April 22, 2009

Ahmadinejad Stinks Up Geneva

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered a blistering tirade against Israel on Monday at the supposedly “anti-racist” Durban II conference in Geneva, Switzerland, and dozens of national delegates from Europe walked out in disgust. The sheer number of people who refused to sit there and listen to him must be seen to be believed. His bad reception didn’t end there. Hundreds of protesters followed him as he delivered a press conference and shouted “Shame! Shame! Shame!” as they held up signs reminding all who could see them that Iran funds Hamas and Hezbollah.

U.S. President Barack Obama said Ahmadinejad’s remarks were appalling. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a man hardly known as a defender of Israel, said “I deplore the use of this platform by the Iranian president to accuse, divide and even incite.” Delegates from the Czech Republic didn’t only storm out. They refused to come back and listen to any other tyrant who came to Europe to lecture his betters.

Everyone who walked out on camera was right to do so. Most, if not all, were from Europe. It’s strange, then, that a European country is hosting this hate-fest in the first place. They had no reason to expect anything different. This second “Durban” conference held in Geneva is just a rerun of the first one held in Durban, South Africa, which also was little more than a bigoted group-scream against Israel and the United States. It was obvious years ago when the conference was planned what would be on the agenda. A representative from Libya, one of the most brutally oppressive countries on earth, was chairman of the preparatory committee. Its vice chairman included representatives from Cuba, Iran, Pakistan, and Russia. None of these countries can teach Western democracies about racism or human rights. The Obama administration was right to boycott this fiasco before it even began.

Surely European countries that sent delegates knew well in advance what they were getting themselves into. Perhaps they even planned to walk out in advance. Even so, allowing a belligerent bigot to deliver a speech at an anti-racist conference is offensive to decent human beings everywhere. Among other things, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust even happened – a crime in Germany. Would Europe send delegates to an “anti-racism” conference if the head of the Aryan Nations was giving a speech? And what if Slobodan Milosevic was still alive and ruler of Serbia? Would they agree to show up and listen to even the first two minutes of what he’d have to say?

Read the rest in Commentary Magazine.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at April 22, 2009 10:15 AM
Comments

The only good thing about this conference was watching everyone leave over and over on CNN.

And the guy in the clown outfit, he was great.

Posted by: dclydew Author Profile Page at April 22, 2009 1:56 PM

I find Ahmadinejad's antisemitic rants at least somewhat entertaining.

What I can't stand are his extremely boring religious sermons. Maybe the EU delegates could have staged a "sleep in" where they shut their eyes and pretended to snore as soon as he began with "In the name of Allah, the most merciful.."

Hearing him preach is about as entertaining as hammering a package of nails into my testicles.

Posted by: Edgar Author Profile Page at April 22, 2009 2:52 PM

At least Ahmenijad says what he believes. Many people around the world are also suspicious about the truth regarding the Holocaust . . . but most feel it is not politically correct to discuss it out loud.

The lesson that we need to take for this is that it is important to inform people around the world that there was a holocaust and what the holocaust consisted of.

If you go to China today, I think you would find that young people are less familiar with the holocaust than their grandparents. The same is true around much of the world.

I am not sure what to make of Ahmenijad. He is unpopular thanks to the deep recession and is unlikely to get reelected. Moreover, he seems to have little real power compared to Khamenei. I hope Obama succeeds in reaching out to Khamenei. Khamenei could be very helpful against the Taliban and AQ linked networks. An additional supply line into Afghanistan would be valuable.

Note that the China supply line would require many billions in infrastructure investment and years to open. The same is true to a lesser degree for some of the Northern supply routes. {Many rails and roads need to be constructed and expanded.}

Iran is important for many reasons. Israel/Palestine is just one of them, and not even the most important. {Global war on terror, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran's natural gas and oil export capacity, Iran's non energy economy, Iran's policy in the Persian gulf, freedom for the Iranian people all matter more than Israel/Palestine.}

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at April 22, 2009 4:10 PM

The walkout gesture is meaningless unless the UN starts taking actions that indicate a recognition of the reality that Israel is not the source of problems in the Middle East. The Europeans' concern for the memory of murdered Jews is completely fatuous if they fail to show concern for the living Jews.

Posted by: Matthew M Author Profile Page at April 22, 2009 5:27 PM

"it is important to inform people around the world that there was a holocaust"

No doubt "anand" is referring to the Palestinian "holocaust", since he immediately urges us to "reach out" to Khameini who is just as much of an annhihilationist antisemite as Imanutjob. Notice that he also has not one bad thing to say about Nutjob, either.

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at April 22, 2009 11:03 PM

Swiss a European Country ? Only a member of EFTA and from 1963 reluctantly a member of the Counsel of Europe. That's all. Since olim xenofobic and never forget their ban till 1866 for people of jewish origin.

Posted by: Turan Tankgirl Author Profile Page at April 23, 2009 1:11 AM

"Many people around the world are also suspicious about the truth regarding the Holocaust . . . but most feel it is not politically correct to discuss it out loud."

True, but that's because if they do speak out against the truth, they will look like (quite justifiably) offensive idiots. It's a ridiculous delusion to deny the holocaust, any sane, rational person can see that. The fact that A-jad was lecturing as a guest of the very countries that suffered the most at the hands of Hitler makes it even more mind-bogglingly offensive. The UN has a lot to answer for giving this idiot a soap box to garner publicity. We as taxpayers also fund this debacle I might add.

I don't think A-jad genuinely believes there wasn't a Holocaust, he can't be THAT retarded. I think he is just playing the thorn in Israel's side.

Posted by: Andrew Author Profile Page at April 23, 2009 10:33 AM

Andrew, I have met many Americans (educated sophisticated ones) who didn't know about the Holocaust. I have met many Asians (including pro Israeli ones) who didn't know about the Holocaust. Many Chinese, Koreans, Thais, and Indians know little about WWII in the European theater and haven't heard about the Holocaust. Might the same be partly true in Iran?

I would caution you that Ahmenijad might not think there was a holocaust. He might believe that only hundreds of thousands (or fewer) were killed rather than 6 million. When someone is constantly surrounded by people who believe idiotic things; sometimes those idiotic things start to sound plausible.

One point is likely, Ahmenijad is suspicious and paranoid of the global Jewry. The best way to cure people of that disease is to help them get to know "actual" Jewish people.

Ahmenijad doesn't strike me as particularly smart (outside the narrow parameters of Iranian politics.) His understanding of economic issues stink. So is his confusion on many global issues. Ahmenijad has come to be seen as a buffoon in Iraq. Look at how Iran's popularity has plummeted in the last Iraqi public opinion poll.

All this said, we Americans should try to reach out to the Iranian regime and see what might be possible. Doesn't Pakistan/Afghanstan/AQ matter much more to us than the Israel/Palestine conflict?

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at April 23, 2009 10:53 AM

Not everything Ahmenijad said was irrational.

The Israelis do confiscate private Palestinian territory in the occupied territories paying less than market prices (or no price at all) on a systematic basis. This is illegal under international law. The Israelis have also consistently blocked the training and equipping of Palestinian security forces. This makes Israel accountable for a lot of the violence in the occupied territories as well as Palestine's inability to stop terrorists from mass murdering civilians.

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at April 23, 2009 10:59 AM

anand: The Israelis have also consistently blocked the training and equipping of Palestinian security forces.

Bizarre.Why on earth would they put a stop to that valuable anti-terrorist training?"

Posted by: Edgar Author Profile Page at April 23, 2009 12:12 PM

Anand, I vote that we reach out and touch the Persians with a few (sorry, make that a LOT) of bombs.

Iran has had two generations to rejoin the civilized world; let the rubble bounce.

Unfortunately with the socialist BHO at our helm we will not help Israel.

Ron

Posted by: Ron Snyder Author Profile Page at April 23, 2009 1:25 PM

Hearing him preach is about as entertaining as hammering a package of nails into my testicles.

Edgar

LOL! You know you never disappoint. That $hit was funny... The only thing we should ask "Imadinnerplate" is:

"Are you crazy?"
Jack Burton Big Trouble in Little China

Posted by: PeteDawg Author Profile Page at April 23, 2009 11:05 PM

"Andrew, I have met many Americans (educated sophisticated ones) who didn't know about the Holocaust."

I call bullshit. Where did you meet these "sophisticated" people, where were they "educated"?

You make this shit up just to make excuses for Nutjob who has repeatedly stated his annihilationist intentions towards Israel and his contempt for Jews. What a slimy gutless antisemitic troll you are, "anand".

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at April 23, 2009 11:40 PM

Generals Eisenhower, Bradley and Patton viewed the Ohrdruf concentration camp outside the town of Gotha in south central Germany on April 12, 1945:

As he explained to General Marshall, "I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to ‘propaganda.’”

http://www.eisenhowermemorial.org/stories/death-camps.htm

May the living never forget.
Paul S.

Posted by: Paul S. Author Profile Page at April 24, 2009 12:21 AM

Gary, I agree with you: BS.

My father was one of the thousands of GI's who helped liberate a few concentration camps during his fun tour of Europe in WWII. I vividly remember seeing, amongst some other items that Dad brought back from his time in the ETO, pictures of the camps.

Never forgot them, or his comments (few that they were) about what he saw.

Educated? No. Lots of time in Academia? Perhaps.

So yeah, BS.

Posted by: Ron Snyder Author Profile Page at April 24, 2009 4:13 AM

"Andrew, I have met many Americans (educated sophisticated ones) who didn't know about the Holocaust."

I don't believe that for a second. If it is true, then I weep for the American education system quite frankly. In the UK the Holocaust is a vital part of the school curriculum.

Anyone that doesn't know about the Holocaust cannot be described as educated let alone sophisticated, in my view anyway.

Posted by: Andrew Author Profile Page at April 24, 2009 10:16 AM

This Road is for Jews Only
Yes, There is Apartheid in Israel
By SHULAMIT ALONI
http://www.counterpunch.org/aloni01082007.html
Israel’s First Lady of Human Rights,
Shulamit Aloni is the former Education Minister of Israel. She has been awarded both the Israel Prize and the Emil Grunzweig Human Rights Award by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.

"The US Jewish Establishment's onslaught on former President Jimmy Carter (or Ahmadinijad recently *my addition)is based on him daring to tell the truth which is known to all: through its army, the government of Israel practises a brutal form of Apartheid in the territory it occupies. Its army has turned every Palestinian village and town into a fenced-in, or blocked-in, detention camp." "By now they have requisitioned further lands for the purpose of constructing "Jewish only" roads. Wonderful roads, wide roads, well-paved roads, brightly lit at night--all that on stolen land."
On one occasion I witnessed such an encounter between a driver and a soldier who was taking down the details before confiscating the vehicle and sending its owner away. "Why?" I asked the soldier. "It's an order--this is a Jews-only road", he replied. I inquired as to where was the sign indicating this fact and instructing [other] drivers not to use it. His answer was nothing short of amazing. "It is his responsibility to know it, and besides, what do you want us to do, put up a sign here and let some antisemitic reporter or journalist take a photo so he that can show the world that Apartheid exists here?"

Posted by: Curt Author Profile Page at April 24, 2009 3:30 PM

I have questions regarding the road . . . can Israeli citizens of Palestinian descent use these settler roads in the occupied territories? Can non Israeli foreign tourists and businesses use these settler roads in the occupied territories? What is the specific process required to get a permit to drive a personal or commercial vehicle on these roads?

Could I as an American buy or rent a house in a settler gated community in the occupied territories? Can a Palestinian Israeli buy or rent a house in a settler gated community in the occupied territories?

Why are fine upstanding Palestinians such as Barghouti (who pose no security risk) denied the right to drive on roads in the occupied territories, or rent/buy houses in gated settler communities?

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at April 24, 2009 4:14 PM

Anand: I have questions regarding the road . . . can Israeli citizens of Palestinian descent use these settler roads in the occupied territories?

Yes. They aren't "settler roads." They are just roads. Everyone in Israel can drive on them. You don't have to show ID or have a permit.

Can non Israeli foreign tourists and businesses use these settler roads in the occupied territories?

If you're in Israel and are driving a car, you can drive on those roads. I have driven on them many times. They are no different from any other roads. You won't even know you're on one if you aren't paying attention to precisely where you are.

What is the specific process required to get a permit to drive a personal or commercial vehicle on these roads?

There is no process. All you have to do is get on the road and drive, like any other road in the country.

Could I as an American buy or rent a house in a settler gated community in the occupied territories?

I don't know. Probably.

Can a Palestinian Israeli buy or rent a house in a settler gated community in the occupied territories?

Again, I don't know. But probably, legally, on paper, but none would actually do it.

There are different kinds of "settlements." Some are the kind you are thinking of. Some are just suburban Jerusalem.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at April 24, 2009 4:58 PM

Thanks for the responses MJT. I am learning a few things. I thought I heard Barghouti claim that he cannot drive on some roads in the West Bank. Was he referring to some specific roads?

If Israelis and non Israeli foreigners can freely rent and buy property in settlements, why are Palestinians alone denied this right? Presumably from your answer, Palestinians who are the citizens of Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Iran, or some other country (such as India or China) can legally buy settlement land.

Why don't the friends of Palestine (or the people who pretend to be friends of Palestine at international conferences) buy up the settlements and give them to the Palestinians?

According to some documents I have read, as many as 40 of the 125 settlements have confiscated Palestinian private property purchased for below market prices or no price at all. Isn't it fair for Palestinians to expect the Israeli government to pay market prices on all the confiscated Palestinian private property? This would have the added affect of making all property rights in the Palestinian West Bank secure . . . encouraging private sector business activity.

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at April 24, 2009 5:20 PM

Anand: If Israelis and non Israeli foreigners can freely rent and buy property in settlements, why are Palestinians alone denied this right?

First of all, I don't know if you and I are allowed to do that. I'm guessing. The question hadn't occurred to me before. Hang on a bit and someone who knows more than I do might answer.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at April 24, 2009 5:37 PM

Michael, that is not true. The roads are closed to Palestinians. See the report by Btselem, the Israeli human rights association:

http://www.btselem.org/download/200408_Forbidden_Roads_Eng.pdf

Posted by: molly Author Profile Page at April 24, 2009 5:58 PM

And, no, they won't let you buy a house there. They want Jews. They are religious fanatics.

Posted by: molly Author Profile Page at April 24, 2009 5:59 PM

What exactly do you disagree with that Ahmadinejad said?

Posted by: molly Author Profile Page at April 24, 2009 6:11 PM

What exactly do you disagree with that Ahmadinejad said?

Posted by: molly Author Profile Page at April 24, 2009 6:11 PM

Molly: The roads are closed to Palestinians.

Yes. Anand asked about Israelis of Palestinian descent. Israeli Arabs in other words. Citizens of Israel.

What exactly do you disagree with that Ahmadinejad said?

Is that a serious question? I certainly hope not.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at April 24, 2009 6:57 PM

Totten:The question hadn't occurred to me before.

Anand, is this the kind of person you go to for answers? Someone so hideously oblivious that a fundamental and basic question like the one you asked( If Israelis and non Israeli foreigners can freely rent and buy property in settlements, why are Palestinians alone denied this right?)
has never occured to him, much less, been considered by him?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!

No wonder you are so clueless, your teachers are clueless. You are just not a serious student in the least. The truth hurts your little tummy. ;)

Posted by: Curt Author Profile Page at April 24, 2009 7:15 PM

Curt: Anand, is this the kind of person you go to for answers? Someone so hideously oblivious that a fundamental and basic question...

Sigh. I don't know if I'm allowed to buy property in Tel Aviv, Beirut, or Baghdad either. I don't particularly care one way or the other. I doubt very much that I can buy property in Gaza, and you know what? I wouldn't hold it against Hamas if that is the case. There are more important things in the world to bitch about than this.

Anyway, you're banned for being an asshole.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at April 24, 2009 7:37 PM

Anand,

Don't go asking for "help" at the Angry Arab blog again. Every time that hatemonger from South Lebanon links to me, I get trolls. I knew before I even checked that "Molly" and "Curt" came from that site. I was surprised, though, to find that you were the one who invited them. If you want backup here, get it from somebody civilized.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at April 24, 2009 7:40 PM

"I was surprised, though, to find that you were the one who invited them."

Michael, for someone so intelligent and well-traveled you are incredibly naive about "anand". It has long been overwhelmingly obvious to me that he is a fanatic dyed-in-the-wool Jew-baiter who cloaks his scummy hatred in sugary rhetoric. I saw through him long ago.

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at April 24, 2009 11:26 PM

Gary, I think you've got Anand wrong, and you're being way too harsh about it. I don't agree with him much about the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but it's clear to me where our disagreement lies. He looks at it from the point of view of someone supportive of the American effort in Iraq and wishes the Israelis were more like Americans. The problem with this is that Gaza isn't much like Iraq, and Palestinians aren't much like Iraqis.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at April 25, 2009 1:01 AM

Michael, I am curious as to why you called me a troll and uncivilized. Was there something wrong with my comments? And, yes, my question about Ahmadinejad was serious. You denounced his speech but never said what you feel was wrong with it. Also, Molly is my real name, so no need to put quotes around it. :)

Posted by: molly Author Profile Page at April 25, 2009 5:41 AM

Michael, I am curious as to why you called me a troll and uncivilized. Was there something wrong with my comments? And, yes, my question about Ahmadinejad was serious. You denounced his speech but never said what you feel was wrong with it. Also, Molly is my real name, so no need to put quotes around it. :)

Posted by: molly Author Profile Page at April 25, 2009 5:41 AM

Molly,

No, your comment wasn't uncivilized. Curt's was. I had him in mind. Yours just immediately preceded his, and I figured you two came from the same uncivilized place - the Angry Arab blog. And you did.

Your question was politely stated, it just strikes me as silly. What do I object to in Ahmadinejad's speech? Pretty much all of it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at April 25, 2009 11:37 AM

We are not from the Angry Arab blog, as he does not have a comment section any longer. I would be interested in what you disagreed with the most in his speech, however. if it is the characterization of Israel as a racist state, I find that accurate. It is a state with substantial non-Jewish minorities (who were there first) and yet labels itself a Jewish state. That would be like the US calling itself a white state. I know Jews are not a race, but it adds up to the same thing.

Posted by: molly Author Profile Page at April 25, 2009 3:57 PM

Ookay, Molly, you're from the "Angry Arab Comments Section" blog. There isn't a whole lot of difference as far as I am concerned.

Anyway, yes, Israel describes itself as a Jewish state even though non-Jewish minorities live there. Might I also point out that most Arab countries describe themselves as "Arab" even though non-Arab minorities live in them? I wouldn't describe those countries as "racist" for that reason and that reason alone. It depends on how the non-Arab and non-Jewish minorities are treated in each.

Of course racism exists in Israel. I don't think anyone would deny that. I've heard bloodcurdling racism from far-right Israelis in person myself. The fact remains, though, the non-Jewish Israelis have more rights than minorities in Arab countries. Lebanon is the only country that even comes close. Palestinians are treated much worse there, but Armenians and other Christians who don't self-identify as Arabs have the same rights as everyone else. The racism in, say, Syria and Iraq, doesn't excuse the racism that does exist in Israel, but it does make me worry about it less.

Anyway, imagine if Mahmoud Admadinejad complained about the racism of Arab countries and then threatened to annihilate those countries, along with the minorities who live there, because of said racism. Then you'll have an idea why I don't care too much for the Iranian president.

His denial of the Holocaust doesn't impress me much either.

I trust you are a liberal of some sort. Liberals hate racism, and that's terrific. Really. But I shouldn't have to remind you that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad isn't a liberal. I have some liberal Iranian friends who were brutally tortured -- and I mean really seriously tortured -- by his regime because they publicly stood up for human rights in Tehran.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at April 25, 2009 4:22 PM

"Liberals hate racism, and that's terrific."

Not "liberals" like Molly. They don't hate it at all when it is practiced against their preferred objects of demonization, like Jews. In fact there are plenty of liberals who decry "homophobia" on the right and then turn around and make sniggering references to the sexuality of their political opponents. Not racism, but you get the point about liberal hypocrisy.

Israel is not perfect - no government run by human beings is. But I will be glad to compare its record on human rights to any other state in the region, most of which are bloody abominable human rights hellholes.

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at April 25, 2009 5:20 PM

Gary, I am Jewish. I have never demonized Jews nor any race and the accusation is extremely offensive. I will respond to the rest later.

Posted by: molly Author Profile Page at April 25, 2009 6:17 PM

"Gary, I am Jewish."

So what? When is the last time you were in shul? Not that that should matter, except you are the one using your background as a crutch.

"the accusation is extremely offensive."

Cry me a river.

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at April 26, 2009 2:49 AM

"I have some liberal Iranian friends who were brutally tortured -- and I mean really seriously tortured -- by his regime because they publicly stood up for human rights in Tehran."

Don't confuse Molly with the facts.

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at April 26, 2009 2:52 AM

A few comments on the blog "Angry Arabs Comment Section"
It has four hosts:
1) Molly, an American Jew
2) Yasmin, an American Law School student, who is a Ron Paul libertarian and free market type
3) TGIA, a very talented painter, whose views and language are quite moderate on every issue except for the issue closest to his heart, Palestine
4) Saif, a Palestinian medical professional

Of these, only Saif might be considered emotional/angry. Yet even he rants angrily at Al Qaeda in Iraq . . . and has treated many Iraqi victims who were attacked by Takfiri. He hates Zarkawi and Saddam.

They have a different perspective on the question of Palestine/Israel than most who read this blog. I think all of us learn when people of good will with different perspectives explain what they believe and why to each other. Information is in the details . . . and I have learnt many details from observing discussions between pro Israelis and pro Palestinians.
Some observations:
1) Molly has never to my knowledge defended the Iranian Regime's (lead by its dictator Khamenei) human rights record when it came to Iranians
2) Molly doesn't use her background as a crutch. I have seen her argue with angry arabs that there was a holocaust; and that attacking Jews (versus Israeli extremists) is wrong. I don't think Molly read Ahmenijad's speach before she asked her question about it.
3) MJT's blog isn't a partisan blog about the fight between "liberals" and "conservatives." How is that relevant to discussing the middle east?
4) "But I will be glad to compare its record on human rights to any other state in the region, most of which are bloody abominable human rights hellholes." Human rights in Iraq are improving. Inshallah, it will be much better than how many Israelis mistreat Palestinians.

Thanks for this link Molly: http://www.btselem.org/download/200408_Forbidden_Roads_Eng.pdf

I would be curious to know what the process is by which someone can get a permit to drive on these roads. For example, how difficult is it for a commercial bus or taxi company to get a permit to drive on these restricted roads? Can ordinary Palestinians travel on these buses or taxis as easily as Israelis can (subject to some security precautions?

Perhaps many Palestinians are more upset by what they see as Israel's disrespectful treatment of them than they are by specific Israeli policies. When Palestinians cannot conduct business or buy/rent property in the occupied territories to the same degree that Israeli citizens can; that is offensive. Wouldn't it help if Israel offered the Palestinians a free trade/free investment treaty that allowed Israelis and Palestinians to freely conduct business and own property in all of Israel and Palestine? Wouldn't it help if Israel offered work visas for Palestinians to commute to commute for work/business purposes to Israel proper? Might this not reduce the extreme suspicion many Palestinians have regarding Israelis; and much more importantly might this not sharply boost the Palestinian private sector?

Other things that might help would be:
1) allowing Israelis and Palestinians equal access to roads in the occupied territories
2) clearly defining property rights in the occupied territories and stopping the confiscation of Palestinian private property paying below market prices (or no price at all) by the Israeli government
3) Israel making a large one time payment to the Palestinian government and Palestinian private citizens for all Palestinian property confiscated by the Israeli government (in both Israel proper and in Palestine) over the last more than 60 years.

All of these good faith gestures might help make negotiating a final settlement between Israelis and Palestinian easier.

I look forward to hearing Israeli perspectives on these thoughts, including from MarkC.

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at April 26, 2009 1:35 PM

MJT, did you read the piece by Shulamit Aloni and the link on forbidden roads provided by Molly.

I think Aloni would agree with Ahmedinijad that Israel is an apartheid state.

excerpts from Aloni: "Jewish self-righteousness is taken for granted among ourselves to such an extent that we fail to see what's right in front of our eyes. It's simply inconceivable that the ultimate victims, the Jews, can carry out evil deeds. Nevertheless, the state of Israel practises its own, quite violent, form of Apartheid with the native Palestinian population."
"Indeed Apartheid does exist here. And our army is not "the most moral army in the world" as we are told by its commanders. Sufficient to mention that every town and every village has turned into a detention centre and that every entry and every exit has been closed, cutting it off from arterial traffic. If it were not enough that Palestinians are not allowed to travel on the roads paved 'for Jews only', on their land, the current GOC found it necessary to land an additional blow on the natives in their own land with an "ingenious proposal".

Humanitarian activists cannot transport Palestinians either!"

"In the past, the US Jewish community leaders were quite familiar with the meaning of those conventions. For some reason, however, they are convinced that Israel is allowed to contravene them. It's OK to kill civilians, women and children, old people and parents with their children, deliberately or otherwise without accepting any responsibility. It's permissible to rob people of their lands, destroy their crops, and cage them up like animals in the zoo."

"(Palestinian)Employees cannot be paid their wages because Israel is holding 500 million shekels that belong to the Palestinians. And after all that we remain "pure as the driven snow". There are no moral blemishes on our actions. There is no racial separation. There is no Apartheid. It's an invention of the enemies of Israel. Hooray for our brothers and sisters in the US! Your devotion is very much appreciated. You have truly removed a nasty stain from us. Now there can be an extra spring in our step as we confidently abuse the Palestinian population, using the "most moral army in the world".
http://www.counterpunch.org/aloni01082007.html
I concur.

Posted by: Jinx Author Profile Page at April 26, 2009 3:56 PM

Jinx,

They are not "Jewish only" roads whatever Counterpunch says. I am not Jewish, yet I have driven on those roads. They are Israeli roads, and Arabs in Israel can and do use them.

Sufficient to mention that every town and every village has turned into a detention centre

That's just hysterical nonsense. I've been to the West Bank. It isn't a freaking "detention center."

Look. I think Israel needs to leave the West Bank and uproot its settlements there. I have never thought otherwise, nor will I ever. It's easy to criticize the occupation. So it's stupid to invent a bunch of crap that isn't real to critique when you can (easily) critique the real situation instead.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at April 26, 2009 7:20 PM

" Israel making a large one time payment to the Palestinian government and Palestinian private citizens for all Palestinian property confiscated by the Israeli government (in both Israel proper and in Palestine) over the last more than 60 years."

How about the Arabs states making a "large one time payment" to all the Jews from Arab states whose property was confiscated? The number is at least comparable to the number of Palestinians whose property was taken by Israel.

"Perhaps many Palestinians are more upset by what they see as Israel's disrespectful treatment of them than they are by specific Israeli policies."

Perhaps many Israelis are upset by the fact that the Palestinians' government, Hamas, is explicitly annihilationist and calls for the murder of Jews, not just Israelis or Zionists. Yet you keep pimping them as peace partners even though they have repeatedly stated they will never accept Israel. Furthermore, Israeli treatment of Palestinians got a lot more "disrespectful" when the Palestinians deliberately took up the practice of suicide bombing after the collapse of the peace talks in 2000. The "apartheid wall" you and your fellow travelers keep whining about was put up then for the explicit purpose of saving Israeli lives (including Arab Israelis) which thankfully it has done. Until then, 35 years of "occupation" with no wall - it was erected only becuase of the Palestinians own violent actions. I'm so sick of your smarmy bullshit.

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at April 26, 2009 9:59 PM

They are not "Jewish only" roads whatever Counterpunch says.

It's not counterpunch that says it but Shulamit Aloni,"ISrael's first lady of human rights".

http://www.btselem.org/download/200408_Forbidden_Roads_Eng.pdf

On 23 March 2004, the day after the
assassination of Hamas leader Ahmad Yassin,
the Israeli media reported that the IDF had
imposed a total closure on the Occupied
Territories and a siege on cities in the West
Bank. Such reports, which regularly appear
in the Israeli media, paint a misleading picture
of the reality in the West Bank. According
to the reports, the severe restrictions on the
movement of Palestinians are a response to
a particular event or threat. The reality is
altogether different. The sweeping restrictions
are largely permanent, and have been for some
time. They are only marginally affected by the
defense establishment’s assessment of the level
of security threats at any given time.
This report deals with one of the primary,
albeit lesser known, components of Israel’s
policy of restricting Palestinian movement
in the Occupied Territories: restrictions and
prohibitions on Palestinian travel along certain
roads in the West Bank. This phenomenon
is referred to in the report as the “Forbidden
Roads Regime.” The regime, based on the
principle of separation through discrimination,
bears striking similarities to the racist apartheid
regime that existed in South Africa until 1994.
In the roads regime operated by Israel, the right
of every person to travel in the West Bank is
based on his or her national origin.

Shulamit Aloni:"By now they have requisitioned further lands for the purpose of constructing "Jewish only" roads. Wonderful roads, wide roads, well-paved roads, brightly lit at night--all that on stolen land."
"On one occasion I witnessed such an encounter between a driver and a soldier who was taking down the details before confiscating the vehicle and sending its owner away. "Why?" I asked the soldier. "It's an order--this is a Jews-only road", he replied. I inquired as to where was the sign indicating this fact and instructing [other] drivers not to use it. His answer was nothing short of amazing. "It is his responsibility to know it, and besides, what do you want us to do, put up a sign here and let some antisemitic reporter or journalist take a photo so he that can show the world that Apartheid exists here?"
QED

Posted by: Jinx Author Profile Page at April 27, 2009 3:48 PM

Jinx, I suspect you are being deliberately dense. They are Israeli roads, not Jewish roads. Do you not know the difference? 20 percent of Israelis are Arabs, and they use those roads every day. All citizens of Israel, regardless of national origin, can use those roads. Palestinians are not citizens of Israel. That's why they can't use Israeli roads. Israeli Arabs are citizens of Israel, so they can. This isn't apartheid. "Jewish only" roads would be something like apartheid, but that isn't what's happening.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at April 27, 2009 4:32 PM

Michael, there can't be Israeli roads on Palestinian land, there can only be Israeli roads on Israeli land. The West Bank is Palestinian land. Palestinians living in the West Bank cannot use roads next to their houses and it often takes three or four times as long to get from village to village (the checkpoints don't help the situation). You can't condemn the occupation of the West Bank and at the same time see nothing wrong with roads that only allow certain people on them.

Posted by: molly Author Profile Page at April 27, 2009 5:29 PM

There are different types of Apartheid. I haven't been to Israel, and take your word (which seems at first glance consistent with de jure Israeli law) that Palestinian Israeli citizens can buy/rent property in occupied territory settlements; as well as drive on Israeli roads in the occupied territories.

However Israel still imposes a type of Apartheid on Palestine, based on citizenship. Palestinian citizens have fewer rights (property rights, rights to conduct business, the rights to drive on Israeli roads) inside the occupied territories than Israeli citizens do. In my opinion this is immoral, since the occupied territories under international law (and arguably under Israeli law) belong to the Palestinians.

As I interpret UN resolutions, the Israelis had to restore the rights of Palestinians as quickly as was reasonable. I can understand why security concerns would drag this process out by years; but 42 years since 1967?

Is it a type of Apartheid when Palestinian owned private property is confiscated by the Israeli government to a larger degree than Israeli private property inside the occupied territories? In the US eminent domain is used more sparingly and the owners of private property are entitled to the market value of their confiscated property. Is it too much to ask Israel to behave in a similar way?

For the record all terrorist bombing against civilians is wrong. Any Palestinian government officials found guilty of terrorism should be tried for violating Palestinian and international law. If Palestinian courts fail to fairly try them; foreign aid to Palestine should be restricted and those accused of supporting terrorism should be tried by international courts.

"How about the Arabs states making a "large one time payment" to all the Jews from Arab states whose property was confiscated? The number is at least comparable to the number of Palestinians whose property was taken by Israel."

The 3arab dictators are enemies of both the Israelis and the Palestinians. They won't apologize to the Jews for 1948; or compensate them for their lost property. For this it is fair to criticize the arab world. But why should Palestinians be punished for the crimes of their "lovely neighbors" who have behaved like enemies of Palestine?

The market value of confiscated Jewish Arab property in 1948 almost certainly was far greater than the market value of Palestinian confiscated property in Israel proper. Unfortunately, Jewish Arabs need to accept that they won't see their lost property; as has happened to countless people throughout history (and to foreign investors in Iran in 1979 to take just one recent example.) Moreover the Arab world have performed very poorly economically. They can't afford to pay the Jewish Arabs back, even if they wanted to. For these reasons, I think the Jewish Arabs should forgive and forget.

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at April 27, 2009 5:43 PM

Molly,

I didn't say there is nothing wrong with the Israeli-only roads in the West Bank. There is plenty wrong with them. I don't like driving on them for a variety of mostly moral and political reasons. The only reason I'm arguing with you about it is because you are not describing them accurately. Your hyperbole about "apartheid" is entirely counterproductive.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at April 27, 2009 9:50 PM

"There are different types of Apartheid. I haven't been to Israel"

In other words, anand just redefines words and makes shit up so he can demonize Jews and Israel.

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at April 28, 2009 12:47 AM

Michael, when the population in a certain region is divided into two groups based on religious affiliation, with one group granted certain rights and freedom of movement and the other denied those rights, what do you call it?

Posted by: molly Author Profile Page at April 28, 2009 10:20 AM

Dear Molly:

Sanity? Self-Preservation?

Posted by: Ron Snyder Author Profile Page at April 28, 2009 10:24 AM

I think MJT is saying that the de jure legal discrimination is between Israeli and Palestinian citizens rather than between Jews and Arab muslims.

MJT believes that Palestinian Israeli citizens are allowed to drive on restricted roads in the occupied territories and buy/rent property in segregated settlements inside the occupied territories.

This said, it is wrong to deny Palestinians the right to buy/rent property and drive on roads inside their own country (that Israeli nationals are allowed to purchase/rent and drive on.) Why is it "sane" to do this? Can't "self preservation" be achieved by training/equipping quality Palestinian security forces?

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at April 28, 2009 10:44 AM

Molly: Michael, when the population in a certain region is divided into two groups based on religious affiliation, with one group granted certain rights and freedom of movement and the other denied those rights, what do you call it?

That's not what's happening, and you know it. You yourself pointed out that 20 percent of Israelis are Arab Muslims. If you want to keep banging on about "apartheid," you are just going to make yourself look like a hysterical axe-grinder.

For God's sake, even that scumbag Avigdor Lieberman said he would uproot the settlements and give up his house in the West Bank if Palestinians would agree to a peace deal. Almost everybody in the entire world recognizes that the occupation of the West Bank is temporary and doomed. It is utterly beyond controversy at this point. You're wasting your own time and everyone else's with your hysterical whinging.

The real question, at this point, is WHEN will the Israelis leave the West Bank, and what steps can be taken to ensure they will feel and be safe when they do so? I look forward to the day when it finally happens.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at April 28, 2009 3:07 PM

One of my favorite sayings is "first understanding, then adjustment." One of the biggest challenges Israelis and Palestinians have in cooperating is their failure to understand the other:

"I have argued before that occupation is not necessarily the problem, that injustice during occupation is the problem. Palestine was occupied for centuries before the Zionist influx, and yet Palestinians were not dispossessed during those many centuries of British, Ottoman, and Arab rule. Here I will argue that statelessness is not necessarily the problem, but the injustice that happens during statelessness is the problem."
http://iraqimojo.blogspot.com/2009/04/rationalizing-ethnic-cleansing-on.html

I would add that the perception among many Palestinians that the Israelis don't treat Palestinians with respect is another major challenge.

These issues have to be dealt with for a durable peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians to hold.

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at April 28, 2009 5:09 PM

anand claims the following:

that Israel "forced" Arafat on the Palestinians

that Hamas wants to "marry" Israel

that Hamas "flatters" Israel

Where is the evidence for these ludicrous, lying claims, anand? And if you can't produce this evidence (I know you can't because all of these statements are complete lies) why should we believe a single word that spews out of your antisemitic, Jew-baiting mouth?

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at April 28, 2009 10:44 PM

Gary, lighten up on Anand, will you please? I don't agree with a lot of what he says either, but I really don't think he's anti-Semitic.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at April 28, 2009 11:24 PM

Michael, disagreement is one thing but continually spewing out outrageous lies is another. Seriously, what is your reaction to the three assertions I quoted, all of which I believe faithfully capture what anand is trying to say? Have you ever heard statements that are so enormously far from the truth? It's not like you can have a reasoned discussion with someone like that. For me it doesn't get balanced off because he tries to affect a "polite" tone while he spreads his venom.

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at April 28, 2009 11:48 PM

Aren't Israelis and Palestinians both considered to be Causcasians? Or are we now calling discrimination against any group racism so as to get more attention?

Posted by: Boojum Author Profile Page at April 29, 2009 9:58 AM

Michael, that is what is happening. I was talking about the West Bank, not Israel "proper", although Palestinians there are not granted the same rights, either. De jure, perhaps, de facto, definitely not.

Posted by: molly Author Profile Page at April 29, 2009 6:12 PM

One example of how Palestinians in Israel are not granted the same rights as Jews: building permits. Arab towns are never allowed to grow outwards. The residents are forced to build upwards. Why do you hear of so many house demolitions? Because the building permits are impossible to get if you are not Jewish.

Posted by: molly Author Profile Page at April 29, 2009 6:15 PM

Molly,

Yes, I know about the building permit problem. It is ridiculous.

Can you agree with me that it doesn't justify Holocaust denial or the destruction of Israel? Ahmadinejad is a bigoted scumbag regardless of Israel's internal problems.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at April 29, 2009 6:30 PM

Molly has condemned Holocaust denial on her blog many times. She has also been attacked many times for it.

Ahmenijad has done great harm to the Iranian people (economically and by becoming a global laughing stock.) If you look at international polls, Iran and Israel both consistently rank lower than the US or any other country. Iranians are furious at Ahmenijad for causing this. Ahmenijad has also contributed to a collapse in Iran's image among the Iraqi public (Iran is the only country to rank significantly below the US.)

All of this said, Obama is right to try to reach out to Khamenei. Iran could significantly help in Afghanistan/Pakistan and other countries (including Iraq, Lebonan, Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, and against global Takfiri networks more generally.) I don't think any Palestine Israeli peace initiative can work without tacit Iranian support.

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at April 29, 2009 7:51 PM

Nothing justifies Holocaust denial. However, Israel is at least a little bit responsible for it among Arabs and Muslims by using the Holocaust to justify their land grab in 1948 and continuing to this day. Middle Easterners don't have much reason to think about the Holocaust now otherwise.

Posted by: molly Author Profile Page at April 30, 2009 11:02 AM

Thank you, Anand. Wait, there were Holocaust deniers on our blog? Here is a good article on hypocrisy at Durban and how much criticism of Israel was removed from documents.

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10488.shtml

Posted by: molly Author Profile Page at April 30, 2009 11:05 AM

Ahamdinedjad has shifted his tactics recently - he's not really denying the Holocaust anymore. He's focusing on the alledged injustice of the Holocaust being used to justify the events of '48.

I saw some quotes along these lines from Durban II, but I can't find them now. I imagine they could be chased down.

Posted by: glasnost Author Profile Page at April 30, 2009 8:42 PM

"Ahamdinedjad has shifted his tactics recently - he's not really denying the Holocaust anymore."

Has he retracted his denial? Has he said his conference was wrong? Leave it to glasnost to keep making excuses for the Jew-hating bastard.

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at April 30, 2009 11:49 PM

GR - why do you hate information? How would it have been neccessary to phrase the transmittal of that information without arousing your BS?

SAMPLE
That criminal mass murderer Ahamdinedjad has shifted his vile, disgusting tactics recently - he's not really denying the Holocaust anymore, having realized he'll fuel more hatred by focusing on Palestinian victimization over rewriting history.

Would that do it for you? Is information acceptable to you after you've surrounded it with the right buzzwords?

What about these guys here? They seem to push all your favorite buttons, but they mention the same thing I mentioned with only a trace of snark, no insults at all...

http://blazingcatfur.blogspot.com/2009/04/full-transcript-of-ahmadinejad-durban.html

Are they Ahmad-defending anti-semitic traitors or what?

Here's the whole speech:

http://enduringamerica.com/2009/04/22/video-extract-from-ahmadinejad-speech-delegate-walkout-at-durban-conference/

Posted by: glasnost Author Profile Page at May 2, 2009 8:19 AM

This is for Michael and anyone else who doubted that Israel is a racist state:

"Tzipi Livni, another so-called centrist, holds similar discriminatory views. On January 23, 2002, she urged members of the Knesset to reject an equal-protection clause according to which equality is the right of every citizen in the state regardless of his or her nationality, religion, or views. The proposed bill was rejected, and formal equality remains outside the Israeli book of laws. Livni also supported bills in the Knesset that would grant settlement and allocation of land for Jews only, such as the one submitted by MK Rabbi Haim Druckman on February 18, 2002. Finally, she repeatedly argued that Israel will never be the national home for its Palestinian citizens and averred that, if they have a collective aspiration, they should look for it elsewhere. "

http://www.mada-research.org/programs/constitution/chapter1e.pdf

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/09/world/plan-to-keep-israeli-arabs-off-some-land-is-backed.html?n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/Subjects/L/Land%20Use%20Policies

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7779087.stm

Posted by: molly Author Profile Page at May 4, 2009 8:34 AM

This is really disappointing regarding Tzipi Livni. How can Israelis treat their Palestinians neighbors in the occupied territories appropriately when they mistreat their own citizens of Palestinian ethnicity in this way?

If Israelis would treat their own citizens of Palestinian ethnicity better, this would go a long way to helping them form a better relationship with the occupied territories. It would also help Israel's global image.

The fact that 53% of Palestinians favor a one state solution (merging Palestine and Israel into a single country) suggests that Palestinian have confidence that Israelis can improve. Israelis owe it to themselves and the Palestinians to improve themselves.

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at May 4, 2009 10:59 AM

Reality:

from Yourish.com
05/01/2009

http://www.yourish.com/2009/05/01/7349#comments

"Forget for a moment that the party involved is the “moderate” Fatah faction. (via memeorandum) Forget for a moment that the case violates the Oslo Accords.

The Jerusalem Post reported yesterday that a Palestinian man was sentenced to death for selling land to a Jew.

In the first case of its kind, a Palestinian Authority “military court” on Tuesday sentenced a Palestinian man to death by hanging after finding him guilty of selling land to Jews.

As I mentioned before, this isn’t really that new. In 1997 the Palestinian justice minister, Freih Abu Medein declared that selling land to a Jew was a capital crime and in the next month three Palestinian land dealers were murdered. And in 1998 the Palestinian Legislative Council passed a law, declaring that selling land to an Israeli constituted “high treason.”..."

Posted by: del Author Profile Page at May 4, 2009 11:06 AM

Del, thanks for sharing.

If an Israeli company (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Israeli_companies) wanted to operate an outsourcing center in Palestine, how would they go about it? Could they buy a facility, lease a facility, rent a facility? How easy is it for companies to do business in Palestine?

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at May 4, 2009 12:01 PM
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