Monday, June 30, 2008

Al-Alam (Iran): "Hezbollah Hails Prisoner Swap 'Victory'"

Just in case someone misses the obvious fact that this exchange will embolden terrorists, the terrorists themselves make sure to point it out:
The Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement considers prisoner exchange deal with Israeli regime a 'big victory' not only for Lebanon but also for the whole region.

In an interview with Alalam Monday, Vice President of Hezbollah Political Council Mahmoud Qumati said that the prisoners exchange deal was a triumph for resistance not only in Lebanon but also for all resistance groups in the region.

Qumati said the exchange deal, expected to complete within a few days, would give a new impetus to the resistance movements across the region to resume activities against Israeli regime's aggression, occupation and tyranny. [...]

Sunday, June 29, 2008

"Socialism Emerges Victorious for Scientific Accuracy and Truth"

Gotta love these guys:
The Korean people are all out in a general offensive to build a Juche-oriented great, prosperous and powerful nation, full of conviction of sure victory and optimism about socialism.

Socialism is the life and soul of the Korean people.

It is a law of historical development that socialism is sure to emerge victorious for its scientific accuracy and truth.

Socialism is the ideal and aspiration of the popular masses that are endeavoring to realize the natural requirements of the social being to live and develop in an independent way.

The independent nature of the people cannot be changed as long as the social being remains and the independent demand of the popular masses will remain unchanged as long as they live as the masters of history. It, therefore, is entirely reasonable that socialism is the aspiration of the people.

Because socialism conforms to their independent demand, the popular masses have the unshakable resolution to meet it without fail.

No force on earth can break the will of the popular masses as it reflects the independent desire of the social being and the lawful requirements of historical development.

Socialism is certain to be crowned with victory as the transition from the society based on individualism to the society based on collectivism is the inevitable demand of historical development.

Man can exist and develop only when he acts as a member of the social collective and the social members can transform the nature and society and attain their independent demand only with their concerted efforts.

Being based on collectivism, socialism is the most advanced society conforming to the independent nature of man.

The victory of socialism is related to the fact that socialism is the new.

History proves that the new rises and the old falls.

Socialism is a new society radically differing from the old ones which violate the independence of the popular masses.

The new society where the independence of the popular masses is achieved can be built only by advancing along the road of socialism.

Representing what is new, socialism certainly emerges victorious.
If you are looking for blog carnivals in which the independence of the popular masses is achieved, check out Haveil Havalim and Carnival of the Insanities. Soccer Dad is also hosting the latest Carnival of Maryland.

Comment is Free: Let's not remember the Jewish refugees after all

No Pro-Israel opinion must ever go unanswered at the Guardian. The inevitable reply to Lyn Julius’ argument that Mizrachi Jews who fled Arab countries deserve some recognition too comes from one Rachel Shabi, who was "born in Israel to Iraqi parents."
[...] It's a neat argument: Jews were forced to abandon material assets and leave Arab countries; Palestinians similarly fled or were expelled from their homes. Ergo, the region witnessed an exchange of populations and if Palestinian refugees are to be compensated by Israel, so too must the Jewish "refugees" from the Middle East, by the Arab nations that expelled them.

Nice try, but there are many reasons why this formula is all wrong. First off (as David Cesarani points out), it's tasteless. There is no need for the fate of these two peoples, Middle Eastern Jews and Palestinians, to be so fused materialistically. Middle Eastern Jews may indeed have a claim to lost assets, but those genuinely seeking peace between Israel and its neighbours should know that this is not the way to pursue it . . .
Was there an argument in there somewhere? Being "tasteless" and "materialistic" is no way to pursue peace! Her next argument is that some Mizrachi Jews wanted to leave, leading to the following:
Broadly, you could say that any Middle Eastern Jew ("Oriental" or "Mizrahi" Jew) who defines their migration to Israel as "Zionist" cannot also be a refugee: the former label has agency and involves a desire to live in the Jewish state; the second suggests passivity and a lack of choice . . .
Let's determine the aptness of the term "refugee" by examining the connotations of the words "Zionist." What about someone who would have liked to emigrate in an orderly way, but who fled leaving his property behind? Too bad, the word Zionist "has agency"? It doesn't get better:
But let's get to the heart of the matter. What JJAC seems keen to establish is that Arab countries treated Jewish citizens with contempt and cruelty, fuelled by antisemitism. This formulation perpetuates the myth of Arabs and Jews as polar opposites, destined to be eternal enemies. It shirks the plain fact that Jews lived in Arab counties for over two millennia, for the most part productively and in peace . . .
Let's see, the assertion that Jews were persecuted in Arab countries in the 1940's "perpetuates the myth of Arabs and Jews as polar opposites." If they were persecuted, shouldn't it be admitted, and if they weren't, isn't this an odd objection? And that "plain fact" about the "productive" life Jews led in earlier centuries is neither "plain" nor relevant. Here is her conclusion:
Of course, we could only focus on the bad and write what the Jewish historian Salo Baron called a "lachrymose" version of events. But what's the point? The Middle Eastern Jewry comprises many threads and, compared with European Jewry, has a distinct history, heritage and culture. This legacy, in all its dimensions, should not be hijacked to fuel further rage and acrimony in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Nice of her to be against "rage and acrimony." I don't see why the broader perspective that comes from considering the fate of the Mizrachi Jews along with that of the Palestinians shouldn't lead to a calmer and more balanced view of the Middle East conflict. After the hysterical screaming that accompanies the bursting of the Palestinian bubble dies down anyway.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Zionist witch dances in Palestinian blood: MPAC-UK reacts to the suggestion that we should remember Jews expelled from Arab countries

MPAC-UK provides an almost endless supply of blog-fodder for World Arrogance Imperialist blogs such as this one, and they aren't showing any signs of letting up:
Zionist witch, Lyn Julius, wrote a piece in the Comment is Free section of the Guardian where she bemoans a "Jewish Nakba" in Arab nations following the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians by the Zionists. Dancing in the blood of the Palestinians, Julius conveniently "forgets" that Jewish populations live today in Iran and Morocco. Egypt also has long had populations of Jews, Coptic Christians and Greek Orthodox. [...]
Is that supposed to suggest that Egypt still has a Jewish population of any significance? Don't you love those scare-quotes around the word "forgets"?
Indeed the Zio-fascist Israeli government even tried to induce Iranian Jews to live in Israel with financial inducements but to their credit, the Iranian Jews have refused to be manipulated. One can even find video footage of President Ahmadinejad of Iran embracing Jews. [...]
If that doesn't prove the eternal benevolence of Muslims towards Jews, then nothing will!

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

IRIB Radio: "Political analysts in the usurper state of Israel are predicting the collapse of the cabinet of Zionist premier, German-born Ehud Olmert"

Not that there's anything wrong with being born in Germany, but according to Encyclopedia Britannica, he was born in Israel.
Political analysts in the usurper state of Israel are predicting the collapse of the cabinet of Zionist premier, German-born Ehud Olmert, in the near future. Jamal Zahaleqe, the head of the National Democratic Association told al-Alam today: "In case the Knesset is dissolved and snap elections are held, it is the end of the present coalition cabinet."

Waleed Salem, a writer and expert on Palestine's political affairs told al-Alam: "Given Olmert's corruption case and the worsening of the within the corridors of power in the Zionist entity, we will soon witness snap elections."

Taleb as-Sane', the Director of the United Arabic Alliance in Zionist-usurped Palestine told the network on Tuesday that the power struggle between Olmert and his rival, former premier Ehud Barak, will result in dissolving of the Knesset.

He said Barak is ambitious to takeover the government from Olmert, but both will simultaneously see the end of their political life. [...]
I wonder what his reasoning is, I mean, when you have an authoritative analyst like Taleb as-Sane' on tap, you have to draw him out.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Top 10 world intellectuals all Muslim and number 11 is Noam Chomsky

According to a poll, anyway. Foreign Policy, the magazine conducting the poll, explains:
. . . part of being a "public intellectual" is also having a talent for communicating with a wide and diverse public. This skill is certainly an asset for some who find themselves in the list’s top ranks. For example, a number of intellectuals—including Aitzaz Ahsan, Noam Chomsky, Michael Ignatieff, and Amr Khaled—mounted voting drives by promoting the list on their Web sites. Others issued press releases or gave interviews to local newspapers. Press coverage profiling these intellectuals appeared around the world, with stories running in Canada, India, Indonesia, Qatar, Spain, and elsewhere.

No one spread the word as effectively as the man who tops the list. In early May, the Top 100 list was mentioned on the front page of Zaman, a Turkish daily newspaper closely aligned with Islamic scholar Fethullah G├╝len. Within hours, votes in his favor began to pour in. His supporters—typically educated, upwardly mobile Muslims—were eager to cast ballots not only for their champion but for other Muslims in the Top 100. Thanks to this groundswell, the top 10 public intellectuals in this year’s reader poll are all Muslim. The ideas for which they are known, particularly concerning Islam, differ significantly. It’s clear that, in this case, identity politics carried the day. [...]
MPAC-UK wonders "Is this the beginning of a Muslim revival?"

Just what we needed, a "new resistance faction"!

From Maan News:
A statement announcing the formation of the Nusour Palestine Brigades, a new Palestinian resistance faction, was published on Sunday, marking the launch of another resistance faction from within the Palestinian territories during the Al-Aqsa Intifada.

For more than forty years, Palestinian resistance factions announced themselves and issued statements from the Arab capitals. Since the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, several resistance factions have been launched from within the Palestinian territories.

The statement emphasized that the Nusour Palestine Brigades are independent and not related to any military, political or popular organization or faction, but also said that they consider the PLO to be the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

There is no information concerning the head or spokesperson of this new faction yet.
I guess we'll meet the spokesperson when he claims responsibility for a martyrdom operation.

"Actions against Imperialists' Vicious Psychological Warfare Urged"

The Imperialists are using . . . I can't even say it . . . it's too horrible . . . highhandedness!!!! And that's not all:
To foil the imperialists' psychological warfare against the socialist countries and the anti-imperialist independent countries is an urgent demand and the common task of mankind for defending and advancing the popular masses' cause of socialism, the cause of independence.

Rodong Sinmun today stresses this in a by-lined article.

Upset by the ever-mounting atmosphere of opposition to unilateralism and arbitrary practices in the international arena and the escalating struggle of peoples for independence against imperialism, the imperialists are more persistently resorting to the vicious psychological warfare after judging that it is impossible to realize their wild design for world supremacy only by means of highhandedness, the article points out, and says:

The imperialists' psychological warfare is a main lever for materializing their strategy to disintegrate the progressive countries from within. They seek to create conditions favorable for attaining their ambition for aggression and domination by hatching all sorts of plots and conspiratorial cases and conducting deceptive propaganda to confuse the mental state of the masses.

The ultimate aim of their psychological warfare is to topple the systems of the socialist countries and the anti-imperialist independent countries and put those countries under their control.

Through this warfare, the imperialists are scheming to make the peoples feel frustration and blankness and create an illusion about capitalism and thus realize their ambition for overturning the systems in those countries with ease.

The imperialists are now attempting to realize the above-mentioned ambition by inducing through the psychological warfare the peoples of those countries to harbor discontent and distrust toward their leaderships and stand against them.

The world progressive countries and peoples should wage a vigorous struggle to foil the imperialists' psychological warfare, being well aware of its reactionary nature and danger and detrimental effect.
Among the chief weapons of the Imperialists to confuse the mental state of the masses are vicious blog carnivals to make the people feel frustration and blankness. The world progressive countries should wage a victorious struggle to foil Imperialist Haveil Havalim and Carnival of the Unilateralist Insanities.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Ramzy Baroud and the Nuke Trope

Baroud's latest at Palestinian Chronicles contains an interesting example of what I call the "Nuke Trope." The "Nuke Trope" is a technique for avoiding or dismissing discussion of security threats against Israel by mentioning that Israel has nukes. In this case we are told that Israel is "saturated with nuclear arms." "Saturated"?
" . . . Bridget Johnson wrote in the Los Angeles Daily News, chastising the United Nations’ Human Rights Council for its condemnation of Israel’s siege on Gaza: "There was zero mention of Hamas' continued rocket attacks on Israel -- which preceded the cut-off of supplies that has caused such an uproar -- or Hamas' refusal to renounce violence against and attempted destruction of the Jewish state." The claims were preposterous – especially that of a small group’s 'attempted destruction' of a country saturated with nuclear arms." [...]

Penitent Iranian Newspaper admits it "overstepped limits of freedom of expression"

Some governments are not so careful to prevent news reports which "disturb public opinion," but Iran seems to bask in government benevolence similar to that enjoyed by Canadians, who agree that free speech cannot "risk rupturing the common good".
Editorial Board of Tehran Emrouz daily on Sunday apologized to the government for what it said unfair criticism.

The daily subject to a ban admitted in a statement that it overstepped limits of freedom of expression.

The statement said that the daily has failed to observe moderate approach in dealing with the country's political affairs.

The Press Supervisory Board has banned 'Tehran Emrouz' newspaper for and revoked its license for lack of legal conditions.

Tehran's Public Prosecutor Office has summoned the banned daily's director for "publishing articles and images insulting to president".

It said that a special issue recently published by Tehran Emrouz on the occasion of the third year of president's term in office, was an "unprecedented insult" against him.

The office added that articles appeared in the special issue were examples of "defamation and publishing false reports to disturb public opinion".
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Thursday, June 19, 2008

(North) Korean News: "Heightened Vigilance against Imperialists' Art of Disguise Called for"

Not Satire:
What is of special importance in intensifying the anti-imperialist struggle is not to interpret the imperialists' cunning art of disguise as a change in their nature but firmly adhere to the principle of independence against imperialism and direct the spearhead of attack to the imperialist reactionary forces.

Rodong Sinmun today stresses this in a signed article.

It goes on:

The imperialists are attaching great importance to their cunning art of disguise under the present situation where the world anti-imperialist independent forces have grown stronger than ever before whereas their strength has become drastically weaker.

The imperialists' talk that they stand for "human rights" and "democracy" of other countries and nations is nothing but sophism and their oft-repeated "co-existence" and "co-prosperity" are aimed at putting other countries under their control and colonizing them to force them to fall victim to their plunder and domination.

The "assistance", "cooperation" and "aid" on the lips of the imperialists are no more than leverage to create illusion about capitalism among people and deeply infiltrate into anti-imperialist independent countries politically, economically and ideologically and culturally and militarily in a bid to establish domination over them and intensify the plunder of those countries. They are, in a word, a lever for doing harm to other people under the pretence of friendship.

It is cunning double-dealing tactics for the imperialists to behave as a "mediator" and "guarantor" in settling disputes.

What they seek is not a solution to the disputes but the sowing of seeds of dispute and political, economic and military interference in the dispute-torn countries by taking advantage of it.

It is necessary to particularly guard against "peace" and "stability" much publicized by the imperialists.

Their reckless military moves on the Korean Peninsula clearly prove that they can never be "peace champions."

With no cunning art of disguise can the imperialists hide their black-hearted intention and criminal nature.
It is hard to believe that communists actually sound like this. It would be like meeting an Indian, I'm sorry Native American, who says "Me have heap big wampum in wigwam."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Unlike Evangelical Christians, extremists in the Muslim world are not allowed to constitute a strategic threat to anyone. "

That's what it says. Of course, it's a Palestinian news agency:
[...] The Evangelical church's teachings in the United States and elsewhere are very worrisome and dangerous. Basing political, economic, and military support for Israel on biblical ideology and prophesies, as the case has been in the United States so far, should not and must not continue. Sadly, no amount of 'correct' Palestinian or Arab media can significantly alter the current situation.

Islamic extremists who hold similar but opposite views in the Arab and Muslim world are waning, they don't have the support of majority mainstream Muslims, and are being confronted all the way from Morocco to Indonesia. Unlike Evangelical Christians, extremists in the Muslim world are not allowed to constitute a strategic threat to anyone.

The United States and the people of America should look into other less dangerous ways to bring about a sense of spiritualism to fulfill the noticeable void in their spiritual life.

Earthly justice, conflict resolution, equal opportunity, saving the earth, protecting the environment, helping and assisting others to indulge in innovations, better education, improved health, fighting poverty, and improving quality of life for billions of human beings in Africa, south America, south west Asia should be the objective. [...]

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Freedom of speech stops for "vulnerable groups"

Somebody out there thinks Human Rights Commissions should be the judge of acceptable speech, in this case one Haroon Siddiqui:
. . . . freedom of speech is not absolute. "Except for the U.S., virtually every Western democracy has laws against hate," notes Bernie Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress. "Our anti-hate laws are probably the most underused."

The Supreme Court has upheld those laws. Jewish, gay and other groups have long advocated their use. Few Canadians complained. But now that Muslims are, many are.

"That's really what it's about," Farber told me. "When non-Muslims were using it, nobody really cared.
"People need scapegoats. It used to be Jews. Now it's Muslims, to a great extent. Tomorrow, it may be Bahais or somebody else ...
I always said Seals and Crofts should be watched closely.
"People should focus on the law, not on those using it. If the complaint is frivolous, the system will deal with it."

Barbara Hall, chair of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, has offered a similarly clear-headed view.

Even while refusing to hear the Maclean's case – because her commission, unlike the one in B.C., does not have the jurisdiction to hear cases against the media – she used her "broader mandate to promote and advance respect for human rights" to speak out:

"Islamophobia is a form of racism ... Since September 2001, Islamophobic attitudes are becoming more prevalent and Muslims are increasingly the target of intolerance ...

"The Maclean's article, and others like it, are examples of this. By portraying Muslims as all sharing the same negative characteristics, including being a threat to `the West,' this explicit expression of Islamophobia further perpetuates and promotes prejudice toward Muslims and others."

Her statement, posted on the commission's website, is worth reading. So is a blog by John Miller, professor of journalism at Ryerson University:

He calls the Maclean's article "xenophobic," and says it's riddled with errors. He ridicules the Canadian Association of Journalists for its knee-jerk defence, given that the article may have violated the association's own guidelines for fairness, accuracy, access and anti-discrimination.

People will always differ on what constitutes hate or where to draw the line on free speech. But most people would agree that free speech is not a licence to target vulnerable groups, let alone risk rupturing the common good in Canada.
Can anyone parse that last sentence? Put a "vulnerable group" into the equation and suddenly that inevitable difference on "where to draw the line" evaporates? You get the idea from Siddiqui that Steyn is the new William Dudley Pelley, but somehow I think that a world of discourse that includes, I dunno, John Pilger or Walt and Mearscheimer or Joseph Massad or Norman Finkelstein also has room for Steyn.

Political discourse would be greatly diminished if we could not criticize the activities and agendas of various groups: Repubicans, Democrats, the Religious Right, ultra-Leftists, truthers, Neo-Cons, moonbats, whatever, sometimes even--gasp--specific religious denominations. I once expressed disdain for the Israel-boycotting proclivities of a group called Presbyterian Church USA. Am I guilty of hate-speech, or does PC-USA pass the non-vulnerable test? I'm not moving to Canada to find out. (Hat Tip: Memeorandum)

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

"Suspicious object" blocks traffic in Beirut

From Ya Libnan:
A handbag loaded with feminine underwear blocked traffic in south Beirut's Chiyah district for 30 minutes after sparking panic that it could be booby trapped.

The black and red handbag was found deserted on the main Chiyah highway, a stronghold for Hezbollah and allied AMAL movement on Beirut's southern edge.

A police official said the department received "a flood of calls reporting a suspicious object. Lebanon's Army units sealed off the area as a sapper opened the bag and found feminine underwear."

The highway was reopened to normal traffic, he added.
Now that the crisis has been solved, those motorists can turn their attention to the latest editions of Carnival of the Insanities and Haveil Havalim.

"PCHR is deeply concerned about the recurrence of internal explosions"

That's the Palestinian Center for Human Rights if you didn't know. Wouldn't it be nice if this statement condemned the whole bomb-culture?
PCHR is deeply concerned about the recurrence of internal explosions as a result of weapons being manufactured, and stored, in areas populated by civilians. These actions are threatening the lives and property of Palestinian civilians. PCHR calls upon Palestinian resistance groups to take immediate measures to ensure the non-recurrence of such explosions. The most recent explosion, in Beit Lahia on June 12, killed eight Palestinians, including an infant, and injured at least forty others.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR and eye-witness testimonies, at approximately 13:30 on Thursday, 12 June, a huge explosion occurred in a 400-square-meter house belonging to ‘Abdul ‘Azim Khaled Hammouda in the centre of Beit Lahia town, in the northern Gaza Strip. The house was completely destroyed and dozens of neighboring houses were also damaged, five of them seriously. Ambulances and civil defense crews rushed to the area, and removed victims’ bodies from beneath the ruins of the destroyed house, and neighbouring houses. The victims included 4-month-old Nour Majdi Hammouda, who was killed whilst inside her family home, and 16-year-old Mahmoud ‘Ataya Hammouda, who was killed whilst walking near the site of the explosion.

The ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas) stated in a press release issued on 13 June, that 6 of its members were killed “while they were in the final stage of preparation for a special Jihad mission." [...]

In light of the above, PCHR:

1) Warns of the dangers caused by continued manufacturing or storage of explosive devices by Palestinian resistance groups in civilian-populated areas, which threaten the lives of Palestinian civilians and violate international humanitarian law.

2) Calls upon Palestinian resistance groups to take effective steps to ensure the non-recurrence of such incidents.
(Hat Tip: IMRA)

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

AP: "Al-Qaida's stance on women sparks extremist debate"

Whenas in niqab Fullah goes
Then, then (methinks) how sweetly flows
The Fard effacement
of her nose

When next I spy
All of a sudden bravely rent
I sigh, "Alas, work accident."

The male monopoly on the work-accident has been a thing of the past for some time, but there are evidently still some chauvinist hold-outs:
Muslim extremist women are challenging al-Qaida's refusal to include — or at least acknowledge — women in its ranks, in an emotional debate that gives rare insight into the gender conflicts lurking beneath one of the strictest strains of Islam.
In other words, there's a bomb under that Burkha, or bomb-aspirations, anyway.
In response to a female questioner, al-Qaida No. 2 leader Ayman Al-Zawahri said in April that the terrorist group does not have women. A woman's role, he said on the Internet audio recording, is limited to caring for the homes and children of al-Qaida fighters.

His remarks have since prompted an outcry from fundamentalist women, who are fighting or pleading for the right to be terrorists . . .
Anyone who pleads for the right to be a terrorist probably isn't terrorist material to begin with.
A'eeda Dahsheh is a Palestinian mother of four in Lebanon who said she supports al-Zawahri and has chosen to raise children at home as her form of jihad. However, she said, she also supports any woman who chooses instead to take part in terror attacks.

Another woman signed a more than 2,000-word essay of protest online as Rabeebat al-Silah, Arabic for "Companion of Weapons."

"How many times have I wished I were a man ... When Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahri said there are no women in al-Qaida, he saddened and hurt me," wrote "Companion of Weapons," who said she listened to the speech 10 times. "I felt that my heart was about to explode in my chest...I am powerless." [...]
Poor dear, but there's hope--more progressive terrorists:
Hamas, another militant group, is open about using women fighters and disagrees with al-Qaida's stated stance. At least 11 Palestinian women have launched suicide attacks in recent years.

"A lot of the girls I speak to ... want to carry weapons. They live with this great frustration and oppression," said Huda Naim, a prominent women's leader, Hamas member and Palestinian lawmaker in Gaza. "We don't have a special militant wing for women ... but that doesn't mean that we strip women of the right to go to jihad." [...]
They're moderate extremists. (Hat Tip: Tim Blair)

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Saturday, June 14, 2008

NY Times: "A Year Reshapes Hamas and Gaza," well maybe not Hamas so much

In their little journalist minds this probably counts as balance, but their balance point is a region of the left that takes Jimmy Carter seriously:
[...] Sayed Abu Musameh is one of the founders of Hamas and now a member of the legislature. One of the old guard moderates, he is also on the board of Hamas’s first research organization just opening here. It is called Beit al Hikma, the House of Wisdom, and seeks to build bridges with the West.

"We are not seeking all of Palestine, only the ’67 borders," he said. "Then there would be a truce for a very long period to pave the way for the next generation to resolve the issues we are paralyzed to resolve."
Hudna in our times!
He added that Hamas’s rocket attacks on southern Israeli communities are a mistake and that the group’s links to Iran are out of necessity, not desire. He said that while the top Hamas leadership did not agree on these last two points, he was not the only advocate to believe them and more would do so if there were encouragement.

Americans who have visited the top Hamas leader in Syria, Khaled Meshal, including former President Jimmy Carter and Henry Siegman of the U.S./Middle East Project, say a real change is under way, especially regarding the group’s willingness to live next to Israel. So far, few American or Israeli officials have taken their assertion seriously.
Unlike certain prominent US newspapers.
Indeed, Israel’s security officials who seem realistic about Hamas’s control in Gaza dismiss the idea that Hamas has changed in any fundamental way worth Israel’s time. They see the talk of a truce as tactical, not strategic, especially given the toxic words of its leaders and media and the continuing rocket and mortar attacks on Israel. [...]
I guess they didn't say that taking Jimmy seriously was going to be esay. And then there is the more fundamental question of Hamas ideology. Does Hamas take its ideology seriously? Do the theological underpinnings of that ideology lend themselves to flexibility? Don't look to the Times for answers.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Friday, June 13, 2008

NY Times jumps into the work-accident euphemism game: "Disputed Blast in Gaza Kills 5"

The mighty New York Times has now joined Palestinian news agencies such as Maan and Ramattan (pioneers of such phrases as "vague blast" and "mysterious explosion") in extending the boundaries of journalistic discourse. Here's where they present the case:
A spokesman for the Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, said later that the group would carry out an investigation, a tacit acknowledgment that the blast could have been caused by explosives being handled by militants in the house.

In a speech on Thursday evening for the anniversary of Hamas’s takeover of Gaza, the Hamas leader there, Ismail Haniya, made no mention of the explosion in Beit Lahiya, strengthening the supposition that it was an internal affair.
The BBC indentifies the owner of the house as "senior Hamas bomb-maker Ahmed Hamouda." Hmm, that's suggestive. According to IMRA, quoting what they identify as "#1 Arabic website Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades," the paradise-inductees were "martyred as they put the final touches on their way to carry out the task of Jihad." There doesn't seem to be a great deal of doubt in this case. See EOZ for more. And see Soccer Dad.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It's "Zionist Lies Week" at MPAC-UK!

MPAC-UK, whose site we visit from time to time, is currently devoting a series of posts to refuting the "Top 10 Zionist Lies." Let's sample some of the truth served up by MPAC:
Here are some more evident quotes by, David Ben-Gurion - Prime Minister of Israel:

"We must expel Arabs and take their places." David Ben Gurion, 1937, Ben Gurion and the Palestine Arabs, Oxford University Press, 1985.

"We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population." David Ben-Gurion, May 1948, to the General Staff. From Ben-Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar, Delacorte, New York 1978.
According to Wikiquote, citing Efraim Karsh, the correct reading of the first quote is "We do not wish and do not need to expel Arabs and take their places." The second quote has had an eventful career. It evidently began its life as a fake Israel Koenig quote and then decided that Ben-Gurion impersonation was more rewarding. The wages of truth . . .

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Get your Irangrish fix here

IRIB has not abandoned Irangrish junkies. The English at IRIB is often competent, but there is something about Supreme Leader pronouncements that works a certain chaotic magic. This one features a particularly strange usage of the word "software":
Islamic Revolution Leader Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khmenei in a speech Tuesday to the newly-elected lawmakers of the eighth Iranian parliament considered the phenomenon of religious democracy as being protected by some Divine custodianship.

Ayatollah Khamenei said the fundamental task of lawmakers shall be to feel responsibile towards God, adding that provided the directors of the System undertake the assignment, different minds and tastes would converge and rational intentions would get united in resolving the existing challenges in a composed atmosphere.

Ayatollah Khamenei said the ultimate goal of the Islamic Republic of Iran was to help human being to gain perfect spirituality, adding that the establishment of Islamic Community which is run by a fair system is just a vehicle to materialize the ultimate goals of the Divine Messengers, the mankind's spiritual perfection.

The Islamic Revolution Leader said God would protect the lawmakers if they undertake their God-assigned duties firmly and bravely, adding that such duties would be of higher importance once an individual sits the sensitive lawmaking position.

Ayatollah Khamenei said laws and regulations would act as software for any national movement and the significance would double if one considered the situation of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Iranian nation which had opened a new track before the humanity.

Ayatollah Khamenei called the Islamic Republic an outcry in the face of blind move of hegemonic systems in trampling on humanity and justice, adding that the savior call would gain ground only through precise propagation that is the establishment of a just system based on Islamic thoughts especially in light of the fact that the revolutionary words of Imam Khomeini are genuinely attractive.

Ayatollah Khamenei said religious democracy and its representations including the lawmaking job are deeply rooted in the Islamic Republic. He elaborated the Islamic platform sits on the view that any custodianship over human being was a monopoly of God while God has allowed human being to trust the custodianship to some individuals through some conduit which has been enshrined in the IRI Constitution as elections.

"This (election) is the authentic, profound and trusted basis of religious democracy," the IR Leader added.

Ayatollah Khamenei then said that the Islamic views differ from the current political systems in the world in that it considers the custodianship over people as monopoly of God and that people's rule over other people was only acceptable if it followed certain procedures stipulated in Koran and the conduct of the Allah's Messenger Hazrat Muhammad and his true successors.

"By this viewpoint, public delegation would turn into a Divine-rooted custodianship and the same process would make the parliamentary ratifications religiously compulsory," Ayatollah Khamenei added.

Pointing to his statement on the occasion of inauguration of the 8th Majlis, Ayatollah Khamenei said, "The parliament's ratifications should be comprehensive, durable, clear, expertly and focused on people's problems. They should be affordable to be implemented in different conditions and assure people about their future decisions . . .

Ayatollah Khamenei also urged the lawmakers not to allow formation of new aristocratic classes. "You should be pious and remain pious and resist against complex seditions." [...]
Isn't that what life's all about?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Happy Shavuos!

The next two days, starting at sundown tonight will be the holiday of Shavuos (or Shavuot if you like), commemorating the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. One custom involves staying up the whole first night (tonight) reading something called Tikkun Leil Shavuos, which contains selections from the various parts of the Torah--something from every parshah, something from every tractate of the Mishnah, the Book of Ruth, some mysticism, etc. The idea is that the Jewish people fell asleep the first time, but we can make up for it every year by staying up since a holiday is a spiritual repeat of the original event. Sometimes I make it all the way through without falling asleep, sometimes I don't.

We also eat dairy foods for the festive meal of the first day, such as the blintzes and sour cream pictured above. There are numerous explanations for this practice, but it is worth noting that blintzes and cheesecake taste good. More info here and not just about blintzes. See you Tuesday night (or Wednesday). Chag Sameach!

It's good to be monolithic

We are always hearing that things aren't "monolithic." Is it always bad to be monolithic? Evidently, under the brilliant leadership of the Dear Leader, the DPRK has embraced its inner Monolith:
Under the wise leadership of Kim Jong Il the WPK has established the monolithic ideological system in the party and on this basis has developed into the revolutionary party that has formed unity in thinking and which is struggling for one and the same purpose and an invincible party that has achieved the single-minded unity of the leader, party, servicepersons and people . . .
Looking for some not-quite-so-monolithic reading matter? Check out the latest editions of those two non-monolithic Imperialist blog carnivals, Carnival of the Insanities and Haveil Havalim.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

"Lobster Empathy Center"!

Did you know that lobsters are "sensitive"?
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has sent a proposal to the Somerset County commissioners to lease their jail for the world’s first Lobster Empathy Center.

The central Maine county is constructing a new jail and has put the century-old jail in downtown Skowhegan up for sale. The Realtor handling the sale called the offer "likely a publicity stunt."

"A prison is the perfect setting to demonstrate how lobsters suffer when they are caught in traps or confined to cramped, filthy supermarket tanks," PETA wrote in a June 2 letter to the commissioners. "The center will teach visitors to have compassion for these interesting, sensitive animals while also commemorating the millions of lobsters who are ripped from their homes in the ocean off the coast of Maine each year before being boiled alive."

Commissioner Chairman Phil Roy, who doesn’t care for lobster, was at a loss for words Monday afternoon.

"I’m shocked and I don’t know what to say. I didn’t realize Skowhegan was the coastal community PETA was looking for," Roy said, with tongue in cheek. [...]
Lobster Empathy is actually a literary theme that has been previously explored. T. S. Eliot wrote "I should have been a pair of rugged claws / Scuttling across the floors of the silent seas." He probably wasn't thinking about the boiling alive part. (Hat Tip: Tim Blair)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Kim Jong Il gives field guidance at theater and restaurant!

The last time we covered some of the Dear Leader's undying feats of field guidance we witnessed his outstanding brilliance in the field of fertilizer. Now we learn that the Dear Leader is also a master caterer:
General Secretary Kim Jong Il gave on-the-spot guidance to the reconstructed cultural establishment and renovated public catering centers in Pyongyang.

The Taedongmun Cinema House, Okryu Restaurant and Chongryu Restaurant which had served the people for a long period as buildings symbolic of the WPK's policy of love for people have been reconstructed or renovated as monumental structures in the era of Songun, bringing great joy to the people of the country who will significantly mark the diamond jubilee of the DPRK.

The first leg of his guidance was the reconstructed Taedongmun Cinema House.

Looking round the inside of the cinema house, he learned in detail about its reconstruction ranging from screening to sound facilities.

He sent high appreciations and thanks to the soldier builders for successfully reconstructing the modern cinema house, noting that it is good in its internal structure and high in the level of its construction and, at the same time, flawless in its form and style as a cinema house.
He especially sent high appreciations for the Songun popcorn machine.
He set forth the tasks to be fulfilled by the cinema house to operate it, pleased to see the Taedongmun Cinema House taking on new appearance as a splendid cultural palace to enable people to fully enjoy a diverse cultural and emotional life.

The next leg of his guidance was the renovated Okryu Restaurant.

He acquainted himself with the renovation of the restaurant, making the rounds of the exterior and interior of the restaurant and Moran House for a long while where the classical and modern architectural beauties of the nation are blended with each other and their elegant, magnificent and exquisite styles are in perfect harmony.
The walk-in freezer pulsates with the spirit of Mt. Paektu!
He highly appreciated the feats the officials and builders of the Pyongyang City Bureau for Guidance to Construction have performed by turning Okryu Restaurant into an excellent public catering center by displaying the spirit of devoted service to people and extended thanks to them, expressing great satisfaction over the fact that the restaurant has been renovated on the best level so that it might win the admiration of even posterity.

He underscored the need for the modernly renovated restaurant situated on the picturesque bank of the River Taedong to make more brisk service to the people, indicating the tasks to be fulfilled by it and the ways to do so.

The last leg of his guidance was the renovated Chongryu Restaurant.

He learned in detail about the renovation of the restaurant, walking round the exterior and interior of the restaurant.

He highly appreciated the feats performed by the soldier builders, greatly satisfied to learn that they have completed the renovation project qualitatively in a brief span of time.

The Taedongmun Cinema House, Okryu Restaurant and Chongryu Restaurant are the fruits of the great love as they represent President Kim Il Sung's idea of believing in people as in Heaven, he said, adding: It is our sacred duty and noble moral obligation to glorify generation after generation these precious heritages bequeathed to us by the President.
The sacred socialist beanery!
He underlined the need to spruce up the above-said cinema house and restaurants at the best level as cultural and catering centers for people, and steadily improve service to people and thus give fuller play to the advantages of the people-centered socialist system in the DPRK.[...]

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Norman Finkelstein compared to violent shirtless man making grunting noises

A current post at the MPAC-UK site features one of the goofiest things I've seen there, which is saying quite a bit: a YouTube video of Norman Finkelstein making supposedly devastating points in a debate with Alan Dershowitz. Scenes of the debate alternate with scenes of Bruce Lee delivering decisive blows to bad guys. Here's the link. I'm not going to embed the thing in this post. MPAC's title: "Finkelstein wins Dershowitz debate - Bruce Lee style!" Everyone sing and grunt along:

Everybody was Nakba-sparring
It was a little bit jarring
It was quite misleading
It was done with special pleading

There was little Normie Fink
And little Allie Dersh
They said, "My historical sources
are more mainstream than yours."
It's a secondary source and everybody took the course
A well-sourced attack, right off the tenure track

Everybody was Nakba-sparring
It was a little bit jarring
It was quite misleading
It was done with special pleading

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A brief thought on L'affaire d'Steyn

The current hearing before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal may be a threat to freedom of the press, but at the moment it is generating a great deal of good writing. Even Johann Hari has some worthwhile things to say. I wonder if anyone has observed that if the complaint succeeds, then it will have succeeded in criminalizing the negative coverage of the hearing itself. After all, the negative view of the hearing is that it represents organized Islam (one example thereof, anyway) threatening freedom-of-speech in the West. That's precisely the sort of opinion that Steyn is on trial for expressing. (h/t: Tim Blair)

Lead Iranian News Agency continues energetic campaign to achieve acceptance of phrase "wiped off the map"

A spokesman for the Juan Cole campaign denied today a previous AP story that Cole would finally admit defeat for his campaign on behalf of the translation "vanish from the pages of time."
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said here Monday that the Zionist Regime of Israel faces a deadend and will under God's grace be wiped off the map.

"O dear Imam (Khomeini)! You said the Zionist Regime that is a usurper and illegitimate regime and a cancerous tumor should be wiped off the map. I should say that your illuminating remark and cause is going to come true today. The Zionist Regime has
lost its existence philosophy... the Zionist regime faces a complete deadend and under God's grace your wish will soon be materialized and the corrupt element will be wiped off the map," said President Ahmadinejad.

Addressing a ceremony on the 19th departure anniversary of the late Imam Khomeini, President Ahmadinejad said the Palestinian nation has distinguished its path and is proceeding rightly in the way.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the President termed the late Imam Khomeini as "flag bearer of monotheism" in the contemporary world and said Iranians will continue to remain loyal to his aspirations.
Cole campaign chairman Norman Chomsky told CNN the University of Michigan Professor was "absolutely not" conceding the campaign and said The Associated Press report was completely incorrect.

"The translation fight goes on until everyone learns Persian and that isn't there today and that is not at all what Professor Cole is going to talk about tonight," Chomsky said.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Monday, June 02, 2008

Pakikhomeinijugend Judenkoller

Mehr News explains: "In the 19th anniversary of the sad departure of Imam Khomeini an Ati- Zionist [sic] demonstration was held [in Lahore] on sunday."

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Sunday, June 01, 2008

"Traitor Lee Myung Bak and S. Korean Puppet Military Urged to Take Measure to Stop Scattering of Leaflets"

I bet you know what news agency this is from:
The head of the north side's delegation to the inter-Korean military working-level talks on Friday sent a notice to the puppet military taking a grave note of the fact that the Lee Myung Bak group set in motion the puppet military and right-wing anti-communist organizations in south Korea to resume all forms of scattering of leaflets against the DPRK.

Terming the above-said act a new intolerable provocative act of totally negating all the military agreements reached between both sides on implementing the historic June 15 joint declaration and the October 4 declaration, the head of the north side's delegation in the notice pointed to its grave nature.

Its increased gravity lies in that such action taken by the Lee Myung Bak group, in particular, is part of the pro-Japanese sycophantic act, a treacherous act to put pressure upon fellow countrymen in collusion with the Japanese reactionaries, the sworn enemy of the Korean nation, who brought so towering grudge to the Korean people, the notice said, and went on:

The Japanese reactionaries would be well advised not to forget even a moment that the army and people of the DPRK are closely following their daily escalating anti-DPRK moves and Japan's archipelago is within the range of merciless strike by the revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK.
They don't sound happy.

Obama and the physics of provisional retroactive renunciation

Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama announced on Friday, "with some sadness," that he was stipulating that all affiliations and personal relationships were retroactively renounced as of today in the event that any of his associates, friends, or family members makes statements or is revealed to have made statements that "totally conflict with my long-held views, statements and principles."

The sub-atomic physics community hailed this development as an unprecedented opportunity to test certain theories. Explained Professor Faivish Shimmelfarb of M.I.T., "The retroactive nature of the denunciation means that some of the people in Senator Obama's life are thrown under the bus right at this moment although there is no way to observe this fact. This creates a number of parallel universes. In some of them, for instance, Michelle Obama is now under the bus and in some of them she isn't."

Professor Shimmelfarb continued, "Anyone who seeks to criticize Senator Obama for his relationship with Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University, for instance, can now be told that Khalidi is, in fact, residing under the bus in a parallel universe which has just as much reality as the present one. And that's change you can believe in."

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Update: Somewhat along the same lines.

Update: This is beyond anyone's power of satire. Obama is not taking any chances choosing a new church right away. He actually told reporters, in reference to his delayed church choice, "We don't know how this nomination is going to go. We don't know how the remainder of the election is going to go."

Ramattan: "Hamas activist killed, 16 wounded in vague explosion"

When your English teacher told you to avoid vagueness, I bet you didn't realize it could be a matter of life and death:
A vague explosion in the house of a Hamas militant killed him and wounded 16 others of his relatives and neighbors, Witnesses and medics said.

Palestinian medical sources said that three of the wounded are in serious conditions.

Home neighbors said that the one stage home owned by Hamas activist Nader Abu Shaban was demolished after a huge explosion east of Gaza city.
Is that like a one-stage rocket?

Update: Looking for concise explosions of blogging excellence? Check out the latest Haveil Havalim and Carnival of the Insanities.