• "God invented war so Americans could learn geography" -- Mark Twain.

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Curious Frog on the Pond

The News: Reporting from Vienna on the Austrian elections [ link] , BBC interviewed Andreas Moelzer, the right wing Freedom Party's candidate after a speech in which he complained about "asylum seekers who never go home, scrounging foreigners and an overcentralised, meddling Brussels." Moelzer told BBC that "the claim by his political opponents after his party ran an advertisement opposing Israeli entry to the EU, that the Freedom Party is anti-Semitic" was "nonsense…"

The Note: Uh....what was that again? Opposing Israeli entry into EU? The geography is a tad off, isn't it? Apparently not. According to the European Union's official site,

"The Action Plan concluded with Israel helped give new energy and focus to EU-Israel relations. Its objective is to gradually integrate Israel into European policies and programmes. Every step taken is determined by both sides and the Action Plan is tailor-made to reflect Israel’s interests and priorities as well as its level of development." [link ]
Whew!!! Well that's a relief. I was worried that the EU would do something stupid and manifestly racist by tailoring steps to suit European interests.

The Euro-Mediterranean Agreement, signed in 1995 between Israel and the then members states of the European Union established "an association" between the members states and Israel in order " to establish lasting relations, based on reciprocity and partnership, and promote a further integration of Israel's economy into the European economy." To that end, the agreement promoted free trade, political coordination and security cooperation between the Jewish European Outpost in the Middle East (JErOME) and EU member states.

Well now... BBC may have been prophetically jumping the gun. The Euro-Mediterranan treaty doesn't quite provide for "union" .... but then again neither did the Treaty of Rome.

Left unclear was why Algeria, Tunnis, Morroco, Egypt, Lebanon and Turkey were not invited as well. Aren't they too frogs around the pond?


Monday, May 18, 2009

Palestine Peace Process Dead

The News:
Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu met with President Obama to "discuss moving the peace process along". Obama said that Israel must seize the moment and quickly resume peace talks with the Palestinians with the agreed upon goal of establishing an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Obama said that serious negotiations would be possible only if Netanyahu ordered an end to the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Obama accepted a linkage between settlement of Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the normalisation of relations with Iran, although it was not clear in which direction the linkage ran. In response, Bibi told Obama to go to hell.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Netanyahu said, “We’re ready to do our share, we hope the Palestinians will do their share as well.” Israel, he said, had no wish to govern the Palestinians who should govern themselves "except for a handful of powers that could endanger Israel." He was ready to start negotiations immediately. Palestinians "will have to recognize Israel as a Jewish state" but that done he could "envision an arrangement where Palestinians and Israelis live side by side."

The Note: In case Bibi hadn't noticed, Palestinians and Israelis are living side by side -- except it isn't a very nice side by side. But of course Bibi had noticed, just as he most surely noticed that under the present arrangement Israel retains a "handful of powers" that protect its security ... and a handful of settlements...and a handful of roads... and a handful militarized security belts .. and a handful of acquifers... and a hand on all building, water and use permits.

What Bibi's Blather intended was to razzle-dazzle an infintely stupified public with a sound-bite vision of Bambi in the forrest. Awwwww, Bibi ... he has such a good heart in the right place! Once again Israel proves its infinitely earnest desire for peace. And furthermore, it's the only real democracy in the middle east. And Jews are such plucky desert bloomers!

But, in case anyone had forgotten, this little Bambi believes in Greater Israel... a jewish homeland from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River. Everyone in Israel knows that and it is impossible to believe that any Jew living outside Israel does not know that. Bibi's Vision of "side by side" means on one and the other side of the Jordan River.

To be fair, Bibi, has appears willing to give up a lot of what he wants. We should give him heartfelt credit for the incredible sacrifices he -- and through him -- the Jewish People are willing to make. Unlike his foreign minister, Avidor Lieberman, Bibi never insisted on deporting West Bank Palestinians to the East. At least implicitly, his post-meeting remarks indicated a willingness to accept an arrangement where, except for a handful of powers, the Palestinians govern themselves in situ in the the three or four Arab enclaves in the West Bank, plus Gaza, minus Greater Metropolitan Jerusalem. Bibi's willingness to recognize the statu quo is such an astonishing act of good will and sacrifice for the sake of peace, that it borders on latent anti-semitism to evem siggest that Israel also [ ! ] stop building Jew-Only settlements in the West Bank. What next? A demand that the settlements be dismantled? It is totally unacceptable to demand such a thing of people who have suffered so much throughout history.

Faced with these magnanimous offers is it really too much to demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as Jewish State? Jews certainly deserve their own homeland to the exclusion of others As Gershon Baskin wrote in the Jerusalem Post (18 May 2009) "Israel is the state of the Jewish people in the same way that France is the state of the French people... and Iran is the nation-state of the Iranian people... [and Germany is the state of the Deutches Volk....]" ooops, OOOPS. Strike that last part.

Actually, Iran is not the state of any singular ethnic or religious group known as "Iranians" but incorporates into a geo-political entity a number of distinct ethnic groups including Kurds and Iranian Jews. The French people likewise encompass peoples of different races, different ethnic roots and different religions, including French Jews. If Israel is the place for Jewish people the way France is the place for the French people, I am sure French Jews will be delighted to hear that they are not French and do not belong in France anymore than Palestinians belong in the Jewish State and should be deported East to their homeland in Israel. Baskin is simply engaging in typical Zionist double talk whereby "jew" is a flexible category that means whatever it has to mean to make a particular argument.

The fact is that Israel is not officially a state soley for Jews (howsoever defined). Twenty percent of Israel's citizens are not Jews and U.N. resolutions also grant Palestinians who were dispersed from Israel at its creation the "right of return". The fact also is that the ruling Jewish majority in Israel has used every artifice and device to turn Israel into a de facto "Jewish State" where the Arab minority is politically and economically neutralized. What Bibi therefore wants is for the Palestinians to officially recognize the Zionist end-lossung of a Jewish Homeland and thereby renounce any right of return to their homes and lands in what had been Palestine.

The Bibi/Lieberman policy is no different from Nazi Germany's policy of creating a heimatland for all Volksdeutscher the world over. To be sure elements within the Nazi Party worked up a lot of racist blather about blue eyes and ear lobes, but in actuality all it took to prove that one was an "ethnic German" was proof of descent from someone with a German name who had been born in some historically German land. It helped if one spoke German but neither that nor any relgious qualification was required.

To be fair, a primordial right of association would seem to allow birds to flock together based on whatever feathers they choose. If left handed Albinos or Transgendered Leather Life Style persons want to form their own countries, so be it. God be with them. The Greeks certainly did not begrudge the Amazons. What they cannot do, however, is disposses, discriminate, degrade, deport and/or kill others who fall outside their chosen self-identification category. When the Nazis did that they passed over from tolerable self-love to intolerable hate of others.

It is hardly to be expected that the Palestinians will accept Israel's offer of a Ghetto-Bantustan Palestinian Homeland. They are hardly going to be taken in by Bibi's call for a "process" leading to some kind of "eventual homeland" after he ridiculed the Annapolis Declaration's call for a "process" leading to some kind of eventual "homeland," after he opposed the Madrid Protocol's call for a "process" leading to some kind of eventual "homeland" and after he outright repudiated the Oslo Accord's plan for a "process" leading to some eventual "homeland". Even the abject and acquiescent Abbas, President of the Palestinian West Bank Council, cannot accept and has rejected Netanyahu's demanded "vision" of an eventual peace. That being the case, the Israeli-Palestinian confict will remain unresolved, talk or no talk. If the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not resolved, everything else is beside the point.

Netanyahu's call to "broaden the circle of peace" -- i.e. for regional Israeli (Jewish)-Arab negotiations is an attempted end-run around the Palestinians. The aim is to play off Arab fears of Iran so as to get the Arab regimes to sell-out the Palestinians and ally themselves with Israel against Iran. That done, and now that Iraq has been reduced to rubble, Israeli hegemony over the Middle East would be complete.

What Bibi's Blather about standing together against "terrorism" and our "common foes" reflected was an attempt to sell Obama on his plan on the basis that "our hegemony is your hegemony" ergo the United States should help Israel keep Iran at bay, the Arabs in line and the Palestinians down. Obama wasn't buying. It's not that Obama doesn't want to turn the Islamic Crescent from Turkey to AfPakistan into a compliant U.S. protectorate; it's rather that he thinks we can entice Iran into subordinating itself without running the unthinkable risks of Bibi's High Noon style diplomacy. For Obama, coopting Iran requires getting the Palestinians to sign off on some Quisling Statehood that's just a little more dressed up than the self-annihilation Bibi demands.

The two were at loggerheads, so Bibi is off to the Hill to see how many chips he can call in.

©WCG, 2009


Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Debate Not Needed

The News: Amid much controversy, President Obama gave a commencement address at Notre Dame University where he called for a vigorous national debate on abortion.

The Note: Good God no!! The last thing this country needs is another consuming debate on abortion. The issue is intractable. It cannot be solved reasonably because there is, as yet, insufficient data as to when the foetus becomes a sentient human being with all essential faculties -- although science is close to answering that question. Alas, even given a rational basis for making decisions as to when and under what circumstances there exists a human life warranting legal protections, the consensus will be torn asunder from all corners by religious and philosophical irredentism.

No. What the country needs is a debate about our concept of society and the mode of production we need to adopt in order to provide social justice and an ecologically sustainable economy. We need to debate issues such as whether education should be the pathway to debt and whether illness the occasion for reaping profits. We need to debate whether we want to live in a militarized police state or whether, as a nation, we have something more to offer the rest of the world than being tuff and kicking ass. We need to debate the difference between living with one another as opposed to living next to one another.

There are many things we need to debate and abortion is not one of them. A person interested in producing fundamental social change would not call for a distracting debate over an emotionally charged issue beyond resolution or consensus. In fact, one might very well think that such a call was little more than an intended distraction aimed at preserving the statu quo.