Mike Ghouse Feb 15, 2007
Jimmy Carter is condemned unanimously by all the Jewishorganizations, when he used the word Aparthied to describe Israel'spolicies. I have not seen any dissenting voice from the Jewishcommunity yet, those who do, they get hounded immediatly. After all it isa discussion. I must congratulate the Jewish group in UK to dispelthis myth of monolithic ascribe to the Jewish community.
The Jewish community ought to learn from India, our PM related thetreatement of our downtrodden to apartheid. I have not heard suchcondemnations as we have heard about Jimmy Carter. Even the Fox andCNN idiots did not have the guts to question them.
Islam's monolithic appearance got shook up after 9/11. Dissentingvoices were brutally suppresed, as it is practiced in the Jewishcommunity. Fatwa carried the weight and frightened the dissenters.They threatened Rushdie and Nasreen and harassed Nomani, Wadud, Manjiand a few others. Today, the fascits have lost the steam and themoderate normal common Muslims are gaining the ground.
No Muslim is afraid of questioning anything about Qur'aan, theprophet (pbuh), the hadith and the Sharia. At least it is happeningin all the democracies, it is yet to happen in Iran, Afghanistan andSaudi Arabia, the bastions of literalism and centers of intolerance.It is not the people, it is sadly their governments, given thefreedom, most people are moderates.
Gujarati Hindus are not a monolothic group either, but the loud onesare intolerant to hear one single criticism of Modi. You will beharassed endlessly, you will be even called un-patriotic. In ademocracy like India, you cannot show certain movies, such is thepower of fascism there, or rather fear of fascim is prevalent. Themajority of Gujarati's are caring people like every other group andare moderates. However, they are scared to criticize.
We may want to label this decade - but I think we can comfortably saythat it is "the decade of quick rise and fall of fascism" in manynations but at least in India, Israel, United States, Iraq, Iran,Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan.
India was getting there, but thanks to the Indians, they did not putup with the fascist government and they got rid of them. With theunprecedented growth we are experiencing, we don't need people whosefocus is dividing India up and stirring trouble where there was none.I trust my people, they will keep the lid on the fascists.
Israel was getting to be a virtual fascist nation, it is also losingthe ground now. Nov 7th has brought our Unilateral king to groundrealities in the United States and he will be out soon. Saddam is gone, Talibans are going to be gone, Ahmedinejad will be voted out by 2008 that leaves Saudi Arabia - where even today the governmenteither tolerates fatwas or encourages them from the back. Don't knowwhen they will fall, but they will.
Fascim is a dangerous virus, we need to prepare the society to beimmune to it. Any time, any one frightens us with the threat of a manufactured enemy, we need to guard ourselves, a fascits leader will be taking birth.
Yes, Muslims should do their part, the engine was jump started on 9/11and we have a long way to go, but go, we will. The ride will not be a smooth one, at least until it reaches the freeway, that is about 10 years away.
I thank the authors of the following two pieces " British Jews take on Israeli Lobby" and " No Muslim Peril". I urge you to read them.
British Jews take on Israeli lobby
Their campaign is meant to challenge the claim of the Israeli state and its proxy institutions abroad to represent the opinion of all Jews, especially on the Palestinian issue.
SOME OF the leading British Jewish intellectuals such as Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter, Marxist thinker Eric Hobsbawm, and film-maker Mike Leigh have come together on a common platform with a cross-section of others from the community to start a debate on free speech. This, they hope, will encourage independent voices in other communities also to stand up against attempts to gag them in the name of religious, ethnic, and national "solidarity."
In what has been billed as a "unilateral declaration of independence" from the Jewish Establishment, their campaign is meant to challenge the claim of the Israeli state and its proxy institutions abroad to represent the opinion of all Jews, especially on the Palestinian issue. More significantly, it questions the idea that any criticism of Israel is, ipso facto, an attack on the Jewish people and therefore amounts to anti-semitism.
It is this aspect of the campaign, launched by the newly created Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) last week, that has wider resonance. No doubt, Jewish sensitivities around race identity and nationhood are particularly acute because of the history of their persecution but it is not something unique to Jews. We have all met Muslims who see any criticism of their community as an attack on Islam itself; Hindus who regard critics of Hindutva as anti-Hindu; and Sikhs who are quick to dub the slightest criticism of Sikh practices an insult to their faith.
Novelist and writer Lisa Appignanesi, joining the IJV debate on The Guardian's Comment is Free website, makes an interesting point saying that many of the coordinated attempts to silence public expression have come from faith or immigrant groups and have been directed against their own people. "It was young Muslims who, back in 1989, burned Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses. It was Sikh rioters and a critical community who managed to close Gurpreet Bhatti's play Behzti, because the rape she depicted of a girl by an elder was considered shaming. The filming of Monica Ali's Brick Lane had to move to a secret location after protests from a small group of local Bangladeshis. Groups — who may in some way feel vulnerable — confound dissent with disloyalty," she says.
Given the long and robust tradition of argument and debate among Jews, she feels sad that they too should have been "infected" by the same "spirit of intolerance, the same attempt at silencing dissenting views" as the more vulnerable immigrant groups.
What the IJV has set out to challenge is the attempt to force people into medieval-style tribal loyalties by calling them disloyal and unpatriotic if they don't sing from the same sheet. For example, if an Indian is not seen cheering the current hype over India's "great" future his nationalistic credentials become immediately suspect; a Pakistani must share the Establishment view on Kashmir or be open to the charge of sleeping with the enemy; and in George W. Bush's America the stark choice is: either you are with "us" or with the enemies of America.
Indeed, the provocation that led to the formation of IJV happened on American soil when an influential Jewish lobby, which wants all Jews to be unquestioningly loyal to the Israeli state and its policies, picked a fight with those who insist that they have a democratic right to make legitimate criticism of the Israeli Government's policies without inviting the charge of "disloyalty." The trouble started a few weeks ago when the American Jewish Committee (AJC), one of America's oldest and most powerful Jewish advocacy groups, published an article calling upon the community to "confront" Jews who, according to it, were engaged in attacking Zionism and the Jewish state. It also attacked playwright Tony Kushner and the U.S.-based British historian Tony Judt — both prominent liberal Jews — denouncing their criticism of Israel as "anti-semitic." Professor Judt hit back with an interview in The New York Times accusing AJC of trying to stifle dissenting views about Israel. "The link between anti-Zionism and anti-semitism is newly created," he said calling it a "political defence of Israeli policy."
Last October, a lecture Professor Judt was to give at the Polish consulate in New York was suddenly cancelled under pressure from AJC and other Jewish lobby groups protesting against an article in which he called for the creation of a secular bi-national state of Jews and Palestinians. The Polish consul general at the time acknowledged receiving telephone calls from hardline Jewish lobby groups. "The phone calls were very elegant but may be interpreted as exercising a delicate pressure," said Krzysztof Kasprzyk.
In Britain, the Institute of Jewish Policy Research, an independent think-tank, was embroiled in a controversy when a number of its high-profile members resigned protesting the remarks of its director Tony Lerman reportedly questioning the viability of Israel and arguing for a Jewish-Arab state. The comment, made long before he joined the institute, was seen as anti-semitic and tantamount to proposing the "suicide of the state of Israel."
It was against this background that IJV was launched. In its manifesto published, the group says that its aim is to promote alternative Jewish voices particularly in respect of the "grave situation in the Middle East which threatens the future of both Israelis and Palestinians as well as the stability of the whole region."
The group, comprising Jews from diverse backgrounds and political affiliations, is united by its members' "strong commitment to social justice and universal human rights." It is also defined by what a prominent member of the group called its "abhorrence" of a "culture of vilification" in which anyone who does not support the official Israeli policies is denounced as a "traitor" or a "self-hating Jew."
The IJV sees itself as a response to a climate in which many Jews feel frightened to speak openly about Israel's approach to the Palestinian issue for fear of being vilified by Jewish organisations such as the Board of Deputies of British Jews, whose aim ostensibly is to promote the interests of British Jews but which, its critics say, has effectively become a mouthpiece for the Israeli government.
"People are anxious about contravening an unwritten law on what you can and cannot discuss, may or may not assert. It is a climate that raises fundamental questions: about freedom of expression, Jewish identity, representation, and the part that concerned Jews in Britain can play in assisting Israelis and Palestinians to find their way to a better future," wrote Brian Klug, a Jewish Oxford academic and an IJV activist, in The Guardian.
Apart from seeking to uphold the right of individual Jews to speak openly about Israeli actions, IJV campaigners want to highlight that Jews are not a monolithic entity with a collective worldview. Equally importantly, they want to expose the "fallacy" of Israeli claims that the worldwide Jewish community supports all its policies whether in relation to the Palestinian territories or elsewhere. Many Jews in Britain and elsewhere — indeed including Israel — were angry when during the Israel-Lebanon crisis last summer, Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said: "I believe that this is a war that is fought by all the Jews."
They questioned Mr. Olmert's claim saying it was misleading and part of Israeli claim to represent Jews all over the world. "This is a fallacy; and moreover a dangerous one, since it tars all Jews with the same brush. Yet this misconception is reinforced here (in Britain) by those who, claiming to speak for British Jews collectively or allowing that impression to go unchallenged, only ever reflect one position on the Middle East," said Professor Klug.
The view is echoed in the IJV manifesto, which says that the group believes that the broad spectrum of opinion among British Jews is not reflected by those institutions that claim authority to represent the Jewish community as a whole. "We further believe that individuals and groups within all communities should feel free to express their views on any issue of public concern without incurring accusations of disloyalty," it says.
A five-point charter, which will guide the group, stresses that human rights are universal and indivisible, and the rights of Palestinians living in occupied territories are as important as those of Israelis. This principle, it points out is "contradicted" when those who claim to speak on behalf of Jews in Britain and elsewhere consistently put support for the policies of an occupying power above the human rights of an occupied people. The IJV declares support for the Palestinian struggle and opposes any attempt by Israel to impose its own solutions on the Palestinians.
However, the significance of such an initiative lies not so much in the position it takes on individual issues but in its attempt to reclaim the great Jewish intellectual tradition from Israeli propagandists and lobbyists. Britain's Jews have set an example. Will Muslims care to follow?
No Muslim Peril
by Charley Reese by Charley Reese
Let's suppose that I interviewed David Duke, the Louisiana politician who rails against what he calls Jewish supremacy, and also interviewed the lunatic preacher who disrupted the funerals of American servicemen with his message of killing all the gays.
And let's suppose I presented these men's views as typical of American Christian thought.
You'd say, and rightly so, that these men are not representative of mainstream Christianity, much less mainstream America. Well, the same thing applies to Islam. There are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world. Broadcasting or reporting the words of a few extremists does not reflect mainstream Muslim thought.
Yellow journalism is never all right, but as long as it's confined to celebrities and other nonimportant matters, it is at least not too harmful. But yellow journalism applied to national security and to foreign affairs should be considered unacceptable.
A number of irresponsible journalists and broadcasters, egged on by the crazy neocons, are trying to duplicate the mass fear of foreigners that characterized earlier times in America when demagogues spoke of the "yellow peril." Now demagogues speak of the "jihadi peril." And, as was inevitable, the demagoguery slips away from Muslim extremists and talks about Muslims and Islam as if there were no difference.
Yes, there are some Muslim extremists, just as there are some Christian extremists, Hindu extremists, Jewish extremists and so forth. Extremism is a personality disorder not confined to any one religion or political system. Anyone can become infected with it.
Islam has been around for more than 1,300 years. The overwhelming majority of Muslims are peaceful people, just like you and I, and they are not plotting to storm the citadels of the West. Muslim countries are full of universities, professors, poets, novelists, scientists and engineers. It was the Muslims who preserved the wisdom of the classical world and passed it on to the Europeans, thus making the Renaissance possible.
And there have been American Muslims since at least the late 1800s. Most of them so assimilated into American society that no one noticed them. They are as patriotic as any other American.
Most of the conflict in the Middle East – at least until we stirred the caldron in Iraq – is about secular matters, not religion. Hamas and Islamic Jihad oppose Israeli occupation of Palestine. Hezbollah opposes Israeli occupation of Lebanon. Even Osama bin Laden, if you bother to read what he says, opposes us on secular matters – support for Israel, the invasion of two Muslim countries and our massive military presence in the Persian Gulf.
The neocons would like to convince you that it is a war over religious matters so they won't have to address the real causes, which are our own bad policies in that part of the world.
You should know that the wealthy powers in this world wouldn't waste a dime on a religious conflict. It's control of the world's oil that interests them, and also the arms business. War to them is a profitable enterprise, especially since they and their children don't have to fight the wars.
These elite almost panicked when communism collapsed. How could they maintain power and make money without an enemy at the gate? Then bin Laden gave them exactly what they wanted with the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Now they have an enemy so ill-defined, their "war on terror" can go on forever, provided they can keep the American public ignorant and ill-informed.
February 10, 2007
Charley Reese [ send him mail ] has been a journalist for 49 years.
© 2007 by King Features Syndicate, Inc