The discussion above overlooks important issues essential to this dust-up at BJ. The international community (and it's "citizens") have never embraced the principle of self-determination for all peoples and have no intention of doing so (witness the condition of Tibetans, Kurds, Basques, Ibo, Chechens, and numerous other minority populations world-wide). What is more, many of the populations so slighted have had independence in the past and are characterized by far more distinctive racial, religious, linguistic and cultural characteristics than the Arabs of former Palestine. Yet, no similarly effusive pronouncements are made on their behalf. The Palestinian national movement has a long history of egregious abuses, ranging from Nazi collaboration at the highest levels during WWII to ongoing campaigns of terrorism directed at Israel and moderates within their own community. U.N. resolutions are long established which require abandonment of these tendencies and practices and a commitment to peace and recognition of the State of Israel before national recognition is conferred. Blithely ignoring this obligation is no cause for celebration on the part of people of conscience be they "citizens of the world" or otherwise. __ __
On a slightly different note, wouldn't this be a marvelous opportunity for the first African-American President of the U.S., and professed "friend" of Israel, to aid Israel while demonstrating his solidarity with the oppressed peoples of Africa by putting out the American welcome mat for these refugees? Fifteen thousand illegal immigrants is a substantial burden for Israel, but merely a drop in the bucket for the U.S., and it would be a wonderful display of solidarity for President Obama to thank the Israelis for their generosity in providing immediate refuge and assistance to these beleaguered people while acknowledging the limitations of space and resources at Israel's disposal and the threat to Israeli sovereignty of an unending stream of illegal aliens violating her borders. I wonder how many of the critics above would sign on to such a program? Of course it's not as much fun as being "holier than thou" at Israel's expense...
Bernard Lewis is one of the world's great scholars of the Islamic world. One gleans from deep in the article that the event honoring him was actually a fundraiser for the Tel Aviv University rather than an assembly for the promotion of neoconservatism or any other ideology. Yet the tone and focus of the article seems intent upon cattily smearing Prof. Lewis by association with certain political figures the author dubbs "neocons" (and worse yet rich neocons, at that) even though Lewis himself is quoted as disagreeing with them. This kind of reportage is appropriate to a gossip column rather than a paper presuming to offer serious commentary on current affairs. Have you no shame?
There was a time when anti-establishment types revelled in snubbing their noses at anything they thought reactionary, especially established religion. Now it seems a little intimidation has suddenly made them ever so "sensitive" to the dictates of people who really deserve their satire. The only thing remotely "offensive" about this cartoon is that it seems to equate Orthodox Jews with extremist Muslims, an equation which is hardly appropriate given the degree of violence of the latter. What's next a new sensibility toward Christianity in the face of a revived Inquisition? Mel Brooks and Monty Python beware!!
The entire frenzy besetting the Arab world today has a very definite ethnic/religious basis. If you don't see that, you don't see much. Instead of considering the arguments of Prof. Haqqani on their merits and on the basis of his intimate knowledge of the region, you bash Murdoch, the neocons (of which I am not one), and the Wall Street Journal. A perfect example of an "ad hominem fallacy". And I thank you for your concern about my "development", but I will entrust it to a person of greater intellect and insight than you, Mr. Thomas.__
The term "pogrom", of Russian origin, means "a busting up". It, indeed, is associated with attacks upon Jews because they were the primary victims of this form of mass, often orchestrated, terror tactic employed by the Czarist state through the offices of a variety of extremist groups, such as the "Black Hundreds" (not unlike their Arab equivalents in Al Kaeda, Hamas, etc.). But the object of the "busting" is not central to the term. Consequently, your objection that the victims in Libya were "four non-Jewish Americans" is irrelevant to the issue. And your assertion that the focus of this "mindless hatred" had no religious or ethnic component is myopic.
I would remind the commentator that the English and French have not exactly enjoyed a condition of blissful co-existence in Canada through much of its history, and intense linguistic, cultural and political divisions persist there to this day. In addition the religious parties cited here (National Religious Party or Hapoel Hamizrach, Kahanists or Gush Emunim) are marginal political groupings to say the least who had little to do with the history of the Zionist movement. Is the commentator not familiar with the Poale Zion, Hashomer Hatzair, Mifleget Avodah, Achdut Ha'avodah, Mapam, Kibbutz Artzi, Kibbutz ha' Meuchad, etc. all secular parties and kibbutz federations of the left who dominated the Zionist movement throughout it's history and were largely responsible for creating the State of Israel? Even the Revisionists and their heirs were largely secular, so I think the authors point is well-taken.
Kudos to Jo-Ann Mort. This is one of the most clearly written, incisive and politically accurate pieces seen to date in these pages, revealing the hubris of a public academic who considers political posturing and her own sense of self-importance more important than rational argument based on historical facts. The prominence of figures like Butler is not only a source of great distortion regarding the Middle East debate but has some rather sobering implications for the state of the academy, as well. But I guess the problem of "learned" hyperbole is nothing new. Sad commentary though.
Obama didn't realize that his ostentatious attempts at appeasement would not be accepted gratefully by the Arabs as a sign of fraternity, but rather as a sign of weakness, and a sign of America as a faltering and unworthy adversary. Afterall, why should they trust an American leader who sells-out his most reliable ally in the Arab world, Mubarak, and humiliates his most democratic ally, Israel? Even gangsters have their principles!! In the Middle East, nothing can be expected to generate more contempt than that, especially in Islamist circles. Obama now has "egg on his face", big time. And so do all his apologists. And no one to blame but themselves.
I'm afraid President Obama predicated his foreign policy on the "simple idea" that playing sycophant to the Arab and Muslim world at Israel's expense would garner their appreciation and affection. How wrong he was. He failed to understand that the enmity of the Arab world toward the U.S. is primarily a crisis of modernity, not the Arab-Israeli dispute. In the final analysis, equality for women is a greater threat to their sense of well-being than the existence of the "Zionist entity". If Israel didn't exist the essential problem would remain.