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Saturday, April 22nd

Iran: part of the 'axis of evil'?

President Bush likes to divide the world in good and evil. The free, democratic and peace loving world versus the totalitarian, aggressive barbaric world, that is out to destroy us and turn the whole world into terror and despair. This is not new: before Bush, Reagan did the same, and of course, all countries that were communist or had friendly relations with the Soviet Union or China, were evil. Leftists and liberals opposed this one-dimensional worldview and pointed to the many shortcomings of the West and the good features of the 'East'. Although only a few of them were really communists, the view that the USA is an imperialistic and aggressive country was quite common. In the Netherlands, there was a large peace movement against the nuclear arms race, and especially the US/Western part of it. I don't remember that we ever demonstrated against the Soviet SS20, hundreds of which were aimed at Europe. We shouted 'better red than dead' and 'better to have a Russian in the kitchen than a rocket in the garden'. What drove me especially was the madness of this arms race, and I still think that it was good to raise our voices against that. What does civilization mean if we can destroy the Earth 20 or 30 times and at the same time millions of people starve for lack of food and medicines? What I don't understand in retrospect, is why we blamed only the West for this madness, and especially the USA. We knew about the treatment of dissidents in communist countries, we knew of the Gulag, we had seen what happened in Hungary, and Czechoslovakia when they protested against the system and demanded freedom. O.K. I was very young, and I hadn't seen this 'live' on TV. But nevertheless, I knew. For some reason, what the USA did to Allende, in Vietnam, in El Salvador, angered us much more than what the Soviet Union did in Afghanistan or Hungary. We replaced the one-dimensional worldview of the USA by a similar one in which the USA could do no good at all.


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Ratna Pelle on 04.22.06 @ 02:45 PM CST [link]

Why Europe and the USA are right in refusing aid to Hamas

Last week's decision of the European Union to cut aid to the Palestinian Authority and ban all contacts with the Hamas government, is condemned not only by the Palestinians themselves, but by several people and organizations in the EU. In the Netherlands, an authoritative advisory organ of the government criticized this decision and called for dialogue with Hamas.
'The west wants democracy in the Middle East, so it has to accept the outcome', is an argument used by many people, and: 'one has to negotiate and make peace with the enemy, not with friends'. Moreover, withholding aid to the Palestinians will lead to a humanitarian disaster and will drive the Palestinians into the hands of Syria and Iran, who both have promised help to the Palestinians recently. Also, Hamas will be better able to abide by agreements than Fatah because it controls the terrorist factions and is better organized than the corrupt Fatah that the Palestinians voted out of office. Just as Sharon could remove settlers better than Labour, Hamas can halt violence better than Fatah, so goes the argument.


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Ratna Pelle on 04.22.06 @ 01:06 AM CST [link]

Friday, April 21st

Hamas - Worse than you thought

Hamas was an organization that didn't seem to have anyplace to go but up. After all, what is there to recommend a group whose charter relies on the forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and whose major method of political discourse is to send human bombs to blow up women and children in hotels, discotheques and supermarkets? Palestinians voted Hamas into office, supposedly because they believed Hamas would fight corruption and put an end to chaos, rather than because of the salient characteristics of this organization.


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Ami Isseroff on 04.21.06 @ 07:28 PM CST [link]

Wednesday, April 19th

Brave Zionism

Zionists, like everyone else, should be brave. What is bravery and what is brave Zionism? Everyone has a different idea. Daniel Pipes and Mort Klein tell us to go for "Victory." Others tell us to "kill the peace process, kill the PA, kill the Roadmap, kill the terrorists." "Kill, Kill, Kill," doesn't sound like the Zionism I know or anything with which I would want to be identified.


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Ami Isseroff on 04.19.06 @ 02:40 PM CST [link]

Tuesday, April 18th

Will the real West Bank disengagement (consolidation) plan please stand up?

As I noted in Rethinking Disengagement, the West Bank disengagement plan of the Kadima party is attracting considerable criticism, and some of it is certainly legitimate.

Not the least of the problems is that the more one studies the public statements about the plan, the more it is clear that nobody knows exactly what it is. Different versions have been floated at different times. The Islamists may get 72 virgins, while we Zionists must be content with 72 versions of this plan.


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Ami Isseroff on 04.18.06 @ 11:19 PM CST [link]

Monday, April 17th

Rethinking Disengagement

Ehud Olmert's Kadima party ran on a platform of disengagement in the West Bank, which is evidently the legacy of Ariel Sharon. The plan was to evacuate isolated settlements and consolidate large settlement blocs, setting the Israeli border at "internationally recognized" frontiers unilaterally, in the absence of a Palestinian partner. The status of the remainder of the West Bank, which would no longer have any Israeli settlements, was never clarified. It was not stated whether or not the IDF would withdraw from these areas.

The plan was attractive to most Israelis because it promised to rid Israel of the burden of occupation despite the stalled peace talks, solve the security problem presented by ruling over large numbers of Palestinian Arabs, and gain for Israel, for the first time, internationally recognized borders.


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Ami Isseroff on 04.17.06 @ 02:24 AM CST [link]


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