Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Questions for the Boat People . . .

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS IS UNIMPRESSED. And he has some hard questions for these well meaning mariners. To read all about them, click on the link.

The tale of the Gaza "flotilla" seems set to become a regular summer feature, bobbing along happily on the inside pages with an occasional update. A nice sidebar for reporters covering the Greek debt crisis: a built-in mild tension of "will they, won't they?"; a cast of not very colorful characters but one we almost begin to feel we know personally. Such cheery and breezy slogans—"the audacity of hope" and "free Gaza"—and such an easy storyline that it practically writes itself. Since Israel adopts a posture that almost guarantees a reaction of some sort in the not-too-distant future, and since there was such a frisson of violence the last time the little fleet set sail, there's no reason for it not to become a regular seasonal favorite.

It seems safe and fair to say that the flotilla and its leadership work in reasonably close harmony with Hamas, which constitutes the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. The political leadership of this organization is headquartered mainly in Gaza itself. But its military coordination is run out of Damascus, where the regime of Bashar Assad is currently at war with increasingly large sections of the long-oppressed Syrian population. Refugee camps, some with urgent humanitarian requirements, are making their appearance on the border between Syria and Turkey (the government of the latter being somewhat sympathetic to the purposes of the flotilla). In these circumstances, isn't it legitimate to strike up a conversation with the "activists" and ask them where they come out on the uprising against hereditary Baathism in Syria?

Only a few weeks ago, the Hamas regime in Gaza became the only governing authority in the world—by my count—to express outrage and sympathy at the death of Osama Bin Laden. As the wavelets lap in the Greek harbors, and the sunshine beats down, doesn't any journalist want to know whether the "activists" have discussed this element in their partners' world outlook? Does Alice Walker seriously have no comment?

Hamas is listed by various governments and international organizations as a terrorist group. I don't mind conceding that that particular word has been used in arbitrary ways in the past. But what concerns me much more is the official programmatic adoption, by Hamas, of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This disgusting fabrication is a key foundational document of 20th-century racism and totalitarianism, indelibly linked to the Hitler regime in theory and practice. It seems extraordinary to me that any "activist" claiming allegiance to human rights could cooperate at any level with the propagation of such evil material. But I have never seen any of them invited to comment on this matter, either.

Of course, Hamas and Hezbollah have a vested interest in things as they are. Look at all those men with their RPG's and AK-47's, strutting around and being macho — beats working for a living, don't it? After all, the 800 pound gorilla in the room is the fact that the Arab world just doesn't have what it takes to off Israel. They tried in 1948, 1967, 1973; they've tried German rocket scientists and Pakistani/North Korean atomic scientists, without result.

Then again, a lot of "progressives" aren't known for depth of analysis or historical perspective. The silence of all the Left on the horror show of Bashar Assaad and the Syrian oppression is disgusting, but par for the course.


thwap said...


I've wondered for a long time what your purpose on this blog was.

Are you an example of the stupidity everyone else is railing against?

Hamas's military wing operates out of Damascus does it? Might that be a way to avoid attacks from Israel? (You know, the same way DeGaulle operated out of London, and not Nazi-occupied Paris during WWII?)

Yes, the Syrian regime is an abomination that attacks its own people. So is Bahrain, a US ally. And, as long as you're being concerned with Arab human rights and lives, let's return to the subject of Israel's abuses why don't we?

Do you see how Hitchens, and your approving quoting of him, is self-evidently idiotic?

ThinkingManNeil said...

"All the Left?" Since when? I don't know any progressive who's been "silent" on the Syrian crisis, or the ones in Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, et al. I agree that Hamas needs to wire its shit together and drop the "Push Israel into the Sea" crap 'cause it ain't gonna happen, nor should it. Israel's there to stay and has a right to exist as long as they do so peaceably and don't invoke some silly Bronze Age nonsense about the land being exclusively deeded to them by some invisible Sky Daddy. And no one intelligent or in their right mind is interested in "offing" Israel, but by the same token the Israelis have no right to try to "off" the Palestinians like many of the extreme Zionists seem to be ready to do; the Israelis simply don't get a free pass on bulldozing homes, bombing refugees, or stealing land or water rights. Are Hamas and others in the Arab League right in the way they treat or regard Israel? Absolutely not, and the same goes for Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians. They both need to drop the provincial, macho, patriarchic, posturing and grow up and start dealing with each other in an honest and open way and in good faith. Can that happen? I honestly don't know. As for the fundies who want a restored biblical Israel prior to Jebus' return? Well those clowns are just plain nuts...

Alison said...

Hitchens is so adorable.

"It seems safe and fair to say that the flotilla and its leadership work in reasonably close harmony with Hamas," he says,
without providing any reasons for thinking so ....
and then proceeds on to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, Bashar Assad, Syria, Iran, Osama bin Laden, Hitler, and of course The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Rather a lot of straw men for a few boats of peace activists to carry, isn't it, Ed?

I plead guilty to the charge of not writing enough about that bastard Bashar al-Asaad but I did post something about his cozy relationship with Suncor in June :
Ethical oil in Syria explained

Interestingly, if you go to the Syria government Oil and Gaz webpage and click on the picture of Asaad half way down on the left, it takes you directly to the Suncor website. Well, we are Syria's third largest direct investor after all.

thwap said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
thwap said...


I confess to not wasting my time writing condemnations of official enemies either.

I like that you found out Canada's ruling elite's hyporisy on the oil issue.

Let's all remember too that Syria has been the torturer of choice when it comes to Canadian citizens, like Maher Arar and Abdullah Almalki.

Who is this "Edstock" character anyway?

Edstock said...

Thwap, you can also condemn non-official enemies, too. Dubai would be a good place to start. Maybe a few progressives could demonstrate in front of the Syrian embassy in Ottawa?

And indeed, let's return to the subject of Israel's abuses. Too bad, tough noogies. Until Hamas and its bankroller, Bashar realize and accept that Israel is going to continue to exist, and negotiate the creation of a Palestinian state, the problem isn't going away, no matter how strident and polemic you may become. The Israelis have lots of faults, but until Hamas changes its charter which calls for Israel's obliteration, the Israelis will continue to play hard-ball, and anyone who thinks otherwise is playing with themselves.

thwap said...

I get it. You ARE a complete idiot.

So, all Hamas has to do is be more diplomatic and conciliatory 'eh?

I guess, in your colossal ignorance, you haven't heard of the Palestine Papers?

The unprecedented offer on the East Jerusalem settlements, made in May 2008, is revealed in confidential Palestinian records of negotiations with Israel in the year before the Gaza war of 2008-09.

Ahmed Qureia, the lead Palestinian negotiator, proposed that Israel annex all Jewish settlements in Jerusalem except Har Homa (Jabal Abu Ghneim) – and hammered home the significance of the concession.

"This is the first time in history that we make such a proposition," he said at a meeting in the city's King David hotel. "We refused to do so in Camp David," he said, referring to the talks where the two sides had come closer than ever to an agreement.

For many Palestinians it is anathema to agree to give up or even swap prime parts of the city they hope to make their capital. The settlements are regarded as illegal in international law and Israel's 1967 annexation of East Jerusalem has never been recognised internationally, though it is supported by a large majority of Israeli Jews – including many who back a West Bank withdrawal.

But the Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni is recorded as dismissing the offer out of hand because the Palestinians had refused to concede Har Homa, as well as the settlements at Ma'ale Adumim, near Jerusalem, and Ariel, deeper in the West Bank. Israel's position was fully supported by the Bush administration.

"We do not like this suggestion because it does not meet our demands, and probably it was not easy for you to think about it, but I really appreciate it," Livni said.

And, while I'm sure you'd like it if progressives stupidly took your stupid advice to demonstrate in front of the embassies of our official enemies, thereby letting our own governments and their allies off the hook, we'll pass at the opportunity, thanks.

Your ignorance, your tuff-guy bluster, your delusions, ... all of it makes you a waste of time.

Edstock said...

Awe thwap, ya gotta try harder than that. Gratuitous insults might give you a warm, fuzzy feeling, but really, they are rather banal.

And the fact remains that the Arabs do not have what it takes to off Israel.

And the fact remains that as long as Hamas has the obliteration of Israel as part of its founding philosophy, Israel will remain intransigent.

And all the epithets that your little mind can generate don't change a thing, lol.

thwap said...


(I've taken the trouble to number all of the facets of my reply to you. If you find yourself getting lost, stop at the end of one numbered section, take about 24-hours, and then go back and find where you left off and continue until you get tired again.)

Let's review:

1) You quote approvingly from Christopher Hitchens, who was criticizing the Gaza Freedom Flotilla for failing to notice Hamas' links to the murderous Syrian government.

You then make stupid comments about how the men in Hamas' military wing must have all made a conscious decision to strut and pose with machine guns rather than take advantage of any of the myriad of economic activities that no doubt exist in the Occupied Territories.

I try to patiently point out to you that even if it were at all relevant to the illegal siege of Gaza, you and Hitchens have still made a huge brain-fart by failing to notice that Hitchens and yourself support Israel, which has probably killed more Arabs than the Baath regime in Syria has. It's also possible that it's tortured more Arabs than Syria has.

2) You ignore that Israel's protector, the USA has itself killed and tortured tens of thousands of Arabs, and has funded a whole slew of torturing dictatorships for decades.

What you and Hitchens are incapable of, is recognizing your own titanic hypocrisy. If the Freedom Flotilla has to answer for Hamas, then you and Hitchens must either shut-up, or answer for the victims of the USA, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Iraq, and etc., etc.,

You've probably failed to notice that the USA and Israel are probably the worst abusers of human rights in the area because you're both deluded, brainwashed morons.

3) Again, as to the nasty words in the Hamas Charter, I already pointed out to you what a brain-dead argument that was. Fatah has agreed to negotiate with Israel, offered huge concessions for East Jerusalem, and was given a curt and arrogant dismissal.

4) What probably happened (and no doubt has happened and will continue to happen every day of your life) is that you read a wee bit of my reply to you and then your lazy brain lost focus, the words began to fade into each other, and you just stopped processing the facts.

This has probably gone on far longer than is useful, ... Aha! I've got it! I'll go back later and number my paragraphs and ask you to read them, one-by-one, over as many days as necessary! Then, perhaps, god willing, you'll be able to get something out of each and every one.

5) ... So, anyway, while this might have gone on rather long, there's now a chance that you'll get something out of my final words of information and advice:

"Gratuitous" means: "Uncalled for; lacking good reason; unwarranted."

This being the case, my insults to you ("stupid, idiotic, ignorant, complete idiot, etc.,") are not "gratuitous" since every argument you've made betrays ignorance, delusion, and brain-washing. As well, all of it is slathered in the typical boorish, blustering, crude rhetoric that passes for certainty among your ilk.