Saturday, June 5, 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
"The study also found that Ashkenazi Jews, who hail from Europe, are "all as closely related as fourth or fifth cousins would be."
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Well, I owe an apology to our dear friends over @ Saudi Intelligence... apparently they aren't all the college-drunk-puking frat boys I remember from university.
What am I talking about? Look at this:
That's the hits tracker on the Casbah, located on the bottom-left part of this blog. My first suspicion came when I saw: "Previous 24hrs: 424". Meaning that Blogging The Casbah got 424 hits yesterday--we normally get around 50. Hmm...
So what happened? Well it's quite funny, really.
Some English-speaking "expert" over @ Saudi Intelligence--in other words, one of those filthy-rich-Arab-party-boys who was sent off to "study America" and now works for Saudi Intelligence--has deemed that "we" at the Casbah are now a "terrorist threat."
"Why?" You may ask? Well, because Wastafarian's did a stupid fucking post (that was really great!) on Anwar Al-Awlaki doing the "shocker," or pretending to pull a college frat boy and finger-bang a girl, maintaining a rigid pinky in her anus! Yikes!
So I am A) blown away and, B) perhaps needing to correct my stereotype of Arab fraternity brothers: They may not all be lust-seeking perverts, looking to entice easy drunk American girls into bed, only to salute dear old dad for sending their daughter to college, allowing some dark Semitic claw to startle them with a shocker!
At this time the Casbah is still blocked from Saudi... so if you live there, good luck finding some web proxy to beat it. And if you don't live there, well, enjoy the absurdity of this post... and holy fuck! 424 hits!
Blogging The Casbah is now a big time blog! Thanks Wasta for keepin' an eye out! Or should I say finger?
Update: This is what Al-Lisan wrote yesterday from Medina, Saudi Arabia:
Al Lisan said... Watch out Abu, Saudi is on to you.
Whatever you posted, the Saudi government thinks it is too sensitive or scandalous for my eyes. Just a warning - they're onto you!
And according to LA Times blog, Babylon and Beyond:
... Haneen Zoabi took the stand. Zoabi, an Arab Israeli legislator, took part in the Gaza flotilla and was aboard the Mavi Marmara during the ill-fated takeover that left nine dead and dozens more injured. Jewish public opinion in Israel was not impressed with her decision to join aid ship. Some dismissed it as a populist, attention-seeking move. Others denounced her participation as siding with the country's enemies conspiring against the state.
And what does the blogger have to say? Yikes!
Update: Abu Muqawama has a quality post up on his blog about the military side of this Flotilla raid.
The Flotilla disaster is, predictably, raising a lot of questions surrounding Israeli policy, the occupation and the blockade of Gaza. Many are insisting that the blockade is ineffective or counterproductive while others are insisting that the stranglehold on Gaza is necessary for Israeli security. Proponents of the latter view tend to focus on the damage that Hamas could inflict with free borders. The argument is all too often that Hamas doesn’t reject Israeli policies, but Israel itself. Of course, officially, the Hamas movement is opposed to the Jewish state, but has made it clear in recent years that it is willing to accept Israel as a Jewish state within the 1967 borders. The most recent demonstration of Hamas’ willingness to compromise was an interview of Hamas chief Khalid Meshaal done by Charlie Rose in which Meshaal unequivocally says that the 1967 borders of Israel are acceptable.
Supporters of the Israeli blockade and occupation, however, find it inconvenient to acknowledge this ideological evolution by Hamas. Two articles were published – today (2/6) in the New York Times and yesterday (1/6) in the Christian Science Monitor - that underscore the refusal of Israeli supporters to believe Hamas.
And, of course, Hamas openly insists that it will countenance no long-term peace with Israel; the resistance will not end, it says, until Israel is destroyed.
Obviously, this is a clear and distinct worry for Israel. Accepting a Hamas government that will never accept Israel and wants to fight until Israel is destroyed would be foolish. Yet, Gordis’ picture of Hamas does not represent reality. Meshaal, in his Charlie Rose interview, says – very clearly:
Once the occupation comes to an end, the violence or the resistance will come to an end. Today, in the West Bank, is there resistance? There is no resistance in the West Bank. Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad stopped it. Why Israel doesn’t withdraw?
So the problem is not with the resistance. When the occupation comes to an end, the resistance will end.
Ok, so maybe Hamas’ resistance is conditioned on Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian land. But the group will still never recognize Israel, ever. At least that is the argument David Makovsky made in the Christian Science Monitor on Monday. He even cited Meshaal in the Charlie Rose interview to back up his claim:
Hamas does not recognize Israel at any size — even the area of a telephone booth on a Tel Aviv beach. Just last week in Damascus, Syria, PBS talk show host Charlie Rose kept asking Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal if he would accept Israel if it withdrew to the pre-1967 borders; Mr. Meshaal refused to answer.
Makovsky’s accusations are pretty upsetting. If Hamas refuses to accept Israel, then what is the point? The only way Israel can live without holding Hamas under its thumb is to wait for its dissolution. However, even a brief look at the Meshaal interview shows a different reality than the sensationalist one of Makovsky:
So when the occupation comes to an end, the resistance will end. As simple as that. If Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, so that will be the end of the Palestinian resistance.
This, of course, is a clearly implied acceptance of an Israel of the 1967 borders. Implication is not enough for some. Meshaal obliges the critics (my emphasis):
Let me tell you very clearly. We respect all religions. We do not fight Israel because it’s a Jewish, but because it is occupying our land, our territory. Palestine as the cradle of religions and the prophets, has always witnessed tolerance throughout history between Christians, Muslims and the Jews…
As for the recognition of Israel rights of existence, I told you once the Palestinian state appears, it will go for that…
I tell you today, I accept a state on the borders of 1967.
Of course, Hamas is not an ideal example of a peaceful, human-rights abiding regime. There is much to worrying about and there should be a clear push for reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas in order to continue the moderation of the government of Gaza. What is clear, though, is that the reasons for the continuation of the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza are often based on a distortion of the position of Hamas.
The timing of the Israeli attack on the aid convoy – immediately after the Meshaal interview – suggests that Israel (and the world) needs to reconsider the consequences of a blockade that is punishing the entire population. Hamas constantly reiterates its willingness to accept Israel after Palestinian independence; Israel repeats its claim that Hamas wants to destroy the Jewish state; and the people of Gaza continue to suffer.
Photo from Al Shaab
This is cross-posted from Notes From a Medinah
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
As if things couldn't get worse for Israel... Yep, one of those American-made CS gas canisters--tear gas--came crashing into an eye of a 21 year old American girl yesterday, making her blind in that eye.
Emily Henochowicz, 21, of Maryland, underwent surgery after suffering the injury, said hospital spokeswoman Yael Bossem-Levy.
What was she doing? Protesting the loss of life from the Flotilla, of course. And does it matter that the "activists" were looking for a PR bout? No, not at all. Why? Because the calculated Israeli crackdown by Netanyahu's ultra-right coalition did exactly what everyone who doesn't like Israel wanted them to do: Further the Israeli Defense Force reputation that everything they touch, they harm.
So yes, this American girl losing her eye (Jewish? Maybe) is not a good piece of news for Israel.
Then there are the people--like Netanyahu--who said today that it was the outright fault of the people on the Flotilla, like they forced it all... And while he may be right, he misses the point: This kind of thing will continue until Israelis and Palestinians defuse tensions and come to some kind of agreement based on the '67 borders. And good news for Israel, Hamas agrees.
Is that the way out? Says the Joker to the Thief.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
The video is worth a watch - Awlaki actually speaks Arabic, as opposed to all of his YouTube and cassette lectures where he speaks English.
The interview flows pretty well, although some of Awlaki's answers seem a little rehearsed. Al-Malahem probably thought they got out a pretty good product. But what a shocker it must have been when they learned that Awlaki was actually using their production staff to bring his knowledge of American non-verbal communication to the Arab world.
Addition: Credit to my (anonymous) friend for spotting this gem in the video. She knows who she is.
Monday, May 31, 2010
I like Jeffery Goldberg. Even when I don't agree with him, I like Jeffery Goldberg. It's how he writes things... like he has a way that contributes to the conversation.
This is what he wrote this morning from Jerusalem vis-a-vis the 6-ship floaty thing, The Flotilla:
... What I know already makes me worried for the future of Israel, a worry I feel in a deeper way than I think I have ever felt before. The Jewish people have survived this long in part because of the vision of their leaders, men and women who were able to intuit what was possible and what was impossible. Where is this vision today? Israel may face, in the coming year, a threat to its existence the likes of which it has not experienced before: A theologically-motivated regional superpower with a nuclear arsenal. It faces another existential threat as well, from forces arguing that Israel's morally disastrous settlement policy fatally undermines the very idea of a Jewish state. Is Israel ready to deploy seichel in these battles, rather than mere force?
Goldberg has a great definition of the Yiddish word seichel. Basically it means a kind of elegant wisdom or solution.
Perhaps what I like most about Israel and the Jewish people is that while storming the Flotilla, besieging Gaza, etc... while that exists, so does Goldberg (who is a Jew) and this kind of self-criticism. Not every society has that ability. And to editorialize, I think it's this kind of ability that will get Israel out of this mess, if it possibly can. But first some soul-searching will need to be done on the part of Israel: "What kind of nation do they want to be?"
As for the commando storming of the Flotilla, well, it looks like a bummer--a savage sort of PR victory for the people of Gaza? Doesn't really look like that, either.
Maybe there are no winners here...
Update: BBC releases IDF footage.
Update II: AJ releases boat footage.