Gideon Levy, Fatah, AJDS, the Australian

Fatah: Israel’s Native Police

I want to say: I was right about Obama, and a day after my article on Fayyad, Fatah et al was enough to entirely vindicate what I said. I said Obama’s declared opposition to settlements didn’t mean anything. I was right. I wrote an article saying that Fayyad and so on were there as Israeli tools of occupation. The day it was posted, news arrived that Fatah had withdrawn its support for Goldstone’s report. Ali Abunimah wrote about it immediately. As’ad AbuKhalil has been scathing on his blog.  (eg here and here.)

AJDS

I expressed disapproval of their letter to the AJN. It’s posted on their blog in full. Rosenblatt and Stillman discuss the methodology. Okay, fine. But when I expressed dissatisfaction with this (is it really so important to complain that Israel refused to cooperate with the mission?), I don’t think that should be so incredible. In the letter in full, there isn’t any discussion of the actual findings. What they call for is “international intervention and compromise” – which I’ve already discussed as an unsatisfactory formula. They also want the “most vigorous of public inquiries into what the army does.” Israel has inquiries into the army all the time. Whenever the Israeli army is caught on camera doing something particularly shocking, and the public is angered, Israel launches one of its farcical ceremonial rituals, which ends with Israel being the most moral army in the world. Why should anyone take these investigations seriously? Remember the Winograd investigation into the last attack on Lebanon? The only thing that was discussed was tactical errors. That’s why there’s no need for an investigation into this war, despite mountains of evidence of severe atrocities: because less than a dozen Israeli soldiers were killed. I remain dissatisfied: there was a lot of evidence of terrible crimes committed during the massacre, there have been major reports since then (breaking the silence, hrw, amnesty international, the Dugard mission), and most obviously, the attack didn’t have the slightest credibile pretext at all.  Steve Brook complained that I was unhappy that he hadn’t taken sides violently enough. This is perhaps accurate: otherwise he seems to enjoy fabricating views to attribute to me. Yes, I think AJDS should take a firm and unequivocal stand on the Gaza massacre: that it was unjust, unprovoked, and morally disgusting. Gideon Levy, for example, takes firm moral positions. I don’t recall their wording, but I recall that during the attack they opposed it. Obviously, I don’t admire Goldwater, but moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

Also, Stillman is unsure why there isn’t democracy in the Arab world. He does not appear to be a leftist. He’s right that many criticisms of the Arab Human Development Report are not in English (AbuKhalil linked to Arabic criticisms on his blog in August and July). There have been writings on this subject. See Rashid Khalidi, Mark Curtis (particularly The Great Deception), Said Aburish and so on. This sort of question angers me actually. You read Lars Schoultz’s Beneath  the United States and you see this sort of question used to be posed about Latin America.

China, oh so evil

The Australian has a fervent anti-communist writer. Consider this bit:

The ommunist Party and its Western apologists acknowledge that there was a severe famine in China between 1959 and 1961, and that millions died in it. But they insist this was merely a natural disaster, much as Soviet apologists long sought to characterise Stalin’s terror-famine of the 30s. Yang has confirmed what Western experts long surmised: that Mao and the party hatched the famine as a tool of state policy, to coerce hundreds of millions out of traditional agriculture and into industry and collective farms.

That is, an “apologist” of Mao acknowledges a severe famine for two years that killed millions. Apparently, the author, David Burchell, used to be a communist. Perhaps this accounts for his need to be particularly angry on the subject. I do not know how to judge Yang’s book: it is not yet in English, and it is hard to find reviews of it. Certainly, given that China’s government is not an open one, it is hard to understand how Burchell can be so certain about the famine.

His concluding paragraph begins:

From these awful revelations come two conclusions. First: that the Chinese Communist Party, now engaged in its ballet of self-celebration and self-delusion, is arguably the greatest violator of human rights in the history of the planet. (Even today, almost every one of the world’s most inhumane states – from North Korea to Sudan to Zimbabwe – is a Chinese client.)

You can tell from this how serious he is. Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Egypt…. Of course, there are other grievous examples (such as DR Congo). But this is standard. You just would have expected Iran and Syria too, because they’re the other Middle Eastern dictatorships that aren’t pro-US, and so can be discussed as human rights violators. I’m sure he would’ve liked to mention Cuba too.

Consider his ode to American democracy. Consider his grasp on reality vs his appreciation of feminism:

And while Hillary Clinton is undoubtedly a woman, her rancorous, grievance-based style of campaigning seems to belong to feminism’s paleolithic era. If Clinton’s campaign narrative were a movie, it would be called Thelma and Louise Go to Washington.

American style democracy, of course, is completely hollow. Neither party is responsive to public opinion.

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