Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Small and Weak Country

What happens to a small and weak country, when it tries to move in a direction the neighbors don't like, and it must rely on its powerful friends to protect it?

It's not a nice place to be. Ask Georgia.

Better to be not weak, and not dependent on friends, no matter how nice they are. Ask Israel.


Anonymous said...

a telling little "gem" on the reliability of (British) friends even those one thought one might trust because they were friends for a selfish reason:

"Last year, the government suspended its dealings with the MCB after Daoud Abdullah, the MCB’s deputy general secretary, signed the Istanbul Declaration, which threatens those who impede the violent work of Hamas against Israel. At the time, our government said that the Istanbul Declaration ‘does call for attacks on foreign warships, potentially including the Royal Navy, and also advocates violence against Jewish people and their supporters around the world’. It refused to engage with the MCB so long as Mr Abdullah’s signature on the declaration stood. Last week, however, the government decided to ‘re-engage’ with the MCB. The MCB has made some encouraging new noises about condemning attacks on British troops, but Mr Abdullah has not removed his signature from the declaration, so it is the government that has backed down. Now the MCB-organised ‘Muslim Leadership Dinner’, fundraising for MCB causes, will take place on Saturday in the presence of what the organisers rather quaintly call ‘The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain’, Jack Straw, and the Liberal leader, Nick Clegg. The good news is that the shadow home secretary, Chris Grayling, has refused to attend."

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen pigs flying?!

From JTA:
Human Right Watch: Hamas targeted Israeli civilians

January 28, 2010

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Human Rights Watch rejected a Hamas claim that the Palestinians did not target Israeli civilians with rockets during the Gaza war.

In a statement Thursday, the human rights group said there is strong evidence that "Hamas' claim that rockets were intended to hit Israeli military targets and only accidentally harmed civilians is belied by the facts."

Here is the link:


Anonymous said...

Human Rights Watch! - that calls for a celebration - I think I treat myself to a Piccolo of Champagne tomorrow ...

ModernityBlog said...

Sorry, slightly off topic, but I thought you'd want to be informed.

Seismic Shock the Video is out.

Please do embed it and pass it on
Cheers :)

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Better to be not weak, and not dependent on friends, no matter how nice they are. Ask Israel.

But your son got depressed when one of his soldiers had his hand amputated.

There's a price to be paid for Fortress Israel. You can be cynical about it because it was not (God forbid) your son's hand, or life.

Why don't you try peace? The Saudi initiative is still on the table...

Yaacov said...

Those would be the Saudis who impolitely rebuked President Obama, when he asked them last year for a small symbolic gesture of goodwill to balance his larger requests of Israel? Those Saudis? The ones who don't allow Jews into their country, and certainly not into the more important parts of it? Those ones?

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Et tu, Yaacov? Get your facts straight. It's not by spreading lies about Saudi Arabia that you'll make your case. There's no formal prohibition on Jews entering the kingdom. Prominent counterexamples include Henry Kissinger and Jewish American soldiers stationed there during the Gulf War.

If the Palestinians are rejectionist because they don't take Netanyahu's "settlement freeze" charade seriously, then the Israelis are rejectionist because they didn't respond to the Saudi initiative -- even if you think it's also a charade.

ModernityBlog said...

This article on Saudi Arabia's racism towards Jews is interesting and informative.

Yaacov said...

Actually, Fake-Ibrahim, the Saudis do indeed prohibit Jews from entering parts of their kingdom - tho to be fair, Christians aren't allowed into Mecca, either.

One way or another, it's a side story. The problem with the Saudi initiative is that it preempts negotiations, and dictates an unacceptable Arab position. The best you can say about it is that perhaps (and perhaps not) it allows the Palestinians room to make peace with Israel without being sanctioned by the rest of the Arab world. Assuming, of course, that Israel gives up on things it can't give up on.

Anyway, the whole thing is irrelevant to you. Your position is that Zionism is wrong - irrespective of what the Saudis say. So you've forfeited your right to participate in the issues of negotiations, since you're against them all.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...


Thanks for your input. Your source clearly states, "The ban on Jews was removed."

It's false, thus, that there's currently a ban on Jews entering the kingdom, whatever may have happened in the past. As I said, please don't spread lies to advance your positions.


Actually, my idea of a binational state from the river to the sea is supported by many Jews living in the West Bank. See here. I happen to agree with them (and with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) that if their children were born there, they should enjoy the right to continue to live there.

But you've failed to address my point, which is that Fortress Israel is not the solution to anything.

Just yesterday, a reader over at Mondoweiss recalled his experiences near Hebron:

Last year when I was in Kiryat Arba visiting my niece, I was walking toward Hebron on a beautiful warm afternoon. Walking on the path toward me was a Palestinian family, a man, his wife and three children all of who looked less than 10. Two settler youths who looked to be no more than 16 intercepted them and the one carrying an assault rifle ordered the man to his knees pointing his gun at his head. First in Hebrew and then in broken arabic he ordered the man to walk around on his hands and knees barking like a dog.

I was appauled and immediately went to an IDF jeep parked about 30 feet away with 4 soldiers laughing hysterically at the scene.

The country may be secure, but some soldiers will continue to lose limbs, and many others will be dehumanized through occupation. I tell you; nothing, but nothing beats peace.

ModernityBlog said...

"Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf"

My mistake, I had taken your comments are genuine.

Now I realise that you are a fanatical "Anti-Zionist", dishonest to the core and given to cherry picking when it to suits.

I will remember to ignore you in the future.

Yaacov said...

Modernity -

Actually, Fake-Ibrahim - as we call him around here because he's not an Arab at all - has his uses. He demonstrates that there's no censorship around here, for one; he sometimes makes outlandish claims which are useful as anchors for ensuing blog posts; and in this case he encouraged you to give us that fine link, which I quite appreciate. I hadn't known that the Saudi No-Jews policy was a direct response to the existence of Israel.

Fake-Ibrahim - I'm touched, truly touched. After all this time, suddenly you're encouraging us to make peace for our own good. How sweet. I didn't know you had it in you.

Lots of things beat peace. Life, for example. Freedom. National existence. All sorts of things which hopefully can be achieved without violence, but if they can't they're still worth having. And no, don't tell me that the Palestinians are fighting for these things because they're not. They could have had them all repeatedly over the past 80 years or so, but were never interested.

As to Saudia - as is your wont, you're not reading carefully. Modernity's article doesn't say what you're implying; and anyway, even your false reading fails to adress y original point, which was that the Saudi peace initiative was invented by a country that has antisemitism written into its basic laws, such as not allowing Jews to enter it borders - even by your reading, that was indeed the case in 2002, when they cooked up the initiative. It's true still.

Finally: Mondoweiss. As you know I follow them pretty regularly. Lest you be confused: they are a very poor resource if it's facts your looking for. Their relationship to the truth, is, how to put it, incidental. Sometimes they pass it on, often not, and there's no particular pattern to it.

ModernityBlog said...

Thanks Yaacov,

I now remember that I have run across "Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf" before, he's a decidedly strange individual, some might say 'touched'.

Anonymous said...

Going through this exchange I kept asking myself whether Fake-Ibrahim and Richard are two incarnations of the same person. After all no self-respecting Brit would have boasted about the handling of North-Ireland the way that Richard did. And no it is not only the arguments it is the use of language/vocabulary and the appalling tactlessness with respect to the unfortunate wounded soldier which rings a bell with me.

Also I loved Ibrahim's? spelling of appalling - paul instead of pale somehow makes me giggle without really knowing why


Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Fake-Ibrahim - as we call him around here because he's not an Arab at all

This is a very broad statement. Was I born in an Arab League country? No. Did my ancestors come from one? Yes!

Maybe you're trying to say I'm not a Muslim?

Lots of things beat peace. Life, for example. Freedom. National existence.

The question is: would you prefer to live in a binational state with both hands intact, or in a state where you'll lose one hand to defend the privileges of an ethnic group?

I play the piano, so I know my answer. Maybe yours is different.

They could have had them all repeatedly over the past 80 years or so, but were never interested.

Israel has been offered peace and full diplomatic ties over the past 8 years, but was never interested.

Their relationship to the truth, is, how to put it, incidental.

In the incident described, two Jewish teenagers forced an Arab to walk on all fours at gunpoint. Do you think that's an unlikely event near Hebron?

such as not allowing Jews to enter it borders - even by your reading, that was indeed the case in 2002, when they cooked up the initiative

Not so. The ban on Jews was instituted on February 27, 2004, and was repealed some ten hours later on the same day. See here.

Also I loved Ibrahim's? spelling of appalling - paul instead of pale somehow makes me giggle without really knowing why

English is not my mother tongue, but I know how to spell that one. The misspelling came, curiously, from the native English speaker I was quoting.

Anonymous said...

I am more than ever tempted to believe that Ibrahim and Richard are one and the same

- I imagine him as a rather good looking man in the Tariq Ramadan style including that permanent I-am-suffering-face but dressed more like Steve Jobs and a great success with those of us ladies who never can resist being looked down upon a bit or more than a bit.

Yaacov said...

Hee hee hee. What a thought, Silke!

Actually, if my sources in Rosario are correct, he isn't lke that at all. He's a disgruntled fellow, bitter at the Jewish community for reasons I won't get into, and not at all of the calibre of Tariq Ramadan (much as I dislike Ramadan, he's not a lighweight). Fake ibrahim, hwever, does have at least one son, who likes playing football, like any self-respecting Argentinian boy should,and Fake indulges him - so he can't be all bad.

Anonymous said...

thanks Yaacov you really spoiled my day which I intended to spend looking forward to all kinds of wicked dreams about fake pleasures for this night. So it'll be the same dreary Mills&Boone as usual ;-)

But one last hope
- even if he is disgruntled may he not nevertheless have enticing looks?
oh and btw I disagree on the caliber of Tariq Ramadan - it is just that bag of tricks and opinions I learnt when I was introduced way back in the last century to the "teachings" of Dale Carnegie. Really nourishing stuff no matter from which corner sounds different.

Anonymous said...

oh and just to be clear the fact that somebody is saying nothing substantial doesn't make him any less potentially dangerous in my mind - possibly just the opposite - because I guess that people can either think something through or follow wholeheartedly a cause or a person but not both at the same time.
- so it's either thinking or running with it and yes I think that might apply also to the decent ones. Only hopefully they take a bit more care with the thinking before committing themselves to a cause.


Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Sorry, Silke, no good looks. I had to relocate to a country 10,000 km away from mine to fetch myself a wife; that says it all.

Yaacov, your source in Rosario is the one piqued at me because he didn't get invited to my daughter's quinceaƱera. Don't listen to his crap.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Mr. Fake, I don't get it - when it comes to wife-acquiring foreigners manage to do better than well-regarded and -connected locals????????

- but I found trains of thought that hold together never your forte so why should it be any different when you try to joke.

And as to your being disgruntled, it seems highly plausible because once somebody has sired a 15 year old daughter he has reached an age at which he is largely responsible for his face (the balance starts tipping at about 25 - the disgruntled faces show what their owner thinks most of the time just as those of the well-meaning do.)

One good advice: for a start it might help your face improving, if you would write with less glee and callousness and with a wee bit more tact about a wounded soldier and Yaacov's son to boot.


Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Actually, Ms Silke, that's the case. We Argentinians enjoy huge romantic success in Spain because we're perceived as cultured and sophisticated (which offsets our parallel fame as arrogant people) and because they love our accent.

I'm satisfied with my face, thank you very much. As for my "callousness," you've understood nothing. I'm responding to a callous argument. My bringing up the maimed soldier is a revulsive designed to make Yaacov see himself in the mirror.

BTW, what about YOUR looks?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Fake,
my looks?
drop down gorgeous
- to give you an idea: fuse Marilyn Monroe with Lauren Bacall but keep them brunettes

oh and btw I grew up as the daughter of a suicide prone maimed soldier thus I take callousness in that quarter very very personal and accept no facile excuses.

As to your pianist playing self you surely know that there are some high quality pieces (both musical and technical) for the piano to be played with one hand out there - maybe learning to master them would do you a bit of good


Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

OK, here's an exchange proposal: you send me a picture of yourself, and I send you a .mid file with one of my compositions for the piano.