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Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
Wednesday, May 07, 2003
Rashid Khalidi Knows Little to Nothing About Iraq
In a post-war attack on the US government and the "neocons" supposedly running the show, the future director of the Middle East Institute, Rashid Khalidi, shows that he either knows little to nothing about Iraq, or he is so politically motivated that he cannot admit the facts.
I will go one by one to show this lack of knowledge and insight--if only because I, as an undergraduate student, should not be able to find holes so quickly in a distinguished professor's argument.
First there is the topic of why Saddam did not use Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) if he had them.
How about this thought: Saddam and his sons made a deal with the US government to be spared, as long as they left the scean quick and clean. Strong assumption? Not if you connect the dots. Uday reportedly took up to $1 billion with him, and the looting of the Iraqi museum was an inside job. The deal could go something like this: take the money, take the artifacts, and run all the way to either Syria or southern France--just as long as you do not kill our troops or your own people.
Would this be ethical? Absolutely. Would it be good policy? Undoubtedly. Numerous political scientists have preached the good in amnesty for despots, in that it can save lives. Such a deal would allow the US a relatively painless war while giving Saddam the incentive of staying alive--always a tyrant's primary goal. Would the US government admit it? No, and they shouldn't. Saddam has done so much harm that his people would want his blood no matter the consequences. Although their thirst for vengeance is understandable, sometimes in politics you have to grin and bear it and look for the best possible outcome. Gassing US, UK and Polish troops, along with the Iraqi people, would have gotten us no-where fast.
No offense, Rashid, but not only did Eason Jordan of CNN come out and say that CNN was basically the propaganda organ of the Ba'ath party for the past 12 years in his op-ed in the New York Times, but the "coalition" was far from a "transparent fiction." The only countries in Europe that did not in some way, shape or form, aid the US were France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxemburg and Russia. Hardly the whole world. To discount all of Eastern Europe--most notably Poland which sent large numbers of forces--or Australia, is a deliberate obscuring of reality. Rashid wouldn't be bending the facts to suit his politics, would he?
This paragraph is so rich that it seems Rashid hoped someone would dissect it line for line. First, democracy is the stated goal of the administration, and the elections in Mosul were just one of the first steps in that direction. If Rashid were a political scientist and not a demagogue, maybe he would catch up on the research into democratization and know that democracy doesn't come with a bang. A lot of work has to be done first, and if the US would get up and go, Iraq would spiral into an abyss of security vacuum and carnage.
Second, about US bases on Iraqi soil. What Iraqis is he talking about? The Kurds would very much like to see a permanent US military presence, if only to counterbalance the Turkish and Iranian threat. Are they not Iraqis to Rashid?
About providing Israel with oil: Ahmed Chalabi was the one who proposed that, and it doesn't go against the traditional Iraqi sentiment. I don't know how to break it to you, Rashid, but Iraqis don't care much about the whole Palestinian problem. Traditionally, relations between Iraq's Muslim and Jewish communities couldn't have been better, and to automatically assume that all Arabs must hate Jews is, well, racist and ignorant. Why exactly should the Iraqis keep a state of War with Israel? The Palestinians have done nothing but support Saddam, repress the Iraqis themselves--Saddam even kicked Iraqis out of their homes to open them to Palestinian refugees, and when Iraqis were starving in the streets, Saddam was sending fat $25,000 cheques to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.
Lastly, about the Shiia, is it possible that Rashid doesn't know anything about Shiia Islam? Because if he did, he'd know that Khomeini's brand of State Islam has been almost totally rejected by the Shiia religious establishment in Iraq. Moreover, Iraq was the birthplace of Shiia Islam--Al-Najaf and Karabala are in Iraq and Qom, the Iranian center of Shiia, paled in comparison and prestige--while the entire underpinnings of Shiia Islam is that they have to wait for the return of the Imam. In many eyes, a theocratic state goes against the very tenants of Shiia, and Khomeini bordered on heresy when he suggested that he was the Imam. So no, Rashid, many Iraqis do not want an Islamic state.
I won't even go into the rest of his argument, seeing as the above points do more than enough to illuminate this distinguish professor's ignorance of Iraq and Shiia Islam. Just think, if I, an undergraduate student, can so easily poke holes in his articles, how good a professor can he be?
Posted 8:22 AM by Ariel Comments?
Wednesday, April 16, 2003
Kramer takes on Said
In a wonderful fire-works show of grounded prose and analytical percision, Prof. Martin Kramer has taken on Said again, on the night of his Silver anniversary here at Columbia.
I encourage you all to read his column, and a chapter on Said from his brilliant book, Ivory Towers in the Sand. Continue reading through to his criticism of Assistant Professor Joseph Massad, who recently published an attack on Kramer and Daniel Pipes in Al-Ahram. Although he doesn't call me by name, as the only columnist that has repeatedly brought to light his biases and called for his removal, I do expect that he thinks of me as one of their "young dupes."
So here is from a "young dupe" to the Professor (since I know he is reading this--there is something to say about narcissists: they sure are thorough): Sorry, Assistant Professor, but I can think for myself, and if it walks like a racist, talks like a racist and publishes like a demagogue...you should be bright enough to figure that out.
Posted 7:37 AM by Ariel Comments?
Tuesday, April 15, 2003
25 years of Said and Columbia
Just as a follow-up to my article published yesterday, Jonathan Calt Harris, the managing editor of Campus Watch, has written an article on Columbia and academic bias, published by the National Review.
Although I personally do not agree with the conservative politics on the National Review, their coverage of academic bias has been on-target.
Posted 10:17 AM by Ariel Comments?
Tuesday, April 08, 2003
Exchange of Letters with Anthropology PhD of Columbia University
[This is the actual exchange of emails I had last week with a PhD of Columbia's highly acclaimed Anthropology Department. It is a bit long, but amusing, and shows how De Genova is not the only Columbia member that cannot control his mouth]
Dear Ariel, your recent "analysis" in the Spectator speaks both to your utter ignorance of the Middle East and your utter paranoia typical of right-wing racist zionists. What you have said about Joseph Massad has some measure of truth. however, your comments about Israel's "democracy" are so ill-informed and propogandistic as to be laughable. Israel is a racist, apartheid-like state that treats Palestinians--citizens and non-citizens like Blacks were treated under White supremacy in South AFrica. If you knew anything about either of these two contexts you would not say such truly unelightened and uneducated things. Your stupidity mirrors that of some of the other repulsive zionists on campus who never should have been allowed into Columbia in the first place. Your support for the apartheid state of Israel is morally repugant, particularly since so much of what Israel does mirrors MUCH was done to Jews by European (not Middle Eastern) anti-semites. Get a clue and do some reading about Israeli land law and stop being the ignorant fool that you are.
Department of Anthropology
Thank you very much for your comments.
Your language, and the fact that you are not listed in the Columbia University Directory, lead me to believe that you are not who you say you are.
Unfortunately, you are wrong on all counts. I do know a bit about Israel and land laws, and I have been to Israel as a peace activist and have seen the situation on the ground for myself--something which, from your hateful prose, I see you have not done.
I look forward for your constructive criticism in the future,
I've written an entire dissertation on Israeli land law, the colonial features of that state, and the horrible impact that such regulations have had on the people whose land was taken to build this sham of a "democracy." I was politically active in Jerusalem with anti-racist, progressive Israelis (people you might do well to get to know, such as the women at Bat Shalom and the human rights group B'Tsalem. I'm a recent PhD of Columbia, btw.
I would suggest you access some of these Israeli sources, since the Israeli occupation--as you know---is killing both peoples. I agree that Massad is a horrible person, a border-line anti-semite (if not full-fledged one), and not deserving of tenure. But it is important to differentiate between idiots like him and true democracts and progressives like Rashid Khalidi or Edward Said. I'm sorry for my initial tone—I should have been less adominim. I just get quite upset when writers attempt to apologize for Israeli human rights abuses.
I do not apologize for Israeli human rights abuses, and I am and have been privy to Israeli sources for some time, but I also do not view them within a vacuum. Compared to the abuses the Palestinian Authority, or any other state in the region for that matter, has committed against the Palestinian people, Israel is the only state that gives them any measure of rights.
I experienced that for myself first hand, working with Palestinian democrat activists from Gaza, Ramallah and Rafah, who were detained and threatened by Arafat's authority.
As for differentiating, I do so. I have written in the past on how Khalidi is not the danger people expect him to be. That's not to say that he is the expert he thinks himself to be: his published statements and research in the past have proved him to be blinded by what he thinks the Middle East is about, while not recognizing the faults within the Arab governments and societies.
I do, however, disagree with you strongly on Said. I have read his work, especially his recent articles, and both his tones and statements are anything but democratic and progressive, especially when he implicated the Jews in controlling the American government.
As for your dissertation, I have not read it. But from your reaction, and the passion you brought forth which clearly clouded your judgment, I suspect that you had a point to prove when you went about it, trying to fit it to post-colonialist lines. I would hope that a Columbian would try to free himself from the confines of narrow and unrealistic theories, and try to look at the world for themselves and not through a prism provided by those who support the greatest abusers of human rights in the region: the Arab governments themselves.
The "Arab governments," as you call them, are all horrible. However, not a one of them discriminates against minorities BY LAW in the way that Israel does. Israeli land law stipulates that Palestinians and other gentiles are forbidden to own land or long-term lease on over 85% of the so-called "land of Israel." This is apartheid, this is racism, and this is wrong. Israel fundamentally discriminates against Palestinians, forbidding them from even forming politically parties the state of Israel does nto like. ( Look up Israel's Basic Law (1984), which precludes any political party from running in Israeli national elections that denies that Israel is the state of the Jews. This is found in Uri Davis Israeli Apartheid, Zed Press, 1987. Israeli civil libertarians harshly condemned this law).
This is what i mean by apartheid and what any other state in the region does is utterly irrelevant. Those abuses do not justify Israel's continued colonization of Palestine--you should know that.
Sorry, but again, you really should check what you write before you send.
Lebanon has a clear discriminatory policy against Palestinians, much worse than Israel's, barring Palestinians from over 80 professions and from holding land anywhere. If you were to check with the Palestinian communities within Israel, they all own the majority of their land, and are administered directly by the State. If you want more proof, check the statistics pertaining to access to medical facilities, and you will find that the access afforded to Palestinians in Israel is far greater than in many countries in Western Europe. I could send you information on that if you would like.
Back to your point of "BY LAW" discrimination: The discrimination against the Coptic Christians in Egypt is institutionalized, as is the discrimination against the Kurds in Turkey, Syria and Iraq, not to mention the horrible discrimination faced by anyone not Sunni, or heterosexual in Saudi Arabia. Or democrats in Egypt.
But then again, none of these States are rule-of-law, so I guess one could say that the discrimination not accorded by law is more than complicated by the tyrannical policies carried on by the Mukhabarat.
As for Israeli land law, you are speaking about lands owned by the JNF and leased to the State. But it is not Apartheid. And as for the political parties, democracy depends on loyalty to the State, which is, in this case, a Jewish State. Jews, like the French and the English, deserve a state too, and this is the only one we have. But it doesn't mean that we cannot live with the Palestinians. If you were following recent developments, Asmi Bishara, even though he cavorted with Terrorists, was still allowed to run: if that is not democracy, I do not know what is.
I must say that your lack of knowledge about the inequalities inherent in Arab states (which are very relevant, since you wouldn't want to hold Israel to a higher standard, right--I mean, human beings are equal, no matter their race, religion or gender), and your quite general definition of Apartheid, is a bit disappointing.
No, Lebanon does NOT discrimate against Palestinians CITIZENS OF THE LEBANESE STATE. Israel ACTIVELY DISCRIMINATES against Palestinian CITIZENS (AND ALL OTHER GENTILES). tTat is the difference and the relevant distinction and makes all of your other "points" equally irrelevant and ignorant.. I see you've been schooled in the hideous art of zioinst apologia. Ignorance like yours speaks to a certain pathology of intellect that will be fought by me and others as long (and wherever) it rears its truly ugly head. Are you actually a student at Columbia?? Or one of those part-timers who got admitted through "alternative" means???
PS: Israeli apartheid has been condemned by a host of Black South aFrican activists who know a little more about racism than you do. Mandala and Bishop Tutu and Steven Biko have all condemned the nasty quality of this state and have said that it resembled almost exactly the treatment of Blacks by whites in South Africa. Perhaps if your circle of (intellectual) friends were a bit wider, you'd not continue to articulate the nonsense you learned growing up. Do not respond write me again.
This will be my last email to you at this time.
Your bogus distinction is telling: you are trying to apply western rule-of-law ideas to societies governed by fear.
Instead of making a stand on the plethora of Human Rights abuses committed every minute in the Arab lands, you have decided to focus your righteousness on the Israeli state, the only one in the region that accords any semblance of rights. You do so because Israel is democratic and allows self-criticism.
I do not apologize, and I do not allow borders to block my view of the horrors experienced by the Palestinian people.
I wish you luck fighting democracies, and I only hope you would have the courage to fight the battles that really matter.
I told you--you zionist fool--not to write me again. Educate your self, instead. Deal with your ignorance.
Posted 2:13 PM by Ariel Comments?
Sunday, March 30, 2003
Israeli Film Festival at Columbia University on April 5-6, 2003
Columbia University, New York-March 26, 2003-The Columbia/Barnard Hillel proudly presents "Portraits of Israel: An Exploration Through Film," the first annual Columbia University Israeli film festival open to the general public, to be held on April 5-6, 2003. This student-led initiative seeks to present the many sides of Israeli society through
film to spark conversation and dialogue on the Columbia Campus and the surrounding community about the people of Israel, the lives they lead, and the situation they face.
"Our goal is to open the campus to a deeper understanding of Israel than what you get from the evening news," says David Zionts, CC '05, one of the organizers of the project. "We chose movies that would bring Israelis to life for the viewers, movies that would show Israelis as real people facing real issues."
The festival is an apolitical event in the works since the fall. Mr. Zionts and Rena Rudavsky, CC '05, who had been working on the project throughout the year, were recently joined by a number of students who felt a need to provide campus with a more balanced and intricate view of Israel. "We hope to build a bridge between the communities based on more balanced information," says Ms. Rudavsky. "We are responding to the common misconception of an impersonal Israel defined only by one seemingly insoluble political problem."
The festival will take place on Saturday night at Rennert Hall, the Kraft Center, 606 W 115 St. (Off Broadway, south side of 115th), and Sunday at Altschul Auditorium, International Affairs Building, 420 W 118th St. (Entrance on the east side of Amsterdam Ave. directly after the Columbia overpass). Admission is by suggested donation, $3 for Students and $5 for the General Public. Tickets will be available at the Lerner Box Office March 31 - April 3, at Rennert Hall and Altschul Auditorium during the festival, and by reservation on the festival website. The event was made possible by the generosity of the Avi Chai foundation, Bank Leumi USA and Bleecker and Sullivan Advertising. More information can be found on the festival website, www.portraitsofisrael.org, or by phone at 212.854.5111.
Phone: (646) 528-0305
Posted 10:07 PM by Ariel Comments?