Juan Cole: Fouad Ajami's Illusions





The odd collection of con men, carpetbaggers, mercenaries, court jesters, and professional propagandists that gathered around W. the way pilot fish jostle about a great white shark has now scattered to more obscure reefs. Now, as Meyrav Wurmser admitted, they are thinking about how to make money. They seek perches in the"think tanks" of kooky rich old white men, on the airwaves of corporate media, in the halls of the more corrupt corners of academia, or on the opinion pages of the wackier capitalist tools.

So it is that we now have to listen to Fouad Ajami attacking Barack Obama as a coddler of dictators, in the pages of Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal, whose editorial line brought us the current meltdown of the American economy and our ruinous foreign imbroglios. Ajami, from a southern, Lebanese Shiite background, has been for decades a trenchant critic of the pieties of Arab nationalism and a theorist of Neoconservatism.

Ajami appears not to recognize that in demanding that his adopted country, the United States, go about invading or bullying the Arab world and imposing American institutions on it, he is guilty of the same authoritarianism and lack of faith in the Arab little people as the dictators he professes to decry. Paul Bremer said as he arrived in Iraq,"We dominate the scene and we will continue to impose our will on this country," and Ajami cheered him on, playing a swooning La Malinche to Bremer's Hernan Cortes.

Ajami is so mesmerized by elite power that he even mistakenly attributes the success of Tom Paine's ideas to British arms (yes; see below).

Ajami begins his essay by quoting a passage from Obama's interview on al-Arabiya:

"To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect," President Barack Obama said in his inaugural. But in truth, the new way forward is a return to realpolitik and business as usual in America's encounter with that Greater Middle East. As the president told Al-Arabiya television Monday, he wants a return to"the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago."

Ajami maintains that George W. Bush put"the autocracies" of the Middle East"on notice." He toppled the Taliban and overthrew the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. He frightened Muammar Qaddafi of Libya, he writes, and helped drive Bashar al-Asad's troops willy-nilly from Lebanon.

But Ajami's narrative is selective and slanted. The original plan of the Bush administration for Iraq was to turn it over to corrupt financier Ahmad Chalabi as a soft strongman. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld spoke before the invasion of installing"something like" democracy in Iraq. But democracy is like pregnancy, an all or nothing matter, and Rumsfeld's hope that he could get Iraq a little bit pregnant predictably faltered on Iraqi popular mobilization and the fatwas of Grand Ayatollah Sistani, who, along with the Sunni Arab insurgency, forced Bush to grant open elections.

That Bush's panegyrists always invoke Libya is bizarre. Qaddafi clearly was maneuvered into coming in from the cold primarily by EU economic sanctions, and was also motivated by his own fear of a Muslim radicalism far more extreme than his own. As I noted five years ago,

'One caveat: Qadhafi hasn't offered to step down or become less dictatorial. This isn't an advance for democracy. The Bush administration, despite its rhetoric of democratization, still has to choose in the Middle East between having malleable, known strongmen in power, or having unpredictable democracies that might elect radical Islamists or others odious to Washington. I wouldn't bet a lot on the democratization policy. The US if anything has been urging countries like Tunisia and Yemen to be less democratic and less concerned about civil rights, in the cause of stamping out radical Islamism.'

So despite Ajami's attempt at misdirection, Bush's Libya policy involved coddling a dictator, and cannot be cited as an instance of steadfast commitment to democratization.

As for Lebanon, Bush did not force Syria out, the Lebanese people did. The first thing that happened to them once they chose Bush's security umbrella in preference to that of Damascus was that Bush gave the green light to the Israelis to bomb the country back to 1975, wiping out a generation of economic recovery, degrading infrastructure, scaring off foreign investment, creating massive unemployment, and dropping a million cluster bombs on the farms of Ajami's relatives in the south. Far from destroying Hizbullah, the Bush-Israeli program of what Ajami appears to think was tough love for his native land strengthened radical Shiism and paved the way for a national unity government in which Hizbullah has a virtual veto over government policy and has had its militia formally recognized as an arm of the Lebanese state. Syria's domination of little Lebanon was wrong, but Bush and Ajami's friends among the Neoconservatives were no friends of Beirut and were entirely willing to crush the Lebanese like cockroaches to attain their aims there. To laud Bush as a liberator of the land of the cedars after he actively lobbied against an Israeli ceasefire, prolonging the agony at least an extra month, is like lauding Boris Yeltsin as a liberator of Chechnya.

Ajami cites Samuel Huntington to argue that democracy does not well up from the people but is often"midwifed" by the"dominant power." He says that of 30 democratic countries in 1970, about half had become democratic via foreign rule or made the transition to democracy"right after independence from foreign occupation." But 30 is a very small N on which to generalize, and the Nazi conquest of much of Europe in addition to decolonization in the post-war period introduced profound ambiguities into the whole analysis. Dutch democracy was vital before the German conquest, but was restored by the Allied invasion; so do we count Holland's democracy as being the result of American and British foreign power, or as a result of internal class and economic developments in Holland over centuries, which were briefly interrupted by the Nazis? And, I'll bet you Ajami is counting India as such a case, even though the British ruled India autocratically and it was Indian social and political forces that opted for independent democracy, something Churchill would never have allowed.

Why Ajami wants to cite 40-year-old scholarship on democratization should be clear: because if we looked at The Economist's ranking [pdf] of 167 contemporary countries, we would find that 82 or about half, are"full" or"flawed" democracies. And among those 82, vanishingly few underwent a successful democratic transition because of foreign conquest.

Moreover, Ajami is sidestepping the most important question in democratic transitions, which is not what kicks them off but why they fail or succeed. Adam Przeworski has found that a relatively high per capita income ($8000 a year or more) is highly correlated with successful democratic transitions, whereas very poor countries often fail. The literature on states that depend on income from a single pricey primary commodity ("rentier" states) finds that they seldom function as democracies (Norway is the major exception and it developed its political institutions well before it got oil).

So in today's world, democracy is very seldom the result of foreign conquest, and successful democracy even less so. (The Economist is apparently not convinced that Patton's invasion of Italy has yet borne firm fruit).

Ajami even dares say that"The appeal of the pamphlets of . . . Paine relied on the guns of Pax Britannica."

Tom Paine? Did Ajami really say that? His appeal depended on George III's guns? I mean, Ajami is supposed to be a historian. His topsy-turvey theory of democracy imposed from above has led him to erase the real Tom Paine from history and substitute a bizarro Tom Paine who, instead of hanging out with Jacobins in revolutionary Paris, goes out to vanquish tyranny with the Red Coats at his back! Ajami appears to have gotten Tom Paine mixed up with Benedict Arnold. It might be a telling error.

Some of us think we know exactly what Tom Paine would have thought of W.

Ajami argues that the image of Saddam Hussein flushed out of his spider hole has given hope to the Arab masses that tyrants can be overthrown. But I don't know any Arabs who look at it that way. Most seem to see the humiliation of Saddam as a joint project of American imperialism and Iranian, Shiite plotting, and they see Saddam's botched execution as a Shiite lynching. Ajami's own Shiite background makes him so unsympathetic to Sunni Arab nationalism that he is a poor guide to mass sentiment outside the two Souths, of Lebanon and Iraq.

Ajami argues that W. was a"force for emancipation in Muslim lands," whereas Obama was signaling in his speech that he would accept the established order. He calls on Obama to"recognize" Bush as having been a liberator!

But a US military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan is not liberation, and nobody thinks it is, even the Iraqi Shiite political elite that Bush"midwifed" (he actually tried to forestall it by installing ex-Baathist strong man Ayad Allawi, but the Iraqi masses outfoxed him). If Ajami thinks that the basket case that is Afghanistan deserved flowery rhetoric and soaring figures of speech, he should compose an ode to Somalia while he is at it.

Ajami contrasts Obama, whom he configures as a Republican Realist in the Brent Scowcroft tradition, to emancipator Bush.

But note that it was Bush who backed Gen. Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan to the hilt against the masses and the politicians clamoring for a free judiciary and open parliamentary elections. And it was Barack Obama who congratulated Pakistanis on their return to civilian democracy. Ajami invents an imaginary democratic Bush and an imaginary Republican Obama.

Let us consider Bush's actual relations with Middle Eastern states beyond Pakistan, which would in itself be enough to demonstrate the falsity of Ajami's case. At what point did Bush pressure King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to turn himself into a constitutional monarch? When did Bush cut off the $2 billion a year his government bestowed on Hosni Mubarak's soft military dictatorship in Egypt? Did he not accept Qaddafi back into the fold without putting any 'democratic' preconditions on the deal? What of Gaza and the West Bank? Does Israel run them as"democracies"? Did Bush give a rat's ass?

Ajami the prestidigitator makes the elephant of Abu Ghraib, military occupation, the displacement of 4 million Iraqis from their homes, the excess deaths of a million, all disappear in favor of a shining Baghdadi democracy on a hill. The unstable and possibly violent confrontation of Arab and Kurd is celebrated as a tolerant binational state.

By focusing on this fantasy, of a stable democratic transition in places like Afghanistan (!), and by selectively ignoring all the dictatorial regimes Bush held hands with and kissed on both cheeks, Ajami sets up a false dichotomy that allows him to smear Obama.

Ajami descends to new lows in denying that the Palestinians have any legitimate grievances or that their resistance is grounded in those discontents, and blames Obama for acknowledging this obvious fact. (Readers should know that when the Israeli army expelled 100,000 Palestinians into south Lebanon in 1948, the Palestinian refugees found themselves competing for resources with Lebanese Shiites. While Shiite Islamists made common cause with the Palestinians, many traditional or secular Lebanese Shiites came to dislike them. They even garlanded Israeli soldiers who invaded Lebanon in 1982 to destroy the Palestine Liberation Organization, whose local leaders or za'ims had often assassinated or displaced Shiite notables in the south). Ajami's hatred of the Palestinians has a local history, which he has not transcended, and he apparently still keeps garlands to give out to the enemy of his enemy.

Ajami makes a pitiful plea for Obama and the US to go back to imagining that Osama Bin Laden is ten feet tall and that we are still plunged into a fateful confrontation with a new Soviet Union-type threat. In fact, al-Qaeda was a small, clever terrorist organization that has been largely if not completely disrupted. Further bankrupting the country by exaggerating its importance makes no sense to anyone who doesn't get millions of dollars in consulting fees as a"terrorism expert." This is not to say that al-Qaeda or other groups of that sort are not dangerous or should not be fought. It is to say that they are not the end-all and be-all of American foreign policy, however much Ajami would like them to be.

Ajami keeps warning us against the return of the Clinton age, as though peace and prosperity were bad and we should be nostalgic for the cataclysmic Bush era.

Let the Middle East get to democracy as Brazil and the Czech Republic and Taiwan have. We live in the age of the Third Wave of demoratization, not in 1945. We know the paths by which advances are made in our own time. Ajami's ways are those of another, darker era, and his aspirations, of playing comprador or dragoman to a friendly enlightened emperor, belong to an imperial epoch that is long past.

Ajami and his fellow travelers have gone a large way toward destroying everything good about the United States. If he wants to be a democratic revolutionary, let him emulate the real Tom Paine and go back to the Middle East and agitate for democracy there, instead of lolling about on the emoluments of the Hoover Institution in perilous Palo Alto. Tom Paine did not actually have the Empire's armies marching alongside him, and neither should Ajami expect to. Even less should he expect the rest of us to go on frittering away billions that we do not even have on his fantastic project of making fourth-world countries into advanced democracies at the point of a bayonet.

One of the most delightful things about January 20 is that it marked the end of a long Dark Age in which persons with Ajami's views had the ear of power in Washington.




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art eckstein - 2/14/2009

Oh, NO--Not SHAHAK AGAIN!

Omar, you CANNOT employ a source that has been proven to be a liar, as Shahak has more than once on HNN. This is basic historiographical method.



N. Friedman - 2/14/2009

1. Strike the language near the outset that reads: "Two points:"

2. Strike the language that reads: "Well, it depends on what that means. If it means that the choice, at the start, ought to be for all to work together."

Substitute: Well, it depends on what that means. If it means that the choice, at the start, ought to be for all to work together, that is fine.\

Delete the following: "No. I have no problem with Mexicans migrating to the US, so long as it is through legal channels. There is, however, already a country here. So, the analogy you raise does not hold. In historic Palestine, there was no country. So the issue was to find a way for all who lived there to build a country. The Arab side failed to recognize that - or, at least the most violent elements failed to recognize that and brought catastrophe to the Arab side."

Substitute: No. I have no problem with Mexicans migrating to the US, so long as it is through legal channels. There is, however, already an established government here. So, the analogy you raise does not hold. In historic Palestine, there was no established government. So the issue was to find a way for all who lived there to build a nation. The Arab side failed to recognize that - or, at least the most violent elements failed to recognize that and brought catastrophe to the Arab side.


N. Friedman - 2/14/2009

Omar,

I am going to skip your bombastic manner of writing because, for a change, I think you have gone to the trouble to make a real argument.

You write: Am I, are readers, to understand from the above that:
a- You find it perfectly normal for the Chinese who migrated into the USA in good numbers at one time to “ have (Chinese ambitions and designs) politics and it usually - probably always - is friendly to their own, not towards those they encounter.”


Two points:

Assuming that your analogy is correct - about which I shall address the point in connection with your comments about Mexicans who migrate to the US -, Chinese who have come to America have their own political ambitions, just like every group that has come to the US. And, such ambitions have been decidedly friendlier to their own interests than to the interests of other groups. I see nothing wrong with that. In fact, the American political system has mechanisms for dealing with competing political interests, whether asserted by ethnic, social or other groupings of people. That, after all, is what Democracy is about.

You continue:

b- Would you have concurred that the ” answer to such politics is to find a compromise,”??

Absolutely. That is what occurs in politics. The alternative leads to mindless bloodshed.

You then write:

c- More to the point: would you apply your rationale, and conclusions, to Mexicans presently migrating, legally and illegally, into Texas??
(That is, of course, assuming that your primary allegiance is to the USA).


The issue with Mexicans entering the US differs substantially from the situation of Jews migrating, legally and illegally, to what is now Israel.

First, the similarities. Mexican culture is very much different from American culture and that has led to some friction that, in turn, has brought out political issues in the country (e.g. regarding language, regarding job competition, etc., etc.). That has occurred with every group which has ever migrated in large numbers to the US and American culture and politics has been effected in each instance. Such is perfectly normal.

Second, a small group of Mexicans has come to the US with a political agenda that relates to Mexico and returning certain portions of US territory to Mexico - territory captured by the US by means of war. Jews never had a similar political agenda. The agenda of Zionists came with them and related to building a homeland where they lived, not joining where they lived to a foreign homeland. So, the politics are very different.

Be that as it may, those Mexicans who come to the US have the right to their politics. Those who come illegally risk being deported. Those here legally can advance their political agenda, whatever it is, openly. I have no problem with that. If they advocate ceding land to Mexico - a stupid idea but nonetheless intelligible -, that is their right under our system of government. If they convince the government to accept their position, then the land could be ceded.

The big issue in historic Palestine is that there was little in the way of local politics when Jews from Europe began to join their brethren who had always lived in the country. Political decision making for the region had, after all, previously been the job of the Sultan in Istanbul. That was the case until the demise of the Ottoman Empire. So, the issue was, both for the local population - Jewish and Arab and Turkish and others - to build a political system where there was none.

So, there was no local decision making process in the region. Jews proposed to build a homeland among Arabs who lived in the area and to share rule with Arabs - as was the expressed view of both Herzl (as advocated in his Utopian novel - used to convince people to migrate to the country, which strongly suggests that it represented the view of most who eventually did migrate) and the right winger Jabotinsky.

My reading of the history is that the original goal was to establish a Democracy but, at the same time, see to it that the Democracy explicitly protected Jews from the whims and prejudices of other groups - a problem that had existed in Europe and in Arab countries. It was thought that such was possible to do with Palestine's Arabs, a group seen, at least by the Jewish left wing, as being as ripe for political emancipation as were Jews.

So, as I see it - and placing it within the purview of what you have argued - the "primary allegiance [of Zionists] is to the" the country, not to some foreign country. The problem, as I see it, is that elements - the most violent elements - within Arab society perceived the very threat you express but which, in fact, was not the real threat they faced. So, the Arab side made serious political errors of judgment which led to what was, for Arabs, clearly a catastrophe. Again, the mistake was to misinterpret the aims of the Zionists, leading to a reaction that precluded reaching a political compromise.

You write:

a-Do you think it is possible for ALIEN emigrants who :” , yes, Jews sought to build a country where none had existed since ancient time.” in an already populated country without trespassing over the rights of its indigenous population ?

No. I do not think that was possible. What I think was possible was a compromise that would have benefited all involved. I think the Jewish side was prepared, until they were attacked, to reach that compromise. And compromise would have been best but, as history played out, that is not what occurred and that is no longer possible.

You continue:

b-Is it acceptable to you that Mexicans endeavor:” to build a (Mexican)country (in Texas) where none had existed since ancient time.” Although such a “country “ did exist to a relatively very recent date??

Well, Mexicans did exactly that. They built a country called Mexico. The issue you raise is whether Mexico ought once again rule Texas. My answer is that if they can convince the government of the US to go along with that, fine.

c- Do you find it natural, acceptable and reasonable for the newcomers to have the privilege /the option “to include (indigenous) Arabs in the country,” ??
Is that NOT the privilege /the prerogative of the indigenous population and NOT of the newcomers”??


Well, it depends on what that means. If it means that the choice, at the start, ought to be for all to work together. If, however, one side decides to attack the other side with violence, then the issue becomes what to do about it. [Note: As I see it, migrating and buying homes is not an attack. It is non-violent.] At that point, there is an issue, for the side that is attacked, of whether they can live with the other side. So, it all depends.

You write:

a-Do you find it reasonable , justifiable and acceptable to you as, presumably a loyal citizen of the USA, for emigrants into USA to harbour from the outset ambitions for , say a Japanese “joint rule” ( as once being accused of) as in your “The Zionist plan (i.e. the original plan) of joint rule”.

I accept that a person of Japanese origin can be part of the ruling group in the US and, in appropriate situations, become president. That, however, is different from joining the US with Japan. Your question confuses those two circumstances into being one and the same. In fact, Jews did nothing like proposing that the country be ruled with a foreign country.

You write:

b-Once again is that “joint rule,” NOT a privilege and prerogative of the native /indigenous population and NOT of the emigrants who come in , if allowed, on sufferance to preserve the national/cultural identity of the country that accepts them as emigrants?

The issue of who enters a country is one for the government. In the US, those who enter the country may try to - and, in fact, have normally succeeded in - changing the culture of the country. That is the norm in the US. That is why the US is the world's greatest country.

You write:

IS it NOT only fair and justifiable, morally and legally, for the indigenous population to resist them as colonialists with their own vision on how to transform the country in a manner to help and support their own, DIVERGENT , political designs and ambitions!

No, that is not reasonable because it confuses migrants with outside political powers. By analogy, in India, Gandhi objected to the British colonial machine, not to people who migrated to India. In the case of Jews, they were not the British. Their aims were local. Which is to say, like people all over the world who have migrated, they had a right to a say in the governance of the country.

You write:

THE UTTERLY irrefutable historical fact is that Zionist Jews, being the overwhelming majority of Jews who sought or were allowed migration into PALESTINE , came in with the predetermined political/cultural/national goal to take over the country all partaking in and reflecting Wiseman’s declaration at Versailles
“ We want a Palestine/Israel as Jewish as France is French.”


What he was saying is that he wanted a country to which Jews would migrate in large numbers so that the country would primarily be filled with Jews. That is perfectly normal. The US was, for a very long time, primarily Anglo-Saxon. That is no longer the case, as ought be obvious to the entire world with the election of Mr. Obama as President. So, I do not see your point.

You write:

4-However should your rationale be applied to the USA of which you are, presumably, a loyal citizen it would be only reasonable and inevitable to arrive at the following conclusions:
a-Friedman was/is, im principle, for Japanese unrestricted emigration into the USA, or Hawaii, with the full knowledge that Japanese emigrants would entertain political designs and ambitions that would, acceptably to Friedman, entail the privilege to eventually “build a (Japanese) country.”


I have no problem with Japanese migrating to the US. I have no doubt that they would continue - since Japanese do migrate here and live in considerable numbers, among other places, in my city - bring their ideas of politics into the US. Note: our country also has maybe thirty million Irish people, maybe that or more Germans, etc., etc. Each has put their stamp on the country and its politics.

The issue, however, is not analogous to the creation of Israel. The politics of the time were, to the extent that they existed on the Arab side, pan-Arab, meaning that most Arabs identified themselves politically not with the land which became Israel but with the entire region. So, there would be one small part of that region which would have a different culture - a mixed culture, in fact. In that regard, if Japanese were to dominate Hawaii and to bring their Japanese culture to that land, that is perfectly fine. It is what happens when people migrate.

b-Friedman IS for unrestricted MEXICAN migration into TEXAS in the full knowledge that that would, most probably, lead to the implementation of their right “to build a (Mexican) country” therein.

No. I have no problem with Mexicans migrating to the US, so long as it is through legal channels. There is, however, already a country here. So, the analogy you raise does not hold. In historic Palestine, there was no country. So the issue was to find a way for all who lived there to build a country. The Arab side failed to recognize that - or, at least the most violent elements failed to recognize that and brought catastrophe to the Arab side.

You write, lastly:

c-Friedman definitely supports such Mexican migration into, say, Texas and has no worries about it since the Mexicans intend to allow “joint rule” over it which will “include” the people of Texas,

I have already addressed this point. Again, I have no problem with Mexicans migrating to the US. They ought have the same right to participate in politics as everyone else. The US, unlike historic Palestine, has a functioning government and, in fact, there is joint rule, in some parts of the country, with those Mexicans who have
become citizens. There are people of Mexican origin in Congress, who are governors, etc., etc.

That last point is the very problem you fail to grasp. The violent elements in the leadership of the Arab side misunderstood the situation. They brought themselves catastrophe. In the US, we have had tens of millions of immigrants - numbers which you fail to comprehend. The genius of our system is that we have a place for migrants. So, people come here and realize that they can participate in the governance of the system. There is joint rule among the different groups here.

In the case of the Arabs in the Middle East, the idea of joint rule appears not to have sunk in sufficiently which is why one reason why there is so much violence. And, it is not limited to Israel. The same is true in Lebanon and everywhere else.


omar ibrahim baker - 2/14/2009



Mr Friedman
No amount of mild words and presumptions at a reasonable approach can hide neither the innate Zionist rationale that you adopt nor mitigate your justification and defense of same.

Your underlying rationale as in your declared statements, when objectively scrutinized, lead to the inevitable conclusions about the ultimate Jewish/Zionist ideals, designs and ambitions.
To consider some of your claims and assertions:

1- You state:” That those who came to the country had political objectives is merely an excuse you have raised. All people have politics and it usually - probably always - is friendly to their own, not towards those they encounter. The answer to such politics is to find a compromise, not to seek to kill off your opponents.“

Am I, are readers, to understand from the above that:
a- You find it perfectly normal for the Chinese who migrated into the USA in good numbers at one time to “ have (Chinese ambitions and designs) politics and it usually - probably always - is friendly to their own, not towards those they encounter.”
b- Would you have concurred that the ” answer to such politics is to find a compromise,”??
c- More to the point: would you apply your rationale, and conclusions, to Mexicans presently migrating, legally and illegally, into Texas??
(That is, of course, assuming that your primary allegiance is to the USA).

2-You state:” So, yes, Jews sought to build a country where none had existed since ancient time. But, no, the plan was, contrary to what you claim, to include Arabs in the country, not to exclude them. “
a-Do you think it is possible for ALIEN emigrants who :” , yes, Jews sought to build a country where none had existed since ancient time.” in an already populated country without trespassing over the rights of its indigenous population ?
b-Is it acceptable to you that Mexicans endeavor:” to build a (Mexican)country (in Texas) where none had existed since ancient time.” Although such a “country “ did exist to a relatively very recent date??
c- Do you find it natural, acceptable and reasonable for the newcomers to have the privilege /the option “to include (indigenous) Arabs in the country,” ??
Is that NOT the privilege /the prerogative of the indigenous population and NOT of the newcomers”??

3-You state:” The Zionist plan (i.e. the original plan) of joint rule.”
a-Do you find it reasonable , justifiable and acceptable to you as, presumably a loyal citizen of the USA, for emigrants into USA to harbour from the outset ambitions for , say a Japanese “joint rule” ( as once being accused of) as in your “The Zionist plan (i.e. the original plan) of joint rule”.
b-Once again is that “joint rule,” NOT a privilege and prerogative of the native /indigenous population and NOT of the emigrants who come in , if allowed, on sufferance to preserve the national/cultural identity of the country that accepts them as emigrants?
IS it NOT only fair and justifiable, morally and legally, for the indigenous population to resist them as colonialists with their own vision on how to transform the country in a manner to help and support their own, DIVERGENT , political designs and ambitions!

THE UTTERLY irrefutable historical fact is that Zionist Jews, being the overwhelming majority of Jews who sought or were allowed migration into PALESTINE , came in with the predetermined political/cultural/national goal to take over the country all partaking in and reflecting Wiseman’s declaration at Versailles
“ We want a Palestine/Israel as Jewish as France is French.”

4-However should your rationale be applied to the USA of which you are, presumably, a loyal citizen it would be only reasonable and inevitable to arrive at the following conclusions:
a-Friedman was/is, im principle, for Japanese unrestricted emigration into the USA, or Hawaii, with the full knowledge that Japanese emigrants would entertain political designs and ambitions that would, acceptably to Friedman, entail the privilege to eventually “build a (Japanese) country.”
b-Friedman IS for unrestricted MEXICAN migration into TEXAS in the full knowledge that that would, most probably, lead to the implementation of their right “to build a (Mexican) country” therein.
c-Friedman definitely supports such Mexican migration into, say, Texas and has no worries about it since the Mexicans intend to allow “joint rule” over it which will “include” the people of Texas,


N. Friedman - 2/13/2009

Omar,

So far as I know, the original attacks on Jews after the Balfour Declaration consisted of a massacre by local Arabs of indigenous Jews who lived in Hebron, where they had roots from before the time any Arabs had arrived in the region. Those Arabs who attacked made no distinctions between Zionists and non-Zionists - and the Hebron Jews were not Zionists. That really does not square well with your bald assertions. In fact, such shows your assertions to be wrong.

The obvious problem with your position is perhaps why you employ inflammatory language. It is your substitute for a fact based argument.

Frankly, I do not take your position as factually well considered and, even if it were, it is irrelevant. That those who came to the country had political objectives is merely an excuse you have raised. All people have politics and it usually - probably always - is friendly to their own, not towards those they encounter. The answer to such politics is to find a compromise, not to seek to kill off your opponents.

So, yes, Jews sought to build a country where none had existed since ancient time. But, no, the plan was, contrary to what you claim, to include Arabs in the country, not to exclude them. Unless, of course, you are claiming that Jews were fooling themselves in the 1920's when they supported compromises favoring joint rule. Consider, though, Omar, that there were Arabs who worked with Jews on such compromises.

That idea broke down due to the ascendancy of the al-Husseini political bloc, a bloc which had no interest in compromise and which killed and harassed Arabs interested in reaching a compromise. It created a consensus of sorts by destroying its political opponents and, evidently, with arms obtained from the Nazis.

The Zionist plan (i.e. the original plan) of joint rule - which was the view both of the majority party and the right wing party - may have been a pipe dream. It may be that what is necessary to make Jews and Arabs happy cannot be reconciled. That is certainly possible. But, your assertion that the plan was always to supplant Arabs and to drive Arabs out is untrue.

Come now, Omar, make a real argument. Get some facts next time.


omar ibrahim baker - 2/13/2009

Mr Friedman
Jewish emigration to Palestine was rejected and opposed in the full knowledge that they were coming in as Zionists!.
That is as a community intent on supplanting the indigenous Arab people of Palestine in their own homeland with ALIENS to establish their own ALIEN nation/state after dislocating, dispossessing, disfranchising and sujugating its indigenous ARAB population.
(Which is theexact historical record of what happened.)

ANY OTHER NATION once aware of their intentions and designs would have resisted them as much!
MANY NATIONS, well known to you, resisted their migration for much lesser reasons; as you know!
RACE had nothing to do with it which , understandably, is hard to accept by inborn racists.


omar ibrahim baker - 2/13/2009


Mr Green
None of which gibberish above ( your post #131996) addresses the question of your knowledge and understanding of the Koran that you so fondly, and frequently, quote with full incomprehension and deliberate distortive extrapolation.

However; assuming what you claim is true, which historically it is NOT, the analogy you draw, and the hypothesis derived there from, only confirms the RETROGRESSIVE, reactionary and human progress denying nature of Zionism and its pernicious, aggressive and racist outgrowth: Israel..
Which hypothesis, as derived from and based on your analogy, can only mean that Zionism in the Twentieth century AD was/ is only replicating and reenacting what was done some thirteen centuries ago by the Arabs, according to your analogy .

Which analogy, hypothesis and conclusion ignores, negates, nullifies, despises and discards the huge human progress of the last thirteen centuries in the field of national and human rights and the moral/legal dictates, principles , laws and conventions etc emanating there from and based thereon.

That doctrine that you espouse which "ignores , negates nullifies and discards the huge human progress of the last thirteen centuries in the field of national and human rights", AND glorifies colonialist conquest and plundering and tramples on others' rights is an apt depiction of Zionism and its outgrowth Israel.

In a way that, the genesis of Zionism and the over riding influence of its cultural springhead in its development into a political doctrine , is exactly what the late Professor Israel Shahak investigated, proved and presented perceptively and rationally, about you, yours and about Zionism and Israel in his monumental, impeachably documented, book:
"Jewish History, Jewish Religion : The Weight of Three Thousand Years" available at: http://www.geocities.com/israel_shahak/book1.htm)


N. Friedman - 2/13/2009

Omar,

Your "ALIENS" are fellow human beings. They have a right to migrate to anywhere where refuge is available. Such is a basic human right. Your objection to that on the ground that they are ALIENS is racist bigotry of the most extreme right wing form.


Elliott Aron Green - 2/13/2009

...a marauding, dislocating, dispossessing, aggressive, expansionist, usurping and racist colony turned into a "nation/state" quoth `Umar.

`Umar, seems like the above quote from you is a perfect description of the early Arab/Muslim conquests in the 7th and 8th centuries. The Arab historian Baladhdhuri [also, Baladhuri] described how the Arab conquerors drove out all or nearly of the population living in the coastal cities of the Land of Israel and Syria in the initial 7th century conquest. Tripoli in Lebanon, for example, was emptied of its population [mainly Christian] and others, Jews, were brought in --by forced transfer apparently-- to take their place. Arabs took homes and real estate away from natives in many places in Israel, Syria, Egypt, and Iraq. Population was transferred from one place to another. Many fled to the Byzantine Empire. Many were massacred, including Jews, Christians, and Samaritans. Not quite a peaceful conquest.

Yet, an Arab now has the hutspah to describe the Arabs in Israel as "indigenous." Of course, we could be nice and describe the Arab takeover of the country as a usurpation. Doesn't that sound nicer than occupation??


omar ibrahim baker - 2/13/2009

Mr Green
Does the Koran foretell that as a marauding, dislocating, dispossessing, aggressive, expansionist, usurping and racist colony turned into a "nation/state"??

Is that your reading and understanding of the Koran, Mr Green!

Or is it as the ability, denied by others, for Jews, NOT for a Jewish/Zionist nation/state, to be near to what is cherished by them??

Your ill willed reading and perverted knowledge of the Koran is not ONLY distortingly selective BUT seems to be scantier than mine which is, I hasten to add, very elementary and rudimentary!

As goes the sagacious saying: A little knowledge is truly a dangerous thing.


Elliott Aron Green - 2/13/2009

Omar, your own Quran foretells the Jewish return to the Jews' land.


omar ibrahim baker - 2/13/2009


With the likes of Green and Friedman the most basic dictates of natural law, morality, reason and rudimentary common sense are so shamelessly bent and negated that one can not help but wonder as to what is the matter with them and reflect on the driving force behind them.

Both among several others of the same confessional/political affiliation, try to defend to ultimately justify a brazen colonialist conquest that led to the forced implantation of a foreign body into a land, against the express will of its overwhelming popular majority, that eventually resulted in:
a-The total disfiguration of the national /cultural identity of that land from Palestinian Arab (both Moslem and Christian) to Jewish/Israeli

b-The sup plantation of a great part of the indigenous population of that land with ALIENS selected and amassed after being racially screened for admission

c--The dislocating, dispossession, subjugation and disfranchisement of the majority of the land’s indigenous population to the benefit of in coming ALIENS including dwelling in the homes and tilling the land of the indigenous population

d-The establishment of an aggressive, expansionist and racist nation/state in that land which does not only deny its indigenous population the right to Return to his homeland but has an increasingly vociferous element that calls for further ETHNIC CLEANSING of the rest of that indigenous population from his homeland while always inviting and welcoming more, racially screened, Aliens to come in for further sup plantation.

e- The establishment of a nation/state coveting more of the adjoining land surrounding it
and harbouring designs and ambitions for regional supremacy and domination.

Such people have no compunctions defending and justifying the process ( dislocation, dispossession, subjugation and disfranchisement of the lands indigenous population) that led to the birth and establishment of this anomalous monster of a nation/state, including shameless ingratitude to its primary benefactor, imperialist Britain, NOR defending the practices that sustains it: aggression and expansionist designs, denial of others’ inalienable rights, upholding and implementing racist policies and entertaining supremacy and domineering ambitions.

Here we have a case of complete inversion, a flat contradiction, the denial and perversion of all that human kind has come to respect and uphold as basic natural justice and inalienable human rights which, nevertheless, finds people eager to defend and justify!

So the question reasserts it self:
“what is the matter with them and reflect on the driving force behind them ??“

***-The matter with them is that, having been brought up according to an intrinsically racist, self centered culture that imbued them with the notion of being “chosen” and unique, of enjoying extra rights and privileges over other human, that glorifies aggression and trespassing over others’ rights THEY came to believe that if it serves THEM then that, whatever that happens to be, is right and righteous and ALL that serves them is justifiable; according to that same culture.

***-The driving force behind them is Zionism which translates that culture into a concrete political doctrine that dictates a master plan which justifies aggression , expansionism, racist discrimination and the total denial of others’ rights.

(The late Professor Israel Shahak has a unique and highly perceptive insider’s look and insight on this phenomenon in his book:
"Jewish History, Jewish Religion : The Weight of Three Thousand Years" at: http://www.geocities.com/israel_shahak/book1.htm)

That doctrine climaxed by convincing some people that 5+5 = 50; if that mathematics serves them OR that 5+5=2, if that serves them better!


Elliott Aron Green - 2/12/2009

"demographic mutilation" -- now that's a lovely term. It's also an excuse for genocide and ethnic cleansing.

But back to facts. The pre-war Jewish population in what later was named "Palestine" as the territory of the Jewish National Home juridically erected at San Remo in 1920, endorsed by the League in 1922, wss as I said above, about 70,000 to 80,000. You, Omar, refer to the King-Crane Commission. This commission was sent to the Middle East AFTER WW One. If the K-C Commission's report contained contemporary population numbers, then they represented the POST-WW One situation. Many thousands of Jews had been deported from the country by the Ottoman Empire during the War. Many Jews were expelled from their homes within the country although not deported. Some died of starvation, as did some Arabs. Jews such as the NILI group [led by Aaron Aaronsohn] feared that the Ottoman state intended to kill them off as the Armenians had been. Be that as it may, the post-WW One Jewish population of the country was about 2/3 of the pre-war numbers, for various reasons. King-Crane would have reflected those post-war numbers.

Now, in the British period, the Jews in the country increased by natural means, such as births, not only by immigration. So the approx. 450,000 to 500,000 Jews in the country before WW 2 were only partly the result of immigration during the period of British rule. Some Jews had always lived in the Land even after the Bar Kokhba revolt's defeat and after the Crusader massacres, and Muslim oppression, etc. Other Jews had immigrated in the post-Crusades periods under Mamluks and Ottomans, especially in the 19th century. These Jews, already a majority in Jerusalem in 1853, were not a result of British control of the country.


N. Friedman - 2/12/2009

Omar,

Let us concede - merely for purposes of argument - that you are right. While I think your view is contrary to fact, I am willing to concede it to discuss your point.

My point remains that your concern about migration amounts to extremist bigotry of the worst sort. People are not plants. They migrate and that migration is a basic - in fact, perhaps the most basic - human right, whether to make a better life or to escape oppression. Small minded bigots take issue with such migration, claiming that such migration alters the culture or character of a country.

Frankly, so what that the character of the country changed? Why should it remain as it was? Was the culture so sacred that it must remain unchanged?

Again, I think your opinion is extreme right wing bigotry that a person over the age of 2 knows to be hateful.


N. Friedman - 2/12/2009

Omar,

Migration is the norm of history. It occurs all over the world, often against the wishes of the population.

In Europe today, were you to ask the average person, they would say that the Muslim immigrants should never have come. Yet, politicians allowed such to occur. And this when many of the leaders of those who immigrated proclaim openly that they will conquer their new homes for Islam - changing the culture and customs of their new homes.

As I have said, migration is the norm in history. There is nothing immoral about it, whether it is Jewish immigration or Muslim immigration. It is, rather, bigoted local people who object to the normal flow of human beings who hope to make a better life or to escape oppression.

So, what I see you doing is arguing in favor of classical far right political opinions, which say that people are potted plants and have no right to migrate to escape oppression or for a better life, etc., etc. Instead, such people must accept whatever tyranny awaits them.

I have no patience for your bigotry. Historic Palestine has, more than most lands, been the subject of migration, by Christians, by Muslims and by Jews. And, migrants have always changed the places they moved to - whether to historic Palestine or anywhere else.

So, frankly, I think your argument is bigoted nonsense that is unworthy of a person over the age of 2.


omar ibrahim baker - 2/12/2009

Mr Friedman
you state:
"Britain did not vote in favor of the UN partition plan. It abstained. "

Then ask:
"How does that fit your version of reality ?"
My vision of reality is based on the undoubted historical fact that it was Britain who , by allowing Jewish emigrants into Palestine, always against the express will and relentless opposition of the indigenous Palestinian people, laid the foundations of Israel.

British mandate allowed alien Jewish migration into Palestine
,always against the express will of its people, transformed the Jewish population from the 10 % of total to some 40%+ thereby providing the basis of the bogus claim for "national rights" over the land of Palestine !
This conscious and willful mutilation of the demographic composition of Palestine, more than any other single factor, is the major cause behind the UNGA Partition of Palestine resolution.
All the rest, including Green's down the blog, are details that did NOT determine nor substantially influence the outcome nor did constitute in any rational diagnosis a major shift of a British pro Israel policy nor diminish Britain's responsibility for the Naqba which comes a close second to Zionism’s!.
That is my VISION!


omar ibrahim baker - 2/12/2009

If that IS ALL that you know about British policy in Palestine ...more is the pity for your students Prof!


omar ibrahim baker - 2/12/2009


Mr Green

"The British let in a couple of hundred of thousands of Jews before the 1939 White Paper"…… that is the only pertinent answer you present to my question despite the "couple" which implies two and can also mean the figure nearest to the truth: four.
The rest of your post is gibberish and irrelevant obfuscation riddled with outright fabrications.

Actually the net result, effect, is that the British mandate turned the pre WWI 10% +/- (cf King-Crane) of Jews into something like 40% + of the total population of Palestine despite the unwavering opposition of the indigenous Palestinian people.

On this demographic mutilation of Palestine the Zionist movement based its "national claim" for a state and was awarded 52% of the era of Palestine by the UNGA.
It would be utterly preposterous, but not unexpected from you and yours, to claim that Israel could have been established without that British mandate deliberate demographic mutilation of Palestine .


If, Mr Green, you fail to appreciate and admit that that demographic mutilation of Palestine was the foundation on which Israel was established in Palestine by the UNGA further "dialogue" would be pointless and 5+5 would be 50.

However it is only to be expected and is totally true to form and tradition that what Britain gets in return is your, singular and plural, crass ingratitude.
Serves Britain right , though, for promising then giving away to aliens that which it does not own.


Elliott Aron Green - 2/11/2009

Art, I don't want to get into specifics on the question you ask. However, please bear in mind the British hostility to Jews during the Holocaust [while the White Paper policy was in force] and through the 1947-49 war and subsequently, it is reasonable to deduce. Zamir's research revealed things to me that were hinted at in books written in the late 1940s, early 1950s, about Israel's independence struggle. But Zamir's research is fascinating and revealing. Consider his evidence as evidence of deep hostility towards the Jewish state principle.

Then consider the great British prowess at psywar and propaganda. Ask if deep hostility plus psywar prowess would not have produced attempts to reverse the rise of the State of Israel, which was anathema to British policy. Meanwhile, Arab expert witnesses before the Anglo-American Commission of Inquiry on Palestine claimed that there was "no Palestine in history," it was all Syria.

Now, given such an attitude on the part of the Arabs, plus the known devotion to Arab nationalism, that is, pan-Arabism, by the Palestinian Arabs, refugees and others, in the 1950s, then why would the "palestinian people" notion have come from them when they were so proud to be Arabs??

Also recall that George Habash's political movement before the 6-Day War was the "Arab Nationalist Movement," not any movement called "palestinian." So if the "palestinian people" notion did not come from Arabs, then from whom?? Obviously there is no definitive proof but this evidence and other pieces of evidence are persuasive.

I would like to research this subject further some day.


Elliott Aron Green - 2/11/2009

Omar, in 1914, before WW One began, Jews were a majority of the population in Jerusalem and had been since 1853 at least [Cesar Famin, Histoire de la Rivalite et... (1853)]. Jews in the country as a whole [not a distinct province or district under the Ottoman Empire] in that year numbered about 70,000 to 75,000. Many thousands of Jews were driven out of the country during the war one way or another. Some 40,000 to 50,000 remained after the war. So there were many Jews in the country under Ottoman rule, about 15% of the population before WW I. And Jews were a majority in Jerusalem already in 1853, if not before. The British let in a couple of hundred of thousands of Jews before the 1939 White Paper. I can't give you an exact number right now, but you can find it in various books. Try books by Bernard Wasserstein and Martin Gilbert.

Prof Benzion Netanyahu [the father of...] reported British anti-Jewish/anti-Zionist policies in the country before the Mandate was formally decided by the San Remo Conference, 1920. He says that this activity was locally initiated, not originating in London. Later, London did sponsor anti-Jewish/anti-Zionist activity. Pierre van Paassen reported that the British administration in the country encouraged the 1929 pogroms against Jews in the country, as at Hebron. Horace Samuel wrote a book called Revolt by Leave, arguing that the 1936-39 "Arab Revolt" was deliberately encouraged by the British officials in the country.


A. M. Eckstein - 2/11/2009

What "reckoning" is Omar talking about, and a "reckoning" about what? One hesitates even to ask...

In any case, Omar obviously calls "pro-Jewish" a British policy which, while siding with the Arabs and blocking Jewish immigation in the 1930s (thereby condemning hundreds of thousands of people to death), and then training and supplying the Arab armies that attcked Israel in 1948, nevertheless did not overtly advocate the expulsion and/or the genocide of Jews as the Arabs themselves did.

Sane people will see my point. It's not difficult.


A. M. Eckstein - 2/11/2009

Repeating a false accusation--"wiggling"-- does not substantiate it, Omar. That's something you still have to learn.

Sigh.


omar ibrahim baker - 2/11/2009

More wiggling, which is understandable with nothing of substance to say.
You are on your way to M-2 status if you persist!


omar ibrahim baker - 2/11/2009

Well if you fail to grasp it, which I doubt M+1, it does NOT mean it is incoherent.
You would rather ignore it pretending that it is incoherent except that you will eventually , never the less, have your day of reckoning with the American people.


omar ibrahim baker - 2/11/2009

Mr Green
You state:
" He (Omar) needs to recall that the British 1939 "White Paper on Palestine" effectively revoked the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations Mandate. "
A simple question :
- By the time the British
"Effectively revoked the Balfour Declaration", as you allege, HOW MANY Jews had by then gained entry into Palestine ,under British Mandate authorization, and how did those newcomers alter the demographic composition of Palestine ??
Dare we hope for a simple straight forward answer!


art eckstein - 2/10/2009

Elliott, these are important and specific facts; the problem is that facts simply don't matter to Omar. Still, it's good to get them out to the rest of the blog.

I'd like to see the evidence behind the statement in the last paragraph, though.

Art


Elliott Aron Green - 2/10/2009

Omar is at it again. He needs to recall that the British 1939 "White Paper on Palestine" effectively revoked the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations Mandate. It forbid Jewish land purchase in most of the country and forbid Jews from buying real eastate from Arabs in certain zones, such as Jerusalem, although Jews were permitted to buy land from non-Arabs in those zones. The White Paper also severely restricted Jewish immigration into the Jewish National Home when the Jews most needed a home, as mentioned by others here. It also provided for majority rule govt in five years, which would have meant Arab govt at that time. For all these reasons, the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations found the 1939 White Paper to be in violation of the Mandate, that is, of the UK's commitment under international law to the Jewish National Home principle.

The Arab Legion, the most effective Arab army, was commanded and mainly officered by British officers in 1948. Britain sent fighter aircraft against the Jewish forces in the battle of Jaffa [1948] and over Sinai in early 1949. UK tanks also took part in the battle of Jaffa to protect the Arabs.

For a full understanding of the British role in the 1945-48 period, you need to read Meir Zamir's research, published in summary form in HaAretz in 2008 [available in English and Hebrew]. The British were most definitely pro-Arab. Also recall that the UK, through Anthony Eden, foreign secretary, pushed the Arabs to set up the Arab League. The impetus for the League came from the British.

Muhammad Hassanayn Haykal, the notorious Egyptian journalist and friend of Nasser, claimed that the UK had pushed Egypt into the 1948 war which the Prime Minister, Nuqrashy Pasha, did not want to get into.

It is rather mad, indeed insane, to claim that the British stood by their Balfour and League of Nations commitments, especially after the White Paper.

I also believe that British psychological warfare experts invented the "palestinian people" notion. There is some convincing evidence, although this argument is hard to prove one way or the other for obvious reasons.


art eckstein - 2/10/2009

This last remark from Omar is incoherent.


omar ibrahim baker - 2/10/2009

I do expect the USA, Israel's present life line, to observe your "gratitude" to your primary benefactor, Britain, and draw the inevitable conclusions therefrom.
It is perfectly OK with me that you go on along these same lines of argument.The more the merrier!


art eckstein - 2/10/2009

These are two separate arguments, which you have conflated, Omar.

I provided evidence that Cole lied about Ajami.

In the course of discussion, Camp David/Doha came up and I provided evidence that the Palestinian side was at fault--according not merely to the President of the United States, but to Yassir Arafat.

In the first case (Cole), Omar still remains "neutral" even though I have presented the quotes from Ajami that demonstrate that Cole is a liar.

In the second, Omar has no response except general statements and insults.


art eckstein - 2/9/2009

Obviously, Omar calls pro-Jewish a British policy which, while siding with the Arabs and blocking Jewish immigation in the 1930s (thereby condemning hundreds of thousands of people to death), and then training and supplying the Arab armies that attcked Israel in 1948, did not overtly advocate the expulsion and/or the genocide of Jews as the Arabs themselves did.


N. Friedman - 2/9/2009

What does this concern? I have no idea to what your post pertains.


N. Friedman - 2/9/2009

Omar,

But, for example, the British sided with the Arab side by secretly supplying the Arab, not the Jewish, side with arms. Britain had an arms embargo that was publicly universal but, as a practical matter, directed only against the Jewish side although, all told, not much in the way of armaments were forthcoming to the Arab side. None was given by the British to the Jewish side.

Moreover, the general who led the Arab Legion army was a British general. And, there were British who flew Egyptian planes to attack the Jewish side. So, that is a pretty funny way of supporting Balfour.

Moreover, Jews were blocked from entering the country by the British during WWII and before. How did that support the Balfour declaration? It did not, quite obviously.

Britain did not vote in favor of the UN partition plan. It abstained. How does that fit your version of reality?

You are in dreamland, Omar. There were many in the British government who were favorable to the Balfour Declaration. But, they did not have the upper hand at all times or even most of the time. And, that hand, since it was seen at critical times to undermine British policy, became smaller and smaller over time to the point that, in the end, British policy was not favorable to Balfour or more generally to the creation of Israel. So, immigration was blocked. And, that continued even after WWII.

So, what I suggest is that you are wrong.


omar ibrahim baker - 2/9/2009

Mr Friedman
Obviously it will NEVER occurr to you that your priorities are neither ours nor anybody else's except you!


omar ibrahim baker - 2/9/2009

IT DID NOT in any way revoke or drastically amend or modify its cardinal undertaking in the Balfour Declaration to which it remained
"faithful" to the last day of its mandate over Palestine and only withdrew after empowering the Zionist organizations.


N. Friedman - 2/9/2009

Actually, Omar, the modification of policy was substantial. It led to the deaths of more than a hundred thousand people trying to flee for their lives from Europe.

Moreover, it resulted in large measure in Britain losing control over the region, which, if you know much about Britain from that time, was not what was ever intended. Which is to say, Britain wanted to retain control of the region, by hook or crook. And, in due course it concluded that it could do more for itself by giving the Arab nations greater influence over what occurred in what is now Israel. And, that led to disaster from Britain, as that forced a confrontation Britain did not want. And, in that confrontation - whether or not you wish to believe it -, Britain sided with the Arabs and against Israel, notwithstanding the Balfour Declaration.


omar ibrahim baker - 2/9/2009

Mr Friedman
Britain's "modification" of its policy was slight and touched only on the small details of the issue.
IT DID NOT in any way revoke or drastically amend or modify its cardinal undertaking in the Balfour Declaration to which it remained
"faithful" to the last day of its mandate over Palestine and only withdrew after empowering the Zionist organizations.
Obviously the Zionist movement/Israel wanted then, as now, more and more.

However it is note worthy how ingratitude can not fail but reassert itself with the greedy and the insatiable.
No surprise here!


omar ibrahim baker - 2/9/2009

A man who, though unchallenged on that specific point in the issue in question, triumphantly declares:
"You've got to learn that assertions are not evidence, Omar.
Here's MY evidence:
Clinton blamed Arafat, and blamed him bitterly; Arafat blamed himself in an interview in 2002."
( what ajami actually said about a Palestinian state (#131823)
by art eckstein on February 6, 2009 at 9:00 AM )

then when innocently asked "evidence of what?" repeatedly pretends and reasserts that the "evidence " he presented was addressed to Cole, not to Omar (despite his "You've got to learn that assertions are not evidence, Omar.Here is my EVIDENCE)"; such a man responding to the new challenge(s)and accused of "wiggling" for repeatedly failing to admit that he erred inquires:
"Where's the wiggling?"
is, indeed, a strange phenomenon !


N. Friedman - 2/9/2009

Omar,

Evidently, it has not occurred to you that the British modified its policy after Sykes-Picot and after the Balfour Declaration.

Which is to say, your assertions assume a static policy which was not static. If anything, after the uprising in the 1930's, British policy became more favorable to Arabs.

Moreover, your interpretation of Sykes-Picot is plain wrong. In fact, Arabs had substantial determination in drawing the map of the region. Arab leaders participated directly and made most of the decisions on rulers and boundaries.

This is not to say that the British and French ought to have been involved. But, to suggest that they made the decisions is belied by the diplomatic record, not to mention the carving out of countries to satisfy local politics in the region.

So, I think you are, as often is the case, being polemic, not historical.


art eckstein - 2/9/2009

Not the slightest wiggling--why would Omar say that? Where's the wiggling? No, I was simply trying to explain the sequence of evidence and logic, explaining it VERY patiently and simply, to someone who has shown that he either does not understand logic or evidence or else simply does care about logic or evidence.

Where I get the patience with Omar is beyond me. Well, maybe that's why I'm a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher at my university...


omar ibrahim baker - 2/8/2009

more wiggling to escape an embarassing situation/impasse!


Alan Henessy - 2/8/2009

"But a US military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan is not liberation, and nobody thinks it is..."

How can any unbiased observer with even a scant knowledge of the horrific dictatorships run by Saddam Hussein and the Taliban view the American military intervention as "non liberation"? While it is true that since liberation a great number of Iraqis and Afghans have been killed by the hands of their compatriots, this does not negate the fact that the American military did in essence liberate them from most tyrannical and barbaric regimes in recent history.

Cole misses an important point as to what qualifies as an act of liberation. One may liberate a country - but what happens to that country afterward does not negate the the quality of the action itself. Following the World War II, The Japanese chose to build democracy. After some experience with dictatorial form of governance, the South Koreans pursued a similar path. In various other parts of the world, things did not work out as well. And they may not in Iraq or Afghanistan. But what happens in Iraq and Afghanistan from this point on is the their own responsibility. TO presume that any of the countries would have been better under the previous regimes is a sick delusion to which only Juan Cole and his leftist ilk in academia can subscribe.

It is noteworthy that the Iraqis just held democratic nationwide elections - the most democratic in the history of the Arab world. Ultimately this nation may succumb to cultural pathologies and deviate from the path of democracy. But the the fact that George W. Bush gave them a chance for freedom cannot be negated.

Shame on Juan Cole for disparaging those whose efforts have been infinitely more helpful in bringing a modicum of decency and freedom to Arab and Muslim politics (if there was ever such thing) than the types of Cole who only know to stand on sidelines and carp ad nauseum about nefarious imperialism on the one hand and "the fourth world's" lack of capability to build self-governing polity on the other. And shame on Juan Cole for presuming to care or know more about the ills of the Arab world than a native Arab such as Fouad Ajami. Talk about being more catholic than the Pope himself...


art eckstein - 2/8/2009

Omar, you still don't understand.

1. In the face of Cole's lies, I presented the evidence from Ajami himself that Cole was lying about him. That's Feb. 3.

2. In the face of actual quotes I presented from Fouad Ajami which showed that Ajami supported a Palestinian state and that Cole was therefore a liar about him when he said that he didn't, you indicated that you were remaining neutral on whether Cole was correct about Ajami.

3. In the face of your absurd position, I then brought up to your problem with evidence. That's how you entered the picture. The evidence is clear that Ajami supports a Palestinian state. It's not a matter for debate. You can't weigh equally Cole's ASSERTION and Ajami's specific QUOTATION. Any person with a commitment to evidence and logic will see this.


omar ibrahim baker - 2/8/2009

Another LIE.
Hiding behind Feb 3 !!!does not alter your words hence you remain where you put yourselfie :
"M+1
A weak, weak attempt to wiggle out couched in a bare faced LIE!
Your starting salvo, addressed to me:
"You've got to learn that assertions are not evidence, Omar."
belies your belated claim that the "EVIDENCE" you present is directed at COLE.
You have, as usual, blindly lashed out NOT knowing whom, or what, you are
addressing with the omnipresent desire to make a point while usually you have nothing of value, or even pertinent, to say."


art eckstein - 2/8/2009

And meanwhile, Omar, you ought to consider carefully Ajami's wise and tragic words abou what the Palestinians ahve done to themselves.

It's not so different from what Fahrettin advised you.


art eckstein - 2/8/2009

The lie came from Cole. I proved it was a lie. My original posting on this point on this particular thread (Feb. 3 at 1:28 p.m.) was not addressed to you, Omar, but to readers of the article in general, so that they would not be misled by Cole. You are not named at Feb. 3 at 1:28 p.m., nor is anyone else.

Now you have injected yourself into an open-and-shut case of Cole lying, contriving somehow to remain "neutral" on the subject of Ajami's position on whether the Palestinians "deserve" a state in the face of proof from Ajami's statements themselves that he does, and that Cole was lying about him.

That's where you come in. That's why in the end I brought up your usual inability to confront evidence that makes you uncomfortable. As here, with Cole's lying about Ajami. But the main point isn't you. It's Cole lying about Ajami.


omar ibrahim baker - 2/8/2009

Mr Green
1- Is the British/French Sykes/Picot agreement a historical fact or is it an illusion?
2-WAS there ever a British made Balfour Declaration or is that an illusion too?
Your reading of history dwells on details while deliberately skirting away from principaal historical events all to confuse, obfuscate and disinform the non specialist reader!


omar ibrahim baker - 2/8/2009

M+1
A weak, weak attempt to wiggle out couched in a bare faced LIE!
Your starting salvo, addressed to me:
"You've got to learn that assertions are not evidence, Omar."
belies your belated claim that the "EVIDENCE" you present is directed at COLE.
You have, as usual, blindly lashed out NOT knowing whom, or what, you are
addressing with the omnipresent desire to make a point while usually you have nothing of value, or even pertinent, to say.

You should learn, Prof, to calm down and hold your horses although it is often quite amusing to read you and watch you foaming at the mouth.

Is that how you conduct your classes,Prof?
If yes then you deserve to be demoted to M-1!
I understand why people like you, blinded by a racist hatred, go beresk and start lashing out indiscriminately but you being a Prof, a truly sad fact,should be more careful.
There are unlucky students who HAVE to listen to you that you should think about....and your M+1 status too!





art eckstein - 2/7/2009

My point is that Cole is a liar about Ajami, and I proved it with quotations from Ajami, Omar. I proved Cole was a liar with direct EVIDENCE.

Yet, faced with quotes from Ajami, you retain a neutral position on whether Cole is telling the truth about Ajami. That is not acceptable: Cole is a liar. I proved it with evidence from Ajami himself. Period. Evidence is evidence. Period.

And evidence is evidence, Omar, even when it means that someone you were supporting enthusiastically (Cole) turns out to be a liar.

Well, it's not the first time that that has happened to you, is it?


Elliott Aron Green - 2/7/2009

Omar, don't you recall the British were assiduously working FOR Arab unity?? Don't you know that Anthony Eden -UK foreign secretary-- was promoting the Arab League notion to the Arab leaders who were not all that keen on it? The UK also helped the Arab cause by violating their international mandate to allow Jews to migrate to the internationally designated Jewish National Home. This prevented millions of Jews from finding refuge from the Holocaust. What are you complaining about? The UK helped the Arabs in the Israeli War of Independence by giving weapons to Egypt, etc., and by having British officers command the Arab Legion in the war against Israel.


omar ibrahim baker - 2/7/2009

Mr Tahir
Sorry for being late answering your good question.
As things ought to be, and in a way are, two elements seem to be the major driving force of what is going on in and with the Arabs.
1-The overwhelming public desire for stronger, in every sense, freer and more prosperous societies with major public participation in the governmental decision making process with answer ability of the ruler(s) and monitoring of same.
The latter is called "shura" with the Islamists and "democracy",BUT not necessarily as in or for Western liberal/capitalistic democracy, for practically every body else.
2- The search for the doctrine/system that would produce the state that is able, and willing to go the long haul, to protect and enhance national security, national sovereignty and national interests.



Both factors seem to be ipso fact for each and every nation and state in the world which is true enough except that for the Arabs,who have lagged behind many other nations, more/additional forces , both internal and external, and foreign powers have vigorously militated, colluded and went to extreme measures to obstruct all moves towards them and to insure their unattainability
through normal political progress.

Sykes-Picot, for one, was designed and implemented to obstruct Arab unity in the Levant, in which many believe both objectives, particularly objective one ( stronger , freer society etc) were reasonably attainable.
AND
The extra ordinary national security menace and threat, for a second,that was planted in our mid set:Israel to frustrate both objectives;
particularly objective two.


The cumulative and reciprocated inter nurturing (symbiotic?) effect of both on Arab progress has had, I contend, a more decisive negative impact on Arab modern history and progress than any other factor(s).
Both Sykes/Picot and the implantation of Israel have, I believe, presented two very major abnormal foreign deliberately imposed aggressively dynamic obstacles to what should have been a reasonable, and normal, progress towards a better and more secure life for the Arabs ; objectives that are only common to all.

After this very brief introduction I will try to answer your question: where are the Arabs going?

Judging by developments of the last years, particularly post 1967, with Israel ever expanding and farthest than ever from a genuine peace and with the USA wantonly invading and destroying Iraq I believe national security and preservation of national sovereignty ARE presently the most dominant factors in Arab life; both seem to further and favour the Islamists with the record of Hizb Allah in South Lebanon and Hamas, recently, in Gaza uppermost in public mind.

(None of the above should be construed as ignoring or downplaying or negating or underestimating internal anti progress forces which abound fed on, inter alia , the out put from Sykes/Picot and the implantation of Israel.)


omar ibrahim baker - 2/6/2009

Evidence of WHAT M+1?

You assert:"You've got to learn that assertions are not evidence, Omar."
Then proceed to give your "evidence":
"Here's MY evidence:
Clinton blamed Arafat, and blamed him bitterly; Arafat blamed himself in an interview in 2002."
How can that relate to what I, Omar, said??

Once again what I, Omar, SAID is:
"I neither accepted nor rejected Cole's claim re Ajami's position on a Palestinian state ."
Once again:
EVIDENCE of WHAT M+1???
AND
HOW does what I said relate to your quoted "evidence"???
Kindly elaborate.


art eckstein - 2/6/2009

Omar, on a blog where there are actual professional historians, your insults are no substitute for evidence or argument.

You do not respond to anyone's specific evidence and logical argument. Your only response is insult.

It's not acceptable behavior, and by acting this way you only humiliate yourself once again.


art eckstein - 2/6/2009

You've got to learn that assertions are not evidence, Omar.

Here's MY evidence:

Clinton blamed Arafat, and blamed him bitterly; Arafat blamed himself in an interview in 2002.


omar ibrahim baker - 2/6/2009

Multi awarded+1
I neither accepted nor rejected Cole's claim re Ajami's position on a Palestinian state .
However I had some comments on what M+1 posted.
It ran as follows:
"Ajami claims that:
"Ehud Barak offerd the Palestinians all that Israeli political traffic could bear and then some. But it was too much to ask of Mr. Arafat to return to his people with a decent and generous compromise. It was safer for him to stay with the political myths of "from the River to the Sea."

However:
1- a genuine settlement is NOT and can NOT be dependent SOLELY on :"all that Israeli political traffic could bear..."
NOT only because that would be unneccessary submission and capitulation BUT because it can never be the foundations of a historical reconcilliation.

2-That Barak's "offer" was "a decent and generous compromise." Is true ONLY to the Ajamis and Ecksteins (multiawarded+ 1)of this world!

3-It is a fallacy, a fabrication and a deliberate distortion of the truth to claim that "It was safer for him (Arafaat)to stay with the political myths of "from the River to the Sea.""

Here as in most of his writings Ajami deliberately echoes and seconds AIPAC & Co...
Is it :hoping to keep his present job then to proceed to something more prestigious with AIPAC &Co support???

It will be very interesting to follow Ajami's career with the retreat of neo conservatism in the USA and see where he will finally land."
To whuch M+1 ,aka Professor!! Eckstein, had absolutely no comment.
Once again M+1's call is way way OFF!


omar ibrahim baker - 2/6/2009

Multi awarded+1
Should there ever be a Nobel prize for "distortive extrapolation " I guess you will get it.
Then you become :multiawarded+2.


N. Friedman - 2/6/2009

Art,

Very well said.


Elliott Aron Green - 2/5/2009

Thanks, Art.


A. M. Eckstein - 2/5/2009

Omar once more misses the point:

Mr. Green's point is that Arabs are slaughtering each other in states with no Jews (because 850,000 Jews were expelled and their property taken and it is being enjoyed by some Muslim as we speak--an issue of no concern to Omar of course). Now Omar invites the Israelis to join in the party--but only as defenseless dhimmis who have already been subjected to 60 years of a flood of sewer-like Nazi-like anti-semitism from the very Arabs who are already slaughtering each other.
The terrible fate of the Christians under the PA and Hamas shows what would await the Jews under such a situation.

Why would any sane person accept that invitation, Omar?

The only solution is a two-state one. But Fahrettin's point to you a week ago was a good one: Palestinian ideologues must face the possibility of accepting two states, or facing 60 years more of defeat and suffering. That's Fouad Ajami's point to the Palestinians as well.

Elliot, when you write, "There are enough benighted folk in the West who NEED to believe in Arab innocence so that they can get on with the traditional Western vice of hating or looking down on Jews"--it seems to me you hit the nail on the head.


omar ibrahim baker - 2/5/2009

Mr Green
We have been here before and you return to your old litany about Arab internicine conflicts just to get away from the issue of the inalienable Right of Return of Haiffa refugees and all Palestinians bar no one to their homeland!
That, your desire to get away from a subject that you brought up in the first place, is understandable .
Few other issues unveil the real colonialist /dislocating/usurping/
racist nature of Israel better than this one.

Back to your darling and ever self consoling litany, your comforter, of Arab internal conflicts

I contend that you know the answer to your question ( you can not be that ignorant no matter how racially blind you are) but prefer to pretend innocence just to be able to bring it up.

Arab internal strife and conflicts, sad and destructive as they are are, never the less, neither
a-historically unexpected and unprecedented
NOR
b-unique to the Arabs.

Re (a) nations in transition from one state/stage to another, from one phase to another, from one era to another etc are bound to suffer from very severe/acute differences of outlook , opinion, visions of the future and how to get there.

These differennces which nearly always debut as mental/verbal/political discourse almost always invariably lead to many other forms of discourse in the transition phase.
The presence of alien,aggressive, marauding and hostile elements that is bound to influence outlook etc, such as Israel in our nation and region , is bound to negatively complicate the change over process.

Only a stable nation that has reached where it wants to be, and thus has been "stabilized"(in contrasst to the state of instability it endured while going there ) , can be free from these other forms of discourse .

-Re (b):do I have to remind you of all the civil wars/severe internal differences that led to a great deal of blood shed in the last couple of centuries for nations in transition from one state/stage to another?

Foresmost among these, at a glance and without further delay:
-Communist/Kuomintang civil war in China
-Russia momentous upheavels and civil war(s) post , and pre, October 1917!
-The Spanish Civil War.
-The USA North/South Civil war.
ETC ETC ETC
The Arabs are now in a transition stage and as such they suffer and endure whar other great nations endured.
They are NOT excempt from that!


Elliott Aron Green - 2/5/2009

Omar, ya la habibna [He doesn't want me to call him Our Friend],

The pose of wounded innocence ill fits the Arabs in general and you in particular. Here we see Arabs --Arab-Muslims-- slaughtering each other in the East and in the West [bi'l-Mashriq wa'l-Maghrab], in Iraq and Algeria and places in between. The West has of course long nurtured prejudices against Jews, so many in the West feel a need to see the Arabs as innocent in the struggle with Israel. So those persons may see you as just as innocent as you see yourselves. But between us, `Umar, how do you explain the intra-Arab slaughter?? How do you explain that Iraqi woman [um al-mujahidayaat, is that what she's called?] who recruited young women to become suicide bombers? She first scouted out likely candidates, and then had them raped by her male asociates, and then had them directed to her for motherly solace. Her motherly advice was to blow themselves up in order to restore their honor, their `ird. The targets chosen were not necessarily kufar but often rafidin dogs.

This Iraqi lady and some others might consider Fuad Ajami a rafidi dog. Is that how you feel about Ajami? Anyhow, I have no explanation for Cole's deep hostility to Ajami. Maybe he's more Arab than the Arabs, "more Catholic than the Pope," as it were. But how could we Jewish hounds --we used to be called "Yahud Kulabna"-- expect better treatment than your Shi`ite brethren get? How could we expect better treatment than the Salafis in Algeria give to fellow Arab Sunnis in Algeria who may be identified with the govt there? So don't you think, Omar, that you need reconciliation among the Arab Muslims before you come preach reconciliation to us in a single state dominated by Arab Muslims? And then, the pose of innocence ill becomes your people, although there are enough benighted folk in the West who NEED to believe in Arab innocence so that they can get on with the traditional Western vice of hating or looking down on Jews.


A. M. Eckstein - 2/4/2009

This was Omar's accusation, as of today, Feb. 4, at 1:40 p.m., and I quote:

"Facts are facts and his pre reinstallation into the Zionist camp, after some severe punishment, he readjusted his "facts" to suit his new status!"

This is to accuse Morris of intentionally falsifying the historical record in order to work his passage back into the "Zionist camp" after "punishment".

To accuse Morris of intentionally falsifying the historical record is to accuse Morris of being corrupt.

Then, by denying that he said these things, and/or failing to understand their implications about Morris when they are pointed out to him, Omar humiliates himself once again.

Sigh.



omar ibrahim baker - 2/4/2009

AS is almost always the case with multi awards + 1 words are perverted in the small mind and extrapolated in a manner that that small mind deems beneficial to his cause.
Why waste the time refuting allegations based on the extrapolation of a post that in no way contains neither "corrupt" nor "falsify" or derivatives therefrom ; though, in the small mind, both are liable to create a new obssession??
Now multi awards +1 will develop a new extrapolation that someone , having said what was said, concedes that Benny Morris is neither corruptible nor ever apt to falsify.
Both extrapolations will nest in that small mind and be perceived by it as a stunning victory to enjoy and cherish as an outstanding achievement!


N. Friedman - 2/4/2009

Omar,

I did not call you an Antisemite. What I said is that you post Antisemitic material such that it is difficult to imagine any reconciliation with you.

Moreover, you made it rather clear on this cite that your idea of reconciliation is a state for Palestinian Arabs and only Palestinian Arabs. You wrote: "A Palestine for ALL the Palestinians" And, that was in reply to Fahrettin's important question: "But Omar, what is the alternative project?" And, that question was related to your odd comment that Ajami is a Quisling which, to Fahrettin's point of view, amount to you being unrealistic and foolish - pushing the Arabs backwards instead of forward to a future.

As for your comment about Benny Morris, I largely agree with what Art Eckstein writes. It is pretty outrageous. I might also add: you accept Morris when he writes what you want to hear but when he, later, shows his earlier position to be wrong, he is now a man who adjusts facts to fit the moment. That ought to tell you, if you are consistent in your views, that he was also before adjusting his views to fit the moment. And, there is no way to know which is true, now or before.

My view, on the other hand, is that Morris began more seriously to take the criticism leveled at him that he did not cover Arab hostility towards Jews and towards a state ruled by Jews. That led him to appreciate that what happened to Palestinian Arabs had a background, not just on the Jewish side but also on the Arab side. And, it led him to look again at documents which, taken without examining Arab hostility, are difficult to understand but that, with greater context considered, were better understandable. And, in particularly, he examined Plan Dalet again and noted the truth - that it was only a war contingency plan to allow for fighting - and understood in the context that the Arab side did mean to make war against Jews - and it was not a premeditated plan to do anything to anyone.

So, historians do learn from mistakes and from examining further evidence. Morris is a good example.


A. M. Eckstein - 2/4/2009

Omar, your accusation now is that Benny Morris is a corrupt individual who now has consciously falsified the historical record.

Those are serious accusations to make against a professional historian.
So:

1. What is your EVIDENCE that Benny Morris is a corrupt individual? Be specific.
2. And what is your EVIDENCE that he has consciously falsified the historical record? Be specific.

A reminder to you (from experience with you), Omar: Repeating the original slander does NOT constitute "evidence".


omar ibrahim baker - 2/4/2009

Benny Morris is a man of many "facts " and many opinions but facts are facts and his pre reinstallation into the Zionist camp, after some severe punishment, he readjusted his "facts" to suit his new status!
As to his opinions the latest is that he moans and laments the fact that "NOT ALL the Palestinians were driven out of Palestine."
Are you aware of that Mr. Friedman??

Re your charge that I am an anti Semite and why should any Jew seek to reconcile with me ...I can hardly muster the words to respond to such an inanity based on such a lie.
You had standards Mr. Friedman, whatever happened to you to lower yourself to the status and mentality of the "multi awarded+1" ??
Is that a contagious affliction in the herd?
Pity!


Fahrettin Tahir - 2/4/2009

Omar,
I understand that the Palestine issue is your top priority. My question was more generally about where the Arab world is going. Capitalist - democratic modernisation has no friends, the Sheikhs and dictators offer no model for modernisation. There are around 300 million Arabs, what is the future for these people?


N. Friedman - 2/4/2009

Omar,

You might consider that Benny Morris has said and written a great many things. His current view, as expressed in his most recent book, 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War, is that there was no plan of intentional or deliberate ethnic cleansing. His scholarship shows that such view involved misreading documents that say something quite different and a misreading of what, in fact occurred.

Further, there was no campaign of mass massacres. There were, in fact, massacres - something that was done by both sides and which is, unfortunately, what goes on in most wars.

In any event, the issue is not for a reconciliation. It is too late for that, many generations ago. What is possible is for people to accept each other's legitimacy, something with which your side - including, rather clearly, you - has yet to come to terms. And, that would mean accepting that what occurred 60 years ago is a long time ago - just as Sudetenland Germans have learned, just as Muslim Indians have learned, just as Hindu Indians have learned.

There is no inalienable right of Palestinian Arabs as a people. There are rights to individuals and such rights should be respected. But, the rights of such individuals - and, if Palestinian Arabs also had such rights, the rights of such group of people - cannot be interpreted to cancel out the rights of others, which is exactly what you promote.

Lastly, given that you regular post the views of Antisemites, why would any Jews want to reconcile with you? No one is that stupid.


omar ibrahim baker - 2/4/2009

How does that, if true, leaving of their own accord, deprives them from their inalienable Right of Return to their homes?

Is it NOT a universal phenomenon that civilians and non combatants try to stay away from theatres of war operations?
Wether at the behest of the AHC or of their own personal accord and will Palestinians that took refuge during 1947/48 hostilies have an inlienable Right of Return to their homes, offices, shops, workshops , farms etc AND to their homeland.

However historical fact as documented by Benny Morris, for which he was ostrasized for a long in Israel , is that the majority of Palestinian refugees took refuge as a result of a conscious and deliberste Zionist ETHNIC CLEANSING campaign implemented through MASS MASACRES , Deir Yassin and Tantoura etc, and compulsory mass deportation, Lod , Ramla etc of non combattant Civilians, and the systematic destrction of hundreds of Arab villages and hamlets.
As a result of this all too patent depopulation campaign a UNGA resolution was made requesting Israel to comply with and NOT to obstruct and deter the Return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland and a UN special envoy was appointed to oversee and monitor the implementation of that UNGA resolution.
The special envoy, Lord Folke? Bernadotte from Sweeden and his aide to camps, a French colonel, were assasinated by the Zionist gangs/political-military formations that were then establishing the Zionist colony, Israel, in Palestine .


art eckstein - 2/4/2009

I don' expect fanatics such as Omar to accept Ajami's harsh judgment on the tragic miscalculations and fantasies of the Palestinians. (Though I hope others take it seriously.)

I DO expect ALL people who post on HNN, including even fanatics such as Omar, to accept FACTS. In this case, the fact is that Ajami is not against a Palestinian state, as this essay (cited by Cole himself) itself shows. This means that Juan Cole's assertion that Ajami says that Palestinians don't deserve a state is an outright lie.

Period.


art eckstein - 2/4/2009

We've been through this with Omar. It is a subterfuge. Translation from Omar: Jews should be reduced to defenseless dhimmis in a Muslim-majority and Muslim dominated state where the Muslim majority has been fed a sewer of anti-semitic propaganda for 60 years. How can he be serious about asking the Israelis to commit volunatry suicide? Look at the terrible fate of Christian minority in the PA and Gaza.

The only solution is a two-state solution. The Palestinians were offered this in 2000/2001 and Arafat turned it down, preferring the genocidal violence of the Second Intifada, whose savagery against Jewish civilians destroyed the Israeli Left politically. What Omar offers is no different than the Palestinians position in 1948, when they refused to accept the UN partition of the Mandate and instead began a genocidal war.

So in Omar's case the fantasy of domination has not changed. Though the wording is more careful ("a Palestine for all Palestinians")l, the fantasy remains the same: Jews as a defenseless minority without their own state. Omar has learned nothing has from 60 years of Palestinian disaster and defeat.

Naturally, too, Omar has learned nothing from the astounding success of the Israelis (though under genocidal attack from all sides) in building a modern, technological and liberal society. By contrast, look at the Palestinians.


omar ibrahim baker - 2/4/2009

Ajami claims that:
"Ehud Barak offerd the Palestinians all that Israeli political traffic could bear and then some. But it was too much to ask of Mr. Arafat to return to his people with a decent and generous compromise. It was safer for him to stay with the political myths of "from the River to the Sea."

However:
1- a genuine settlement is NOT and can NOT be dependent SOLELY on :"all that Israeli political traffic could bear..."
NOT only because that would be unneccessary submission and capitulation BUT because it can never be the foundations of a historical reconcilliation.

2-That Barak's "offer" was "a decent and generous compromise." Is true ONLY to the Ajamis and Ecksteins (multiawarded+ 1)of this world!

3-It is a fallacy, a fabrication and a deliberate distortion of the truth to claim that "It was safer for him (Arafaat)to stay with the political myths of "from the River to the Sea.""

Here as in most of his writings Ajami deliberately echoes and seconds AIPAC & Co...
Is it :hoping to keep his present job then to proceed to something more prestigious with AIPAC &Co support???

It will be very interesting to follow Ajami's career with the retreat of neo conservatism in the USA and see where he will finally land.


Elliott Aron Green - 2/4/2009

Prof Cole, you write above that: "the Israeli army expelled 100,000 Palestinians" to Lebanon. Efraim Karsh has proven that the Arabs who left Haifa, about half the number or more, of those who went to Lebanon, did so at the behest of or by the coercion of the Arab Higher Committee, the chief Arab leadership of the palestinian Arabs at that time. The chief leader of the AHC was then Haj Amin el-Husseini who --as you may know-- spent most of WW2 in the Nazi-fascist domain in Europe urging the Germans and their satellites to murder more Jews. He did not want Arabs to stay in Haifa, despite local Jewish urgings that they stay, so as not to allow anyone to think that Arabs and Jews could live peacefully together. Could you either revise your assertion in question or challenge Prof Karsh in a well-documented manner?


omar ibrahim baker - 2/4/2009

A Palestine for ALL the Palestinians


A. M. Eckstein - 2/3/2009

Fouad Ajami never said that the Palestinians didn't deserve a state. He advocated that they should get one in the very article cited by Juan Cole!

Here is what Ajami did say (6-19-07, in the wake of the bloody Hamas coup in Gaza), and all those who claim to be "pro-Palestinians" should listen to his advice:

"The Palestinian ruin was a long time in coming. No other national movement has had the indulgence granted the Palestinians over the last half-century, and the results can be seen in the bravado and senseless violence, in the inability of a people to come to terms with their needs.

"An accommodation with Israel is imperative--if only out of economic self-interest and political necessity--but the Palestinians have tipped power to a Hamas movement whose very charter is pledged to the destruction of the Jewish state and the imposition of Islamist rule.

"The political maxim that people get the leaders they deserve must be reckoned too cruel to apply to the Palestinians. Before Hamas, for four decades, the vainglorious Yassir Arafat refused to tell his people the basic truths of their political life. Amid the debacles, he was joyous; he circled the globe, offering his people the false sense that they could be spared the consequences of terrible decisions.

"Ehud Barak offerd the Palestinians all that Israeli political traffic could bear and then some. But it was too much to ask of Mr. Arafat to return to his people with a decent and generous compromise. It was safer for him to stay with the political myths of "from the River to the Sea."

"For their part, the Arab states have only compounded the Palestinian misery. The Arab cavalry was always on the way, but never arrived, the Arab treasure was always a day away, and there was thus no need for the Palestinians to deal with necessity. In recent years, the choice was starkly posed: it was either statehood or a starring rule on al-Jazeera. Their leaders opted for the latter...and the culture of the Palestinian world succombed to a terrifying cult of violence.

"There is no magic wand with which this Palestinian world can be healed and taught the virtues of realism and sobriety. No international peacekeeping force can bring order to the deadly streets and alleyways of Gaza. A population armed to the teeth and long in the throes of disorder can't be pacified by outsiders.

"For decades, Arab society granted the Palestinians everything and nothing at the same time. The Arab states built worlds of their own, had their own priorities, dreaded and loathed the Palestinians as outsiders and agitators, but left them to the illusion that Palestine was an all-consuming Arab concern.

"The rise of Hamas in Gaza should concentrate the minds of the custodians of power in the Arab world. Palestine, their old alibi, with which they diverted the attention of their populations from troubles at home, has become a nightmare in its own right. An Arab debt is owed the Palestinians--the gift of truth and candor, as well as material help."

None of this is unsympathetic to the Palestinian cause, though much of it is "tough love"--Ajami calling things as he seems them. And right in this article (to which Cole referred) Ajami calls for a Palestinian state ("a compromise...it was either statehood or a starring role on al-Jazeera"). So Cole slanders Ajami right from the beginning.


Fahrettin Tahir - 2/3/2009

I think the Bush people were trying transform the Arab world by introducing something they thought they understood, modernisation by capitalism and democracy. Ajami in Turkish in either Iranian or a beginner, this seems to be the case here. But Omar, what is the alternative project?


Randll Reese Besch - 2/2/2009

A twisted take on Mao's aphormism of despotism i.e. "power out of the barrel of a gun." But then it is the dictum of tyrants and their reason de etre to their empires. Whether as brigands or generals it still holds true. For some power is the only reason to live and is an natural order of things. Any who do not ascribe to that brutal ethos is 'weak' and deserve to be subjugated or killed as a matter of course.

If only Pres. Obama would move away from that mind set. So far he hasn't and indeed treats attacks on other countries as simply a normal matter of course for our gov't to other gov't's. A sad state of affairs and not in the mold of 'change' he advocated.


Larry N Stout - 2/2/2009

Apparently the WSJ is now a "wackier [than ever] capitalist tool". What else should we expect from alien conspirator/monopolist Murdoch? The banksters, pockets stuffed, clearly mock the president. Can we now safely say that our cherished Constitution and the government have been subverted through the money-papered halls of Congress and back rooms of the White House, and that most of the subversion was accomplished on Dubya's one-third-holiday "watch"? For eight years, headlines proclaimed Bush's "vision" for this and his "vision" for that, but the only "vision" GWB had was the ground rushing up to smack his face when he fell off his bike.


omar ibrahim baker - 2/2/2009

The syndrome is well known and quite spread through out: turn coats are under greater pressure to demonstrate their allegiance to their new masters.
Sometimes it ends by making their proper name a common name for turn coat and traitor:Quisling!
The way they mostly tread is to become "more royalist than the king" or as Lenin put it to Stalin "more Russian than the Russians."

Having bolted and joined the enemy their fears are double than their ex or present normal,steady comrades':
1-Their ex friends',compatriots'and
comrades' enmity
AND
2-that their new masters and comrades may not, still,despite and/or because, have confidence in them.

They usually end by loosing both which does NOT only embitter them greatly but also drives them to more extremisim and fanaticism particularly regarding their previous camp.
Ajami, in Arabic, means "Iranian" but a more spread meaning is "foreigner".
Fuad Ajami was certainly unfaithful to his homeland and his people in his repeated anti Arab positions and advocacies but he certainly proved to be faithful to his name.

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