indeed shooting these rockets willy-nilly at Israeli towns. However, they are also targeting the Israeli military. A rocket hit a truck carrying tanks on a highway leading towards Gaza. An underground tunnel under the border was packed with explosives and detonated under a group of Israeli military trucks, overturning them. No one was in the trucks at the time.
Before the recent attack, an anti-tank rocket was fired by the PFLP at a jeep just over the Gaza border, wounding 3 soldiers.
In truth, Hamas and others lack good intelligence of where Israeli soldiers even are, though they may have some idea of where Israeli military bases are. The missiles are quite inaccurate. So even if the Gazans knew where Israeli bases and troops were, it would be hard to target them due to their inferior intelligence and accuracy of their weapons.
On the other hand, firing missiles willy-nilly at civilian towns and cities is definitely terrorism all right, even if Israeli casualties have been very low so far. Thus far, 3 Israelis have been killed, all civilians. The number of Israeli wounded is hard to figure, and I have had a hard time coming up with good figures. The best figure I can come up with is around 24 Israelis wounded so far, 21 civilians and 2 soldiers. If anyone can come up with better figures, let me know.
Casualties on the other side are even harder to figure. Hamas lists ~60 Gazans killed so far, but Israel says only 17 have been killed. Hamas has already been caught faking a video for propaganda purposes. A civilian was shown being carried away on a stretcher amid screaming civilians, but the same man was shown on another video walking away from the scene 10 minutes later. Propaganda like that is disgusting, but all sides do it in wartime.
I must say it is amazing that Palestinian rockets are hitting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv!
The killing of the commander of the Hamas armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, set off this recent war. It’s true that quite a few rockets have been fired at Israel lately for whatever reason. The assassination of Ahmed al-Jabari and his son while they were driving in a car in Gaza City has got a lot of news. Israel was quick to describe him as an arch-terrorist, but the truth is more complex.
It is true that al-Jabari has led the group since 2002, and is responsible for many suicide bombings in the early days before the Wall was built. In recent years, he has been behind many of the rocket attacks that hit Israel.
However, other groups have also been shooting rockets. Recently, most rockets were fired by the Resistance Committees, the Al Qaeda Salafist groups and Islamic Jihad.
The truth is that al-Jabari has been Israel’s enforcer in the Gaza. There has been a relative truce since Operation Cast Lead, and it is al-Jabari who has enforced that truce. His job is mostly to keep nignogs from these other groups from shooting rockets, but that’s easier said than done. In many cases, Hamas has been able to get these groups to stop shooting rockets.
But that’s hard to do. For one thing, Hamas has only shaky control over Gaza, and the last thing they want is a civil war between them and the other armed groups. Another point is that resistance to Israel is very popular in Gaza, and Hamas looks like the bad guy by shooting it down, even against nignog-firing rocketeers. If Hamas comes to be seen too much as Israel’s enforcer, they can lose ground to other groups in Gaza, particularly Islamic Jihad.
By killing al-Jabari, Israel sent him a message. The message was that as far as enforcing the truce and getting clowns to quite shooting rockets, he wasn’t doing a good enough job.
Hamas predictably reacted with fury to the assassination, and the hot war was on. Frankly, Hamas is getting its ass beat in this war. Many of their rockets have been intercepted, and there have been few casualties and little damage on the Israeli side.
There are risks to both sides in backing down from this war. The first side to give in, capitulate and call for a ceasefire risks being seen as weak, and neither side wants to give that impression. However, Hamas is being badly beaten here, so Turkey and Egypt are busy trying to get a ceasefire going. There’s little call for a truce on the Israeli side.
Israel is massing a huge force outside Gaza, and the idea is that they may go in there in a ground operation. That doesn’t seem like it would solve anything, and it may just make matters worse.
Coinciding with the rocket barrage, there have been many rock and Molotov cocktail attacks on cars driven by colonial settler invaders in the West Bank. Casualties from these attacks have been minimal.
I fully support armed actions against adult colonial settler invaders in the West Bank. They have no business being there, and they need to go home. I can’t support attacks on Israeli citizens inside the Green Line nor on Israeli minors in the West Bank. Attacks on kids are never right – minor civilians of any type are never a military target.
My attitude is that this whole war is pretty stupid. Hamas’ shooting of rockets is futile and will accomplish nothing but the destruction of their infrastructure and arsenal. Israel is already trying to kill the Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya.
On the other hand, what can Israel do? There are 2 million Arabs in Gaza, and they are not going anywhere anytime soon. Israel has created an open air prison since Hamas won the election, and its arguable that Gazans might be justified in attacks for the imposition of this prison itself.
Most Gazans are refugees from the surrounding Israeli towns in South Israel. The former Arab towns were razed, their residents thrown out, and Jewish towns filled with Jews were built in their place. It is on these very towns and cities that these former refugees in Gaza are presently firing their missiles.
By far the best source for up to date information on the War is Israel National News, or Arutz Sheva. This is an outlet for the Far Right in Israel, the national-religious crowd. Nevertheless, no one does a better job of covering the conflict.
Repost from the old site.
I was visiting my Mother the other day (she lives 33 miles away) and she had just read some articles on my blog. She made some negative remarks about “Zionists”, at which point I informed her that she was a Zionist. She looked horrified, which is the way any decent person should look when accused of such a thing. I then patiently explained to her than anyone who supported a Jewish state in Palestine was a Zionist.
She looked disappointed. On further questioning, it turned out that she pretty much thought that the founding of Israel was a great big mistake and a crime – like the founding of the USA via the conquest of the American Indians. However, she said you can’t undo history, and people have to try to make do with reality as it is.
I then told her that her views were probably “non-Zionist” – that being someone who disapproved of the Zionist project, but that that we should live with the reality of it, as Israel is there, and it’s not going away. My brother, on questioning, also did not really know what Zionism is, and also qualified as a non-Zionist who thought we needed to deal with reality as it exists, not as it ought to be.
The views that they espouse – “That the creation of Israel was a mistake, but they are there, they’re not leaving, and we have to deal with that” – ought to rationally be considered by progressives as neither Zionism nor anti-Zionism, but non-Zionism.
In the course of my conversations with these two brilliant, highly-educated immediate family members, I realized that even the best and the brightest in the US did not really know what Zionism was.
So, with that in mind, I felt it was time for a post describing exactly what Zionism was and is, its history and its various forms. Obviously, this brief post will barely begin to nudge the edges of this subject, but still it ought to serve as a nice primer.
What is Zionism anyway? I see Zionism every day on the net. In a nutshell, most Zionists, but not all, argue that both the formation of the state of Israel and the settler-colonial project that created it were right, just and proper.
A principal Zionist argument (though not shared by all Zionists) is this:
- Jewish land, not Arab land – All of Israel is Jewish land. The Arabs have no right to any of this land.
Several arguments are used to defend this view:
- Historical- Jews had a continuing presence in the land for 3,000 years, so therefore it is their land. The Arab presence is illegitimate. When the Zionist project began, there were only a few Arabs in Palestine anyway, and they were the ancestors of Arabs who invaded Jewish land in 640 and have been occupying Jewish land ever since.Arabs never controlled Palestine anyway, and all Palestinians are Arab invading colonists who have no right to be there and need to go back to Arabia where they came from. Jews were completely in their right to reclaim their homeland after so many years in exile.This is one of the most vicious and wicked Zionist arguments, and it is extremely popular amongst the hardest of the hardline, blood-and-soil, organic nationalist types.One can argue that this is the philosophy that it is at the core of the mindset of the leaders of the Zionist movement from 1897 to the present. It is this argument, that, like most primordialist ethnic nationalist projects that rose out of Central and Eastern Europe in the 1800′s, is most similar to Nazism.On the other hand, all modern ethnic nationalisms (in particular Arab nationalism, Indian Hindu nationalism, Lebanese Phalangist nationalism and all of the ethnic nationalist projects that swept Central and Eastern Europe in the 1920′s and 1930′s) came from the same 19th Century core as Nazism, so it is somewhat unfair to single out Zionism in that regard.
- Religious – God gave the land to the Jews. It is Jewish land and will always be so. God watches over the Jews and Israel, and no one can mess with them. Anyone who messes with the Jews or Israel gets punished by God. This is obviously a favorite of conservative Zionists, though some secular liberal Zionists use it too, usually cynically in an effort to get Gentile Christians to go along with the project.
- Holocaust – Jews needed a safe haven in Israel due to the Holocaust, and it was ok to throw out the Arabs to get this haven. A favorite of liberal Zionists, many of whom are ignorant of the specifics of the project. When questioned, many of this type will insist that no Arabs were thrown out to make the Jewish state. Apparently the land was just empty or something.
- Freedom From Persecution – Related to the above. Jews have been persecuted everywhere they have been, so it is reasonable for them to have their own state where they can be safe. A favorite of more liberal Zionists. One of their favorite lines is that Zionism is “affirmative action for Jews”. Micheal Lerner of Tikkun is fond of that phrase.
- UN and League of Nations – These two organizations agreed to give away Arab land to Jews for a homeland at different times. Therefore, Israel is legitimate. Once again, a favorite of more liberal Zionists and folks who are fond of the UN and international law.
- Self-determination and National Liberation – All other ethnic groups have a right to self-determination on their homeland, and many have developed national liberation movements to obtain their nation-state. Zionism is the Jewish equivalent. This argument is a favorite of Zionist liberals and Leftists.
- British Donation – Britain gave the land – British land – to the Jews. Therefore, it is the Jews’ land. This one is also a favorite of more liberal Zionists, because it avoids the question of whether or not Israel is Jewish land.
A number of the National-Religious types (see arguments A and B above – they are typically combined into a highly toxic form called National-Religious Zionism) claim that the land of Israel extends from the Nile to the Euphrates. It encompasses most of Lebanon and Syria, all of Jordan, part of Iraq, all of the Sinai, part of Arabia and all of Kuwait.
There are actually a fair number of Zionists who feel that all (or some) of this should be reconquered.
When an aide to President Truman visited the Holy Land around 1947 to try to understand the Zionist-Arab conflict, he said that all of the Jews he met there held the Nile to Euphrates view. He also noted that they did not like to talk about it too much, and they seemed to want to keep it a sort of secret, as if they were afraid of the reaction of outsiders if they learned of the Zionist plans.
Despite super-liar and modern-day Crusader Daniel Pipes’ articulate lie, The Nile to Euphrates Calumny, Nile to Euphrates Zionists are not mythological, and I have run across them fairly regularly on the Net, especially lately.
Does Mr. Pipes feel that I have hallucinated all of these Greater Israel types? Were they all just Arab agents out to make the Zionists look bad? Inquiring minds want to know. Mr. Pipes or his supporters are encouraged to email me here to explain how it is that I keep running into these nonexistent phantasms.
A lesser view holds that “Eretz Israel” at least covers all of Green Line Israel, all of the West Bank, the Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip. Some also include the Sinai Peninsula (or at least a small part of it up to the Wadi Arish) and southern Lebanon to the Litani River.
A map demonstrating Zionist armed settler-colonialism in action. Note the progressive loss of Arab land to Zionist colonization. This was deliberate and planned from the very start. It all stems from the Zionist principle that all of Israel, the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights is Jewish land and that the local Arabs are “squatting” on Jewish land and live there only at the whim of the Zionist owners.
Presently, the project is to make the remaining Arab enclaves so miserable that the Arabs will leave and then the Zionists can colonize their land.
This is a Minimal Greater Israel view and is very common. It was the “minimal view” adopted by the “progressives” of Left Socialist Zionism under David Ben-Gurion, the founder of Israel. It could logically be called Minimal Greater Israel.
Ben-Gurion’s ideological opponents, Vladimir Jabotinsky’s Revisionist Zionists, held similar views, except that they typically claimed all of Jordan for the Jewish state also.
A poster for the Irgun Zionist armed guerrilla group. This was one of the three major armed Zionist guerrilla factions in Palestine. It focused on attacks against both the British and the local Arabs. Note that Irgun claimed that not only all of Palestine, but also all of Jordan, was Jewish land, to be cleansed of Arab “squatters”, and to be conquered by force (note the rifle).
Irgun dissolved after the founding of Israel, and since then Mainstream Revisionist Zionism has gone pretty quiet about claims to Jordan. Look carefully at the map to see that Irgun also claimed the Golan Heights for the Zionists.
I have recently met Zionist Jews on the Net who are still upset at the British and the League of Nations for “promising” all of Jordan to the Zionists in the early 1920′s, and then “going back on their word”. Actually neither party did any such thing, and such thinking is based on a misreading of the League of Nations Mandate.
In a recent interview, a leader of the Zionist Organization of America, a very powerful, very militant Jewish Zionist group in the US, noted with a twinkle in his eye that all of Jordan was actually part of Israel and implied that Israel should conquer it at some future time. The attitudes of ZOA fanatics are rampant amongst the neoconservatives who were associated with the Bush Administration.
The notion of Greater Israel, not some phony notions about buffer zones or security zones, is and was the real reason for the occupation and colonies in the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan and the Sinai, and for the occupation of Southern Lebanon.
As you can imagine, this political project, Zionism, terrifies the Arabs and sends them into conniptions. My opinion is that Zionism is poisonous and that no people should have to put up with such a dangerous project, least of all the backwards Arabs.
There is a lot of nonsense about Greater Israel on the Internet, with devious Zionist sophists like Pipes holding that it is just a deranged, paranoid Arab fantasy. On the other hand, many anti-Zionists, especially Islamists, insist that all Zionists hold the radical Nile-to-Euphrates view.
As you can see above, that is not the case. The truth is that some Zionists do hold the Nile-to-Euphrates view, but the Israeli government does not, and most major Israeli political parties and political figures do not either.
The Minimal Greater Israel project described above is much more common and relevant. Anti-Zionists should focus on the minimal project for now and forget about the Nile To Euphrates project until we get some evidence that it amounts to more than the ravings of some Zionist radicals.
Anti-Zionism is a radical position, like Zionism. In general, not only do anti-Zionists strongly oppose the whole Zionist project, but they go usually so far as to say that, ideally, Israel has no right to exist, and should be dismantled in one way or another. The vast majority of Arabs are anti-Zionists in one way or another. If they tolerate Israel’s existence at all, it is only grudgingly.
Anti-Zionists differ on what should be done with the Zionist Jews who have settled in Israel.
Some say that all of those who themselves or whose relatives came to Palestine after 1917, when the Balfour Declaration was signed, have to go back where they came from.
This was the line espoused in the original PLO Charter of 1964 and continues to be espoused by some very radical Arab nationalist types, especially some Arab Communists.
Examples of organizations holding such views are NACAZAI (North American Congress Against Zionism and Racism), headed by Ziad Shaker AlJishi, a Palestinian refugee living in the US, and the the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) militants who run the Free Arab Voice website.
The FAV site is edited by Ibrahim Alloush and Mohammad Abu Nasr. Everyone associated with the FAV website is apparently a member of the political wing of the PFLP.
One of the editors takes the not-so-obvious nom de guerre of Nabila Harb. This pseudonym derives from Nabil Harb, an obscure PFLP cadre from the 1970′s who was part of a small PFLP cell that hijacked a Lufthansa airliner in Spain in an attempt to win the release of German urban guerrillas from the Baader-Meinhoff Gang.
The attempt failed when the plane was stormed by German Special Forces in Mogadishu, killing 3 of the 4 PFLP terrorists, but not before the cell had executed the captain of the plane in Yemen an act of gross criminality and stupidity.
The imprisoned members of the German ultra-Leftist group committed suicide right afterwards, effectively ending the existence of Baader-Meinhoff. But from its ashes would rise its successor, the much larger and more successful Red Army Faction.
However, unlike the PFLP, which is fairly heterodox and not necessarily extremely Arab nationalist anymore, the FAV is a hardline, pro-Saddam Arab nationalist site that is an excellent example of Arab Nationalist “Arab fascism” and “Arab Nazism”, as is NACAZAI. Free Arab Voice would be better characterized as a Palestinian Baathist site.
The 40 year old Dr. Alloush is a son of Palestinian refugees in Jordan. He is a Professor of Statistics and Economics at a university in Amman, Jordan. The mysterious Abu Nasr (a nom de guerre) is the author of the Iraqi Resistance Reports that can be found on the Internet.
The 59-year-old Nasr is a Palestinian who may have left Palestine after the 1967 war, may live somewhere in the West, and may have a PhD. He is fluent in Russian as well as English, which suggests he may have received education in the former Soviet Union. The PFLP was sending its higher-ranking cadres to the Soviet Union for education some years ago.
Alloush also runs an Arab nationalist list on the Net and a Yahoo group by the same name. Alloush has received some notoriety for appearing at a conference of Holocaust Deniers in Lebanon and endorsing their views. In fact, the FAV website foments Holocaust Denial itself. Both Nasr and Alloush are virulently anti-Semitic Arab Communists and excellent examples of “Arab fascism” and “Arab Nazism”, to their eternal discredit.
NACAZAI also holds Holocaust Denial views, in addition supporting the genocidal Khmer Rogue, being strongly pro-North Korea, pro-Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime and in favor of the genocidal ultra-racist Arab-Nazis in Sudan. FAV takes similar positions, except I don’t know how they feel about the Khmer Rogue.
Even worse, a virulently anti-Semitic, Nazi-like position statement by NACAZAI shows that the Zionists and neocons who rant about the anti-Semitic Left are not entirely incorrect. Such beasts do exist.
Other members of NACAZAI include John Paul Cupp, a Communist supporter of North Korea who lives in Oregon, and Kevin Walsh, a Communist white supremacist who was recently arrested in Arizona for threatening to kill President Bush and has been diagnosed as mentally ill under suspicious circumstances (I suspect he may be bipolar). Both Cupp and Walsh are virulent, Nazi-like anti-Semites.
The entire Left should distance itself from Cupp, Walsh, AlJishi, Nasr and Alloush, along with Arab Nazis and Arab fascists in general (which includes a large segment of the Arab nationalist movement) until they pull their heads out and quit preaching racism in the name of anti-racism.
I would like to point out that the ultra-radical views of Nasr and Alloush and some of their colleagues are not held by the PFLP leadership, which envisions a single state in Palestine for both Jews and Arabs (see the recent interview with top PFLP leader Leila Khaled, for example).
The view that all Jews coming after 1917 need to take off was recently reiterated by the late Sheik Yassin, spiritual leader of Hamas, who was assassinated by an IDF missile.
Another related view is held by others, including Ayatollah Khameini, spiritual leader of Iran, who has stated that ideally all of those Jews who themselves or whose relatives came to Palestine after the 1948 founding of the Israeli state have to go back where they came from. It is possible that Hezbollah may hold similar views, due to the close relationship of its leadership with that of the Iranian government.
Other Arab radicals say that Mizrachi Jews (Jews who lived in the Arab World) can stay in the region, but that Ashkenazi Jews, who trace their recent ancestry back to Europe, have to go home.
Many anti-Zionists (especially progressives and Leftists) believe that all of the Jews can stay in Israel, but that they must share the state and land with the Arabs and dismantle the Jewish state.
This view has been espoused by the leadership of the DFLP and PFLP leftwing Palestinian armed fronts, some members of the PLO, the Hamas Charter, an Islamic Jihad leader in an interview 13 years ago, and Libya’s Moammar Qaddafi, who proposed a state called Izratine.
In general, the vast majority of anti-Zionists do not advocate killing all the Jews in Israel, though I have heard some Arab hotheads say that on the Internet. No Arab or Muslim armed group (including Al Qaeda) takes that position, to my knowledge.
Yet this is a staple of Zionist propaganda – that all anti-Zionists and armed anti-Israel groups are all intent on “carrying out a second Holocaust”. If it were true, it would be an excellent reason to support Israel, but there is little evidence for this.
Furthermore, there is a question of how killing 5 million Jewish residents of an industrialized society in a rapid manner in our day and age, given recent human historical memory, is even feasible.
That said, I do not think that Al Qaeda or the groups allied with them are good for the Jews, to say the least. I can’t prove they want to kill all of the ones in Palestine, much less all the ones on Earth, but I do not think these radicals have the best interests of the Jewish people at heart, to put it mildly.
The official Al Qaeda line is that after the liberation of Palestine by Islam, all of the Jews will have to leave. According to Al Qaeda, once the Caliphate is established on Muslim lands, all non-Muslims in these lands will have to either convert to Islam if they wish to remain in Caliphate lands, or leave if they do not convert. Those who will not convert or leave will have to be killed.
For the record, some of those associated with the British Al Qaeda fronts Al-Muhajiroun, The Savior Sect and Al Ghurabaa such as Omar Bakri Mohammad and Abu Hamza have made statements that all Jews on Earth must be killed.
Variations on Qaddafi’s one-state solution, described above, are called the one-state project. That is the position of this blog. There are many variations on this view. Some hold that ideally the region should be an Islamic state and that the Jews should have to live under Islamic Law. This position is held by Islamists and is strongly opposed by this blog.
It is interesting that Qaddafi’s Izratine was considered a slap in the face to Hamas, who apparently are not wild about living in a state with 5 million Jews.
Some high-ranking Hamas members have said as much, admitting that they have had enough misery from the Jews in the region and want a “divorce” from the Jews, hence the popularity of 2 states as an interim solution by some high-ranking pragmatists in the Hamas leadership.
Others hold that the single state should be a “secular state”, which is a great idea except that most citizens of such a state would be anything but secular. Many Arabs (especially Arab nationalists) insist that the single state be an Arab state and that Jews should live as a minority in such a state. Obviously, that view is not popular with Jews at all.
Others would grant Jews and Arabs some sort of local rule akin to Switzerland’s cantons. One proposal wants to make the single state a homeland for the Jews and Palestinians, two terribly persecuted peoples. This proposal would retain aliya rights for Jews while allowing all Palestinians to have their own sort of aliya.
It’s clear there are many versions of this single state project. The primary resistance to this project at the moment comes not from Arabs or Muslims but from the very real fears of the Jews in Israel. These reality-based fears will have to be addressed in any such single state solution.
Getting back to Greater Israel, the Internet is full of statements by Zionist fanatics fantasizing about Greater Israel. They are not made-up lies but instead are well-documented statements. Here is one by David Ben-Gurion (formerly David Green):
David Ben Gurion, Report to the World Council of Poale Zion (the forerunner of the Labor Party), Tel Aviv, 1938. Cited by Israel Shahak, Journal of Palestine Studies, Spring 1981.
“We should prepare to go over to the offensive. Our aim is to smash Lebanon, Trans-Jordan, and Syria. The weak point is Lebanon, for the Moslem regime is artificial and easy for us to undermine. We shall establish a Christian state there, and then we will smash the Arab Legion, eliminate Trans-Jordan; Syria will fall to us. We then bomb and move on and take Port Said, Alexandria, and Sinai.”
Keep in mind that this frighteningly fanatical statement was uttered by the founder of the state of Israel, a socialist, a liberal and a moderate. Note that his rightwing opponents were even more extreme. Note also that his rightwing Revisionist opponents were the forerunners of the modern-day Likud and Kadima Parties, not to mention the many smaller rightwing parties.