Wednesday, October 31, 2018

When Hate Poses As Liberty: Romanticizing Terror

Hate posing as Liberty

The West Must Stop Fetishizing Palestinian Extremists - Stephen Daisley 
  • He is bare-chested, muscular and not unattractive. A Palestinian flag blazes in one hand, a slingshot is strained taut in the other. All around him is smoke and press photographers. Aed Abu Amro [pictured above], a 20-year-old Gazan, is rioting on the boundary between the Hamas-run statelet and Israel's southern frontier. Amro, who was snapped mid-rampage on Monday, has stirred that morbid romanticism which draws Western progressives to the Palestinians.
  • Newsweek gushed of "the now-iconic photo." The New Zealand Herald told its readers the image had "drawn comparisons with the iconic French Revolution painting, 'Liberty Leading the People,' by Eugene Delacroix [pictured above]." There is scarcely an anti-Israel agitator who has not tweeted, Facebooked or Instagrammed the picture. Depictions of heroic resistance rewrite the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a romantic epic in which righteous victims are ennobled by their oppression at the hands of inhuman tormentors.
  • Amro is the new Ahed Tamimi [pictured at right], the 17-year-old Palestinian jailed for eight months for assaulting Israeli soldiers. In a series of interviews with Tunisian media this month, she said: "We should always be slapping
    soldiers, wherever they may be, regardless of whether they did anything or not....We, as a generation, will fight for the liberation of Palestine in its entirety."
  • Tamimi will fight for the destruction of the world's only Jewish state, which is located, for those who still inhabit the fact-based community, on land to which Jews are indigenous, in which they alone have ever been sovereign, from which they were expelled, to which they returned, and upon which a rival Palestinian nationality so defined has staked a claim to nationhood for little more than a century and to statehood for around half that time.
  • Westerners have little time and even less comprehension for Palestinians who seek comity and compromise, who acknowledge Israel as the state of the Jewish people, who recognize Israel's legitimate security needs and who spurn the self-harming violence of their fellow Palestinians. The peacemakers exist but they do not capture the imagination of remote revolutionaries. They are the wrong kind of Palestinians.
  • Instead, Aed Abu Amro will be the face of Palestine and Tamimi its voice. The Palestinians will go on being pin-ups and go on being stateless.

Bruce's notes
In the real world, the Palestinian movement is fading: abandoned by fellow Sunnis the world over and increasingly spurned by Sunni majority countries.  The real world has grown tired of the contradictions in the Palestinian "narrative."  Nonetheless, there are significant portions of the progressive movement who are clinging to this dying cause.  This article highlights that trend in poignant fashion.  

Friday, October 19, 2018

The Saudi Crisis: Don't Make It Worse

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (AFP)

Take a Deep Breath on Saudi Arabia - Sohrab Ahmari

When it comes to Saudi Arabia and the Jamal Khashoggi affair, everyone needs to take a deep breath. 

That's an almost impossible task given the heinousness of the crime and the Saudi regime's feckless efforts to dodge responsibility for it. An alliance that withstood the melting heat of the 9/11 attacks, carried out by a team of mostly Saudi terrorists, now appears on the verge of collapse over the fate of an op-ed columnist.
Before endorsing calls to scrap the Saudi-American relationship, keep in mind the following: First, the Saudis can be terrible friends. But they are friends in a region full of enemies. What Riyadh did to Khashoggi was awful and appalling. The Saudis do lots of other awful and appalling things, too. Beheadings. Judicial amputation. Outright bans on the practice of religions other than Islam.
Even so, Saudi Arabia isn't a sworn, systemic enemy of the U.S. Their state is not founded on the mantra of "Death to America, Death to Israel, Death to Britain" (that would be the Islamic Republic of Iran, Riyadh's archenemy).
Second, destabilizing Saudi Arabia would be an enormous folly. Tightening the diplomatic screws on the Saudi regime could have deeply unsettling effects. As the outcome of the Arab Spring taught Western elites, don't flirt with a destabilizing rupture with Riyadh unless you are prepared to countenance an Islamist takeover and/or further Iranian encroachments. 

Don't Whitewash What He Believed - Petra Marquardt-Bigman

It doesn't really matter what views Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi held. Opinions quite simply never justify murder. Yet there is a widespread misperception that Khashoggi was some kind of liberal dissident.
As the New York Times noted, Khashoggi joined the Muslim Brotherhood as a young man, and he "remained conversant in its conservative, Islamist and often anti-Western rhetoric." 

Khashoggi told Al Jazeera Arabic a year ago he "deplored the [Saudi] authorities' decision to allow some in the Saudi news media to express support for Israel against the Palestinians." For Khashoggi, the "struggle against Israel" was a critical part of the Islamist agenda he embraced.

Khashoggi's intense hatred for Israel is clearly reflected in his Al Hayat columns. Israel's "existence is outside the context of history and came into being by force, it will live by force and it will die by force," he wrote. He praised Hamas for accomplishing the "miracle" of procuring rockets and explosives, and was full of admiration that "the huge network of tunnels that extends for miles under Gaza and the borders with Israel and Egypt were used brilliantly to inflict unprecedented losses on the enemy."