web analytics
August 2, 2014 / 6 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 

Posts Tagged ‘Arab Israeli’

Tel Aviv U. Cancels Talk by Former Arab Prisoner for Land Day

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Tel Aviv University has cancelled the appearance at a campus event of a former Arab prisoner jailed by Israel for his activities on behalf of the terrorist Hezbollah organization.

Mohammed Kana’ane, an Arab-Israeli who spent four-and-a-half years in prison, was invited to speak Monday by the left-wing Hadash and Balad student groups at a conference for Land Day, which marks the deaths of six Galilee Arabs in 1976 during riots over a government decision to expropriate land for what it called security purposes.

Land Day took place on March 30.

“In light of concern for public order in the Land Day events scheduled to be held tomorrow, and since the request to approve Kana’neh’s participation was only received recently, leaving no time for preparations, the University does not approve his participation in the event,” the university said in a statement released late Sunday. The statement said that other Land Day events would go forward as planned.

A Sunday protest on campus by Jewish student groups called for the speech to be canceled.

The university last week had issued a statement saying it would allow the event to go forward in an effort to respect students’ right to freedom of speech, which it apparently thought includes screaming “Fire!” in a crowded theater.

JTA contributed most of the material for this report.

A-Jad to Post – Palestinians Should Vote Away “Zionist Regime”

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the Washington Post on Sunday that Palestinians should be able to vote the “Zionist regime” out of existence as a way of solving the Arab-Israeli conflict.

“I think they should allow the people of Palestine in all the territories of Palestine to decide, and whatever they decide, that is what should be done,” Ahmadinejad told interviewer David Ignatius.  “This doesn’t need nuclear weapons, missiles rockets or destroying people’s homes.”

Ahmadinejad replied to a request from Ignatius to clarify whether he believed in the eradication of the state of Israel, by saying “I asked you if the occupation in the Palestinian territories comes to an end what would there remain? Is there a Zionist regime in existence without occupation?”

He also said he does “not take very seriously” a threat of a strike on Iranian nuclear facilities by Israel.  “Of course they would love to find a way for their own salvation by making a lot of noise and to raise stakes in order to save themselves,” he said.

Pro-Israel Hacker Discloses Information of 100,000 Arab Facebook Users

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

A pro-Israel computer hacker has released the information of 100,000 Arab Facebook users, in the latest skirmish in the Arab-Israeli cyber war.

The hacker, who goes by the name Hannibal, vowed to continue his defense of Israel: “If they appear again, I again come to save Israel. Trust me. I’ll always be around.”

Hannibal has been responsible for the release of several batches of personal information hacked from email and Facebook accounts.

The View From 1999

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

A reader responding to last week’s column concerning Commentary magazine’s symposium on President Obama, Israel, and American Jews, cautioned that such endeavors be taken with more than the proverbial grain of salt, since even the brightest of minds can fail to see what lies ahead, particularly when the subject is as volatile and unpredictable as U.S. Mideast policy or the Arab-Israeli conflict in general.

He cited as evidence the Winter 5759/1999 issue of Azure, the quarterly journal published by the Jerusalem-based Shalem Center, a non-partisan (leaning right) think tank,which featured a much-remarked-on symposium titled “The Jewish State: The Next Fifty Years.”

The questions posed by the editors concerned such basic issues as the moral and philosophical legitimacy of Israel; the nature of the state in terms of its institutions and its mission; and the contributions a Jewish state can make to the Jewish people as a whole and the world in general.

Conspicuously missing from the dozens of responses, he said, is even an inkling that Yasir Arafat would launch a second intifada in the fall of 2000, or that Israelis, completely disillusioned with the Oslo peace process, would elect Ariel Sharon prime minister, or that Israel would become a virtual pariah state in the eyes of a good part of the world.

Point well taken, but hindsight is always easy. And while the thoughts and observations expressed by the respondents reflect the world as it was more than a decade ago, many of them hold up quite well eleven years later.

In addition to those quoted below, the symposium’s roster of 56 intellectuals and public figures from Israel and around the world included such notables, some of them since deceased, as Jack Kemp, Malcolm Hoenlein, Natan Sharansky, Yosef Mendelevich, Martin Peretz, Charles Krauthammer, Emil Fackenheim, Zerah Warhaftig and Rabbi Noah Weinberg.

Tom Bethell, a (non-Jewish) Washington-based writer for conservative publications, asserted that “It is impossible to believe that the rebirth of Israel after so long a hiatus, and the revival of Hebrew when it was on the verge of extinction, were not miraculous events, showing the hand of God in history more plainly than perhaps any other historical event.”

Equally eloquent was Bethell’s description of the conundrum of Israeli democracy: “Without a majoritarian check on their power, the nation’s secular elites would have given most of the country to the Arabs by now . At the same time, democracy has also taken its toll. Arab Knesset members supported the Oslo ‘peace’ agreement; without their support, Rabin and Peres would have lacked their majority. If the question ‘Who is a Jew?’ is ever put in the lap of the Knesset, it is possible that it will be decided by Arabs – another absurdity.”

Author and translator Hillel Halkin, who can sound like the epitome of hard-headed pragmatism when writing for publications like Commentary,comes off here as a self-loather extraordinaire, bemoaning “the shameful way in which Israel has discriminated de facto against its Arab citizens since 1948″ and voicing his conviction “that practical solutions could be found for most aspects of [Jewish-Arab tensions] if Jewish prejudice and indifference did not stand in their way.”

Prompted by a statement from the editors in the symposium’s introduction, Halkin pointed to “Hatikvah” as a particularly egregious example of Israeli insensitivity, characterizing as “absurd” the fact that a country could “have a national anthem that a fifth of its citizens cannot sing” and suggesting that “the whole problem be easily solved by changing a single word … and singing nefesh yisra’eli (‘the Israeli soul’) instead of nefesh yehudi (‘the Jewish soul’)….”

To which the novelist Cynthia Ozick gave a stinging rejoinder, writing that to cast aspersions on the anthem “because it speaks of the ‘Jewish soul’ is to mock and betray those dozens of generations who survived the savagery of massacres or resisted the easy escapes of conversion or self-propelled vanishing. It is, besides, a suppression of history; and, when all is said and done, a kind of auto-lobotomy.”

Unfortunately for what it said about the state of elite opinion in Israel, the symposium’s most telling entry came from the late former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Jeane Kirkpatrick, who related this glimpse into the mindset of a large and influential segment of the Israeli intelligentsia, a segment that yearns for a country stripped of its ethno-religious roots:

“On one of my more recent trips to Israel, I dined with a group of individuals primarily on the political Left, including some members of the Israeli foreign policy establishment … these people spoke of the end of Israel as an explicitly Jewish state.”

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

Tony Judt And The Velvet Genocide

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

In the New York Review of Books back in 2003, Tony Judt published his view that the Jewish state should be deleted. This was the predicate of his proposal to reanimate the corpse of the one-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Steeped in academic authority and writing during the overlap of the second Intifada with Bush’s invasion of Iraq, Judt argued that Israel was a harmful anachronism. He was not the first to express an abolitionist anti-Zionism, but his prestige and timing led him to become the celebrity spokesman for the internationalist case against Israel.

Seven years later, the Arab-Israeli conflict is stalled, though the specter of a nuclear Iran has imbued the political moment in Israel with angry uncertainty. The Netanyahu government has assumed a coiled posture of defense and accommodation with a PLO emasculated by Hamas. In turn, leaders of Arafat’s rump oligarchy have been speculating publicly about pursuing a one-state strategy.

Ideas are living things that generate results. To reverse what he considered the moral decay of man during the Enlightenment, Rousseau recommended in his Discourse on the Arts and Sciences that primitivism and an inchoate Luddism replace intellectual and technical progress. This too was unoriginal, but it made Rousseau’s fame. After being refined by two hundred years of illiberal thought, Rousseau’s atavism was bolted like a gun turret to a totalitarian reading of his concept of democracy, and we entered upon the abattoir of Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge.

The logic of Judt’s “Israel: The Alternative” looms as the leftish auxiliary to the Islamist enterprise to destroy Israel. As with the Khmer Rouge and Rousseau’s primitivism, the one-state proposal has a precursor: Judt creepily recapitulates a facet of Marx and Engels’s thought, which Engels articulated in an 1849 essay called “The Magyar Struggle” (this was the quasi-Darwinian idea that certain European ethnic groups had been orphaned by the historical-evolutionary process and would have to be exterminated to permit the onset of socialism):

There is no country in Europe which does not have in some corner or other one or several ruined fragments of peoples, the remnant of a former population that was suppressed and held in bondage by the nation which later became the main vehicle of historical development. These relics of a nation mercilessly trampled under foot in the course of history, as Hegel says, these residual fragments of peoples always become fanatical standard-bearers of counter-revolution and remain so until their complete extirpation or loss of their national character, just as their whole existence in general is itself a protest against a great historical revolution.

This view was part of a larger meditation on the short-term political failure of the revolutionary violence that had begun the previous year in France and resonated throughout Europe. Arrayed in opposition to the “historical” and “revolutionary” Germans, Poles and Magyars were “petty hidebound nations” of Slavs, such as Czechs, Slovaks, Croats and Serbs. These, in an absurd attempt to restore their national historicity, “put themselves at the disposal of Austrian reaction,” i.e. the Habsburg Austrian Empire. Engels blamed these Slavs seeking self-determination for the eclipse of internationalism by nationalism and ensuring the failure of the Revolutions of 1848.

Judt begins by referencing these same national movements. Then he recasts this analysis as an internationalist lament about Israel’s twilight attachment to its Jewish character:

The problem with Israel, in short, is not – as is sometimes suggested – that it is a European “enclave” in the Arab world; but rather that it arrived too late. It has imported a characteristically late-nineteenth-century separatist project into a world that has moved on, a world of individual rights, open frontiers, and international law. The very idea of a “Jewish state” – a state in which Jews and the Jewish religion have exclusive privileges from which non-Jewish citizens are forever excluded – is rooted in another time and place. Israel, in short, is an anachronism.

If you consider Israel’s geography, this is a breathtaking passage. The Jewish state is situated in a region where the timbre of nationalism isn’t exactly Scandinavian. Nonetheless Judt argues there is now a status quo of ‘post-racial’ states, if you will, whose peace is imperiled by the “hidebound [nation]” of – curiously, only – Israel. He cites Israel’s nuclear weapons as the primary impediment to nonproliferation; he says Israel was a major reason for the U.S. invasion of Iraq, with Syria on deck.

Time To Put ‘Peace Talks’ On Back Burner

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Conspicuous for its absence in President Obama’s State of the Union address was any mention of what is variously called the Arab-Israeli conflict or the Middle East peace process. Israeli analyst Yoram Ettinger suggests this “reflects a U.S. order of priorities and, possibly, a concern that mediation in the Arab-Israeli conflict does not advance – but undermines – Obama’s domestic standing.”

Conceivably, a similar premise underlies Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recent demonstrative acts in favor of settlement in the West Bank. Just after a meeting in Jerusalem with U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell, Netanyahu marked the tree-planting holiday of Tu B’Shevat by planting trees in public ceremonies in the Jerusalem-area West Bank settlements of Kfar Etzion and Maale Adumim.

He capped it off with a tree-planting ceremony in Ariel, a settlement somewhat deeper in the West Bank in Samaria. Netanyahu suggested the settlement was a crucial part of Israel:

“Everyone who understands the geography of Israel knows how important Ariel is. It is the heart of our country. We are here where are forefathers were, and we will stay here.”

A couple of days later, Benny Begin, son of the former prime minister and a member of Netanyahu’s inner security cabinet, took part in a cornerstone-laying ceremony in yet another West Bank settlement, Beit Hagai, and said:

“The state of Israel and the people of Israel have interests in Judea and Samaria and in Jerusalem, which are not only security-related, but based on an ancient affiliation.”

Also conspicuous for its absence, so far – considering that in November Obama harshly criticized Israel for planning to build within a neighborhood of Jerusalem – is any public U.S. rebuke of Netanyahu or Begin for these gestures.

Ettinger suggests Obama’s “involvement with the Arab-Israeli conflict has diverted his attention from issues which are much more important eroded [his] support among the American people, [and] complicated his relations with friends of Israel on Capitol Hill, whose support is critical to Obama’s legislative agenda.”

Although it may be too early to assume a waning of Obama’s pressures on Israel, his words in his recent Time interview also strengthen that impression.

“This is as intractable a problem as you get,” Obama said. “Both sides – the Israelis and the Palestinians – have found that the political environment [was] such that it was very hard for them to start engaging in a meaningful conversation.”

If so, a lull in the grimly relentless diplomatic activity on the Israeli-Palestinian front would be a chance to rethink some assumptions that have become all too axiomatic.

One is that the Palestinian side should always be coddled, with infinite patience, and should never have to pay a price for its failures. With Netanyahu having declared in November an unprecedented ten-month freeze in new construction in the West Bank, and Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas continuing to refuse to hold talks with him, it can be hoped that Netanyahu’s and Begin’s affirmations signal a new Israeli assertiveness.

It is only for the Palestinians that land, and offers, are kept indefinitely on hold even as they preach hatred and practice rejectionism. Energetically resuming settlement activity at the end of the ten months would, for once, be a fitting response.

It could also be asked whether the pursuit of a Palestinian state as a supposed panacea has ever made much sense in normative terms. Human Rights Watch has published its World Report 2010 and gives a rundown of the human rights situation in Middle Eastern Arab countries that is anything but encouraging. Regarding women’s rights, the report points out that:

“Perpetrators of so-called honor killings in Jordan (where there were at least 20 such killings), and in Syria (at least 12), benefit from legal provisions that mitigate their punishments . Domestic abuse went largely unpunished in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. In Lebanon and Jordan, where domestic abuse can be tried as assault, protection mechanisms for women are largely inadequate and ineffective.”

As for prison conditions, “Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen failed to tackle frequent incidents of torture. Jordan’s prison reform program has not strengthened accountability mechanisms for torture .”

Minority rights – “Saudi Arabia discriminated against its Shia population . Kurds, Syria’s largest non-Arab ethnic minority, were subject to systematic discrimination .” and so on.

Title: Dancing Arabs

Wednesday, August 11th, 2004

Title: Dancing Arabs
Author: Sayed Kashua
Publisher: First published in Hebrew by Modan Pub. House, Tel Aviv; U.S. edition in English by Grove Press, New York, N.Y.

 

Without expressing anti-Semitism or even anti-Zionism, this literary jewel of a debut novel
from an Arab-Israeli expresses what it means to be a hyphenated citizen in Israel today.

Kashua’s protagonist is a brilliant young Palestinian whose grandfather died in 1948 fighting the Zionists and whose father was jailed for blowing up a school cafeteria. But he becomes
the first Arab in his village to win a scholarship to study at an Israeli school with Jews. There he discovers that he looks even more Israeli than the Jews, and a frequent compliment is, “You don’t look like an Arab at all.”

When he was just in fourth grade his Hebrew teacher brought in an ajnabi to the classroom – a
blonde, tall Westerner – who introduced the children into the “Seeds of Peace” program, which brings Arab children into the schools and homes of Jewish Israelis, and vice-versa, to inculcate relationships – and sometimes friendships – among children of the two communities.

During the 9th grade our hero wins a contest by answering a puzzle, and his accomplishments
eventually leads to the opportunity to attend a boarding school for intellectually gifted children
run by an Israeli university. There he is viewed as more Israeli than the Jewish Israelis.

The story takes many twists and turns, with some surprises, and makes an interesting,
delightful summertime read.

The original in Hebrew, from Modan Press, preceded this paperback edition in English, which
was a best seller in Israel two years ago. Now the author has become celebrated on four continents, and besides English the book has also been translated into Italian, German, French and Dutch. Kashua writes as a journalist for the Kol Ha’ir and Ha’ir weekly newspapers in Israel about his life as a Palestinian-Israeli family man residing in Jerusalem.

Along with the reviewer’s copy of Dancing Arabs came an autobiographical sketch of Sayed
Kashua that showed the story told in the book to be loosely based upon the real-life story of the author. Even ardent Zionists cannot help but sympathize with the problems of being an
Arab-Israeli in today’s Israel. Yet Kashua, who is a loyal citizen and earns his living as a journalist working for Hebrew newspapers, doesn’t allow his resentfulness (including scrutinous airport body searches when returning from trips abroad that most Israelis don’t have to suffer) to overwhelm him. One doesn’t find hate or venom in his writing.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/title-dancing-arabs/2004/08/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: