Heightened Senses

Hello. I'm Imraan. This is the only thing I own outright; I write from time to time, in the hopes that free-association might save a trip to a sanatorium.

Tag: Zionism

So who again was ‘wiped off the map’…?

EDIT: Read this  –  What Really Happened in Gaza this year.  – funny, eh, that a week after the US elections the Israelis began their assault – no-doubt Netanyahu was banking on a Romney victory, which would have seen a ground-invasion and a massacre of the Palestinians and possibly even an all-out war in the Middle East.

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Am I so ignorant that I should be astounded at the gall of the Israeli Government. As Press TV reports (and I assume this is accurate), in retaliation of the state of Palestine being recognised once more by the UN – and the vote was pretty resounding, with 9 opposed and 41 abstentions), the Israelis are now going to build three-thousand more units in the already occupied West Bank.

(http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/11/30/275419/israel-to-build-3000-settler-units/)

Intriguingly, one has to wonder whether this wasn’t going to happen anyway – as we have seen in the last few years there has been an escalation in building of settlement blocks and outposts in what is called the disputed territories  – which, to be honest, is only a designation used by the guilty party that has violated every UN resolution on this matter since  November of 1967, when Israel gained (illegally) a tremendous amount of land (it has since only relinquished the Gaza strip, and subsequently moved those settlers to the West bank – Quelle surprise!

But the point is this – that the Israelis to this day do not want negotiations to begin with any preconditions (i.e. following the spirit of UN-242 which divides the land, however unfairly, in Israel’s favour nonetheless), as the Israeli apartheid wall (which I’ve seen) that was allegedly built for defensive purposes already violates that Resolution; taking up at least 10 percent of the West Bank – not to mention the settlement ‘blocks’ of road and water infrastructure which some estimates say will take up as much as forty percent of what (for the moment remains) the West Bank.

Of course the irony ought not be wasted on you that Netanyahu’s remarks at AIPAC and elsewhere suggest that Israel be recognised by the Palestinians as the Jewish Homeland (which of course is a straw-man argument since the Palestinians have actual proof that what is now Israel is where their homeland was up until they were forcibly removed from it, and moreover one-fifth of the Israeli population is of Arab stock) and secondly, that Jerusalem entirely be recognised as her capital – again, in illegally occupied Palestinian territory – East Jerusalem also being the centre for Palestinian economic and social and cultural life (thank you, Drs Chomsky and Benvenisti).

Moreover, for a state that claims its enemies would like to wipe it off the map (among other absurd things), and also is a state ‘committed’ to a two-state settlement with Palestine – Avigdor Lieberman aside (just as a side note the former club bouncer who is now Foreign Minister is a very different breed to the well-educated Israeli politicians that once existed – however unprincipled they were), – one has to wonder why they are so opposed to the UN recognising Palestine as a state-entity – considering that that is their apparent end game again the irony shouldn’t be wasted on you that their actions speak louder than ; the point is that Israel is acting like a spoiled child that knows its guilt but will continue to attempt to emotionally manipulate and bully those that try to curtail her ability to act out.

As we can see, the only way for Israel to retain whatever thread of esteem she might have in the ‘world’ (i.e. the West – the world that actually counts for anything these days) is to decide to define the borders with Palestine, as well as what the Palestinian legal border might actually look at. As we saw at Taba in 2001,  the Palestinian Authority were willing to let Israel keep half of the settlements to that point – which was a tremendously generous offer considering that Israel wasn’t entitled to any of it – recall, it is inadmissible to acquire territory by land and to transfer your population to that land – Israel is guilty on both accounts.

Robert Fisk has often remarked that a two-state solution is now dead (from what I gathered from his interviews on RT and elsewhere), given the vast network that Israel is building – as a colonial occupying power, so long as the Palestinians resolve never to suffer total humiliation, the only way for this settler colony to remain relatively safe is to continue to maintain a presence in the whole of the West Bank – how else will she police those roads built exclusively for Jews and Jews only, or how else will she continue to usurp Palestinian water-rights, or how else will she stop the Resistance from rebuilding and coming back stronger….

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Here’s me musing….

I wonder now, given how the plight of the Palestinians is an exclusively European-caused problem – that if the Palestinians saw themselves as Arabs and decided that because of sixty years of persecution they might return to their ancestral home – (let us say for a second that we ignore the studies that show that Jews and Palestinians are actually of similar genetic origin – that they share a common ancestry), say, Saudi Arabia, an important client state to the US, how that would seem. After sixty years of persecution and the existence of up to seven million refugees scattered to the four winds, many living in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria as stateless people and in refugee camps, and others in the ‘West’, where is their case for having their own state?

You see, dear sympathisers of Israel, your logic falls here – at this point, the persecution of the Jews historically is rather moot – for they now have their own homeland, the fourth largest defence infrastructure in the world as well as a formidable nuclear arsenal, and moreover are internationally recognised – they are inflicting tremendous and barbaric suffering on the Palestinians whom they continue to subdue out of some sense of historical entitlement to the land which most of their ancestors had left some seventeen-hundreed years before; in exchange, they occupy a land that to this day have Palestinian claimants (these documents do exist) which has been their ancestral homeland continuously for centuries, if not longer .

To suggest these Palestinian Arabs return to say Saudi Arabia or wherever else is a preposterous suggestion – so why do you so gleefully support the right of the Zionists to do the same? Shame on you; may your mothers weep for you.

Noam Chomsky on Occupation

How very true. Why don’t more people in high office pay attention to what he has to say? He was deserving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom (not that he’d accept it) – not that despicable creature Peres.

There is no pit deep enough for these fundamentalist warmongers – ‘I think even Hell will spit out Netanyahu in disgust.’ We just wait, and pray for our Gazan brothers and sisters this day, who are so barbarically trapped in that tiny spec of land yet are enduring the harshest of realities.

Surely God is the best of Planners.

Freedom?! What Freedom?! Freedom-fanaticism and the fallacy of the State-Religion. Enough of the ‘Politics of Derision.’

A good friend of mine, Siraj Datoo (Editor in Chief of The Student Journals – studentjournals.co.uk) was in September on BBC World Have Your Say, as part of an interesting discussion on the protests across the Muslim world and from the Muslim communities in the West.

It’s a great discussion and I found it very thought-provoking. Yes, I know it’s a little late for me to comment – but in a narcissistic aim to feed my ego, I might as well chime in on the discussion.

If you’d like my rant and comments on this programme (very badly composed as I sort of zoned out and typed furiously over the course of a few minutes), I’ll include my thoughts under the link. Siraj’s blog can be found here.

I very much enjoyed this programme. I liked the French fellow – he seemed to have interesting things to say, but alas, did seem to speak a little from the privileged perspective.

I enjoyed this platform particularly because most of the panelists were articulate, educated, peace-oriented (although that’s the de facto human condition if you strip away all those things the higher powers use to divide us) – thankfully no fringe-fanatics were interviewed, no Anjem Choudarys or fanatical, angry, bearded clerics in sight, thank God!). Though the BBC is now an arm of the British Government in many respects, I think that this programme was pretty balanced and nuanced. Only that they didn’t discuss the problem of modern Western imperialism in the Middle East and the ‘global south’ in general.

The American fellow is moronic, if you’ll excuse me, comparing the President of the US to say the Prophet Muhammad, Jesus, Buddha etc – absolute madness. Most Westerners don’t feel about their leaders what Muslims in general feel about the Prophet Muhammad – he is seen as the paragon of virtue, of love, of humanity – I imagine the same way Christians feel about Jesus. If you actually read the histories and biographies of his life, his track record is far better than that of say, Sarkozy or Obama.

His talk (that is, our American friend) of freedom of speech in the States being a result of the struggle for liberation from British imperialism is a bit rich; many of the protestors, as was said on the show, live in the third world. They are affected by imperialism to this day. It’s all fair and well that the ‘free’ man can criticise – only he doesn’t realise that in his hand he firmly grasps the whip the beat at the backs of the barbarians he is trying to civilise.

More importantly, they are subject to rampant, unrestrained imperialism on the part of the US, Britain, the ‘free world’.

Do you think their burning of US flags and effigies of Obama are as a result of their hatred of ‘freedom’? As Chomsky said, it’s not that they hate our freedoms, but it’s that we hate their freedoms. The US has for decades continued to prop up the most authoritarian, fanatical regimes across the Arab and Muslims world (and elsewhere) – which undermines daily the dignity and freedoms of the Muslims. We saw it with Gaddhafi, Mubarak, the House of Saud, Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen, the Bahraini monarchy (now a client state), the Israeli government that for decades has massacred the Palestinians and Lebanese without restraint.. the list goes on…not to mention that they currently occupy two countries now in the Middle East. Don’t even get me started on what they’re doing across Africa, the Far East, the South Pacific.

Mahesh was completely misguided – liberating the Kuwaitis was a benevolent act on the part of the US?!

So long as this mentality of crazy, right-wing (party fanatical Christian Right) jingoism continues in the world, the West will never understand why it is the Muslim world feels under attack when symbols of their identity – especially their religious identity (no doubt the Islamic identity is the most powerful one extant today, the staying power and message of the Prophet hasn’t waned – which says something about the universality of Islam I think) – is denigrated.

Yes, the film was used as an excuse for violence – madness. But the anger, resentment, feeling of threat on the part of the Muslim world is not something they imagined. The US and Western imperial agenda is still alive, these protestors live in so-called ‘postcolonial’ societies (can you sense the irony?!) whose progress toward dignity, individual freedom, is constantly hampered by either US funds or Saudi petrodollars to prop up and perpetuate the most barbaric conditions – degrading the dignity of those Muslims, Christians and Jews who happen to live in those failed states.

As a community – we feel the frustration (as many of us more privileged in the West travel ‘home’ often) of our brethren, just as much as we feel under attack in or actual homes in the West because of this ‘softer’ approach toward marginalising an Islamic way of life in so-called democracies. The Prophet, hijab, halal meat, male circumcision, the Islamic moral code (that’s the whole of the Shari’ah – not just the punitive stuff the Right likes to parade on Fox News) – all of this is being sidelined in favour of something more ‘civilised’. Funny, I don’t see the Kosher food or male circumcision in the state of Israel as being demonised by our press in the West. But they do indeed seem to care a little too much about it in, Germany and France – where Muslims are a significant minority (as well as Jews, incidentally).

It’s ironic, is it not, that their aim to liberate those poor, oppressed, Muslim women in the Islamic world, they have to ban the burqa in France?! That’s just a pretext for something far more pernicious, sinister. Islam is coming under attack from a very influential atheistic lobby and Religious Right; my concern, and perhaps it’s paranoia – but if they continue to inflict this kind of neoimperialism and liberal arrogance on the Arab, Muslim and Third-World, and the Muslims (and perhaps even others) keep protesting both here in the West, and there, feeding the paranoia of the Religious Right and the secularists, the mass deportations might begin sooner than we think.

The proper response to such cartoons varies depending on the context of the people who are protesting – but certainly it should be a peaceful one. Moreover, the privileged Muslims in the West at least should pool their funds together – we need better PR. Thought it’s unfair that we are put in this situation to have to defend ourselves (people are uneducated about the Islamic world, about Muslims) – we need films, books, media of our own to be accessible, highly promoted – to build an understanding of what Islam has to offer to society, and what its potential can be as part of the ‘Liberal’ world.

I do believe in the tenets of freedom of speech – and if someone wants to disrespect a particular religion or institution – I will defend his right to do so. Only, he doesn’t realise that he has shackled himself to the state-religion, which is far more threatening, serpentine, insidious, far more dangerous than religion proper could ever be to his freedoms.

But I fear that by the time he realises it, it will be too late. Ah, the arrogance of the West (when I speak of the West, I don’t of course include countries in the Eastern bloc, or say the more developed countries in Latin America – I have far more respect for them, and to an extent the mediterranean countries, and their governments than I do for say the Israeli, British, German, American, Canadian, French, Autralian total Hegemon).

I quote Noam Chomsky way too much, but when he was asked about the politics of so-called secularist humanists who promote freedom (Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens, specifically) and use their platform to promote an “aggressive foreign policy”, Chomsky responded (here):

“I think they are religious fanatics. They happen to believe in the state-religion, which is much more dangerous than other religions, for the most part. So they…both of them, happen to be defenders of the state-religion, namely the religion that says that ‘we have to support the violence and atrocities of our own state, because it’s being done for all sorts of wonderful reasons…which is exactly what everyone says in every state…and that’s just another religion, like the religion that ‘markets know best’..it doesn’t happen to be a religion that you pray to…once a week. But it’s just another religion as is very destructive.”

Finally -the West needs a culture shift; for some reason Muslims are expected to put their Western, nationalist identity before their faith – something that Muslims, I believe, are resisting –  this is something that ardent secularists cannot grasp. The idea of liberalism and living in a free society from the perspective of minority groups is somewhat different to that of the secular, caucasian, affluent Right-wing.

But the fact that this sort of hate speech and rampant disrespect for beliefs that people hold dear – is just as much a damning inditement to the failures of a ‘free’ system that is solely based on the state-institution and of Capital, that ironically claims its virtues to be that it creates a context for universal acceptance, of respect. That it in fact can take place, in the first place, is very, very, telling. And yes, in case you ask, I would just as much defend the rights of Christians, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, etc to take offence if their religious figures and symbols came under such attack, and I would, if able, attend their protests also.

I’ve written too much, bedtime!

P.S By the way, I don’t despise atheists/secularists nor do I dislike Right-Wing Christians – but their political agenda is and are, well… just obscene. I think they’re the greatest threat to actual freedom – especially the freedom to choose your own identity, your allegiances, your priorities is this perpetuation of the free, secular myth. It hasn’t been able to take the place of religious beliefs, something it has aspired to do for the last century, fundamentally because it misunderstands the importance in impact of religion and religious beliefs of the lives of adherents. But then that’s another debate. 

American Radical; The Trials of Norman Finkelstein

Dear friends,

I was so glad to discover that the aforementioned film is still available on Al-Jazeera. I’d definitely recommend that you have a look if you have the time.

I have watched it at least a couple of times – I think it portrays a brutally honest look into the life of perhaps one of the most principled public figures alive today. For those of you who think that this will be a little dry – I assure you it isn’t (or so I think). It is both an honest look at what it’s like to lead his sort of life – an academic – though not always valued by the establishment stooges is nonetheless an incredibly prolific and insightful figure.

For those who don’t know him, Norman Finkelstein is an American academic, a political scientist more specifically, and a son of two Jewish Holocaust-survivors, who just happens to be one of the most vocal and articulate critics of the politics of the state of Israel and Zionism. Perhaps after the late Edward Said – he is probably the most sympathetic and fair critic of the subject – despite himself not being a Palestinian.

He has been embroiled in various academic discussions, most notably with perhaps the most, umm…let’s say ‘voracious’ popinjays of the Zionist Lobby, Felix Frankfurter Law Professor, Alan Dershowitz, of Harvard University, whose book, The Case for Israel he labelled a “fraud”. BAD idea…

Though usually staunchly pragmatic, perhaps he was a little foolhardy and rushed into a conflict with the Professor during a live debate on Democracy Now! (with Amy Goodman) – a very interesting watch and someone has uploaded it to YouTube. He clearly won the debate. Hands down.

This, by my estimation, resulted in his being removed from his post DePaul University in Chicago (the rather curious reasons for which are discussed in the film), and a huge public outcry and campaign against his unfair dismissal, which was supported by some very high-profile personalities.

Incidentally, Professor Dershowitz is also featured in this documentary, so certainly I don’t think a case can be made that the film was one-sided.

I am really a fan of his – he embodies perhaps the most important of the characteristics of what it means to be human, that is, empathy, and hope. Moreover, watching so thoughtfully reflect on his life is quite a treat. Perhaps I sound rather like a sycophant?! You decide!

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/2011/04/2011412103819678591.html