quinta-feira, 23 de fevereiro de 2012
A carta assinada por Noam Chomsky, José Saramago, John Berger e Harold Pinter, citada no Montbläat 200, se refere às "terras dadas aos palestinos por acordos internacionais nos últimos setenta anos". O que nos leva a 1936, 12 anos antes da criação pela ONU do estado de Israel ao lado de um estado palestino - decisão aceita desde então por Israel, mas nunca pelos árabes. O que diabos teria acontecido em 1936?
Fui pesquisar e vi que foi o ano da grande insurreição árabe na Palestina, contra a presença dos judeus no território administrado então pelos britânicos. É o nascimento do "movimento palestino". Mas a que acordos internacionais os ilustres intelectuais se referem? Não achei referência a nenhum acordo internacional sobre a Palestina naquele ano. Talvez haja um engano de data, porque em 1941 houve um acordo, sim, entre o líder dos árabes da Palestina, o Grande Mufti de Jerusalém, e Adolf Hitler, o qual dava todas as terras da região aos árabes (a "libertação da Palestina") e previa o extermínio dos judeus.
A história do Grande Mufti é fascinante, e renderia nas mãos de alguém como Spielberg um grande filme. Uma história que explica o que hoje chamam de "jihad", um movimento fascista de extermínio étnico, que os incautos confundem com um movimento de libertação nacional dos árabes.
O que segue é um breve resumo da história do criador do terrorismo
islamo-nazista, o Grande Mufti de Jerusalém.
Em 1921, Mohammad Amin al-Husseini, então com 26 anos, herdou o título de Grande Mufti de Jerusalém, a maior autoridade muçulmana da cidade, em poder da família dele, a mais rica de Jerusalém. Ele colaborava com as autoridades britânicas, mas pregava a absorção da Palestina (então sob mandato britânico por decisão da Liga das Nações) pela Grande Síria (que então incluía o que é o hoje o Líbano e estava sob mandato da França).
Husseini fundou uma organização anti-sionista que lutava pela expulsão dos judeus da Palestina. Em 1929, ele foi acusado de instigar o massacre dos judeus que residiam há milênios em Hebron. Foram mortos 68 judeus e os sobreviventes fugiram de Hebron.
Em 1931, o Grande Mufti fundou o Congresso Islâmico Mundial, como parte de seu projeto de ser declarado Califa, ou seja, o líder mundial dos muçulmanos (posto hoje reivindicado por Osama Bin Laden). A primeira meta da organização era expulsar os judeus da Palestina.
Em abril de 1936, Husseini comandou a Grande Insurreição, que começou com uma greve geral. As exigências, apresentadas às autoridades britânicas, eram a proibição da imigração judaica e da venda de terras a judeus. Houve ataques aos kibbutzim e outras colônias judaicas, até que os britânicos derrotaram a rebelião. Husseini fugiu para o Líbano e depois para o Iraque.
A Grande Insurreição marcou o fim da integração de árabes e judeus na Palestina. Os judeus, tanto os que viviam ali há milênios quanto os que imigraram da Europa, estavam totalmente integrados na vida comercial, política e cultural da Palestina. Com a insurreição fomentada pelo Grande Mufti, as duas comunidades se separaram para sempre. Este é o verdadeiro começo da "tragédia do Oriente Médio", e não a criação do estado de Israel , como muitos erradamente apontam (ver o artigo de Leneide Duarte-Plon no Montbläat 200).
A partir da subida de Hitler ao poder, em 1933, Husseini tentou convencer os nazistas a apoiarem o movimento palestino contra os judeus.
O Grande Mufti propôs a criação do Partido Nazista na Palestina, mas Hitler não concordou, porque o partido era exclusivamente para arianos, árabes não podiam ser aceitos. E na época Hitler ainda favorecia a emigração dos judeus da Europa para a Palestina.
Em abril de 1941, já em plena guerra, o general pró-nazista Rashid Ali deu um golpe em Bagdá, derrubou o primeiro-ministro pró-britânico e declarou jihad contra a Grã- Bretanha. Tropas britânicas venceram as forças de Rashid Ali e o Grande Mufti, que era o contato dos iraquianos com os nazistas, fugiu para Berlim.
Na Alemanha, Husseini foi recebido por Hitler em 28 de novembro de 1941. O líder palestino propôs uma declaração a ser assinada pelos líderes do Eixo a qual afirmava que: "A Alemanha e a Itália reconhecem o direito dos países árabes de resolver a questão do elemento judeu, que existe na Palestina e outros países árabes, como é exigido pelos interesses nacionais e étnicos dos árabes, tal como a questão dos Judeus foi resolvida na Alemanha e na Itália".
Hitler prometeu a Husseini a "destruição do elemento judeu" nas terras árabes e a "libertação da Palestina". Documentos nazistas descobertos recentemente no arquivo militar de Freiburg por dois pesquisadores da Universidade de Stuttgart revelam que Hitler planejava ocupar a Palestina e exterminar os 500 mil judeus que ali viviam, contando com a aliança dos árabes comandados pelo Grande Mufti. Entre as atividades de Husseini durante a guerra estão:
- Uma fatwa proclamando jihad dos muçulmanos de todo o mundo contra a Grã-Bretanha
- Programas de rádio com propaganda nazista dirigidos aos árabes
- Organização de espionagem e terrorismo em áreas muçulmanas da Europa e do Oriente Médio
- A criação das unidades muçulmanas da SS nos Balcãs
- Treinamento de religiosos muçulmanos para acompanhar as unidades SS. As unidades SS muçulmanas chegaram a ter dezenas de milhares de
soldados, na maioria muçulmanos da Bósnia, que combateram os guerrilheiros comunistas nos Balcãs.
O Grande Mufti colaborou ativamente no extermínio dos judeus no Holocausto.
Segundo depoimento no julgamento de Nuremberg dado pelo lugar-tenente de Adolf Eichmann, Dieter Wisliceny, "o Mufti foi um dos iniciadores do extermínio sistemático dos Judeus da Europa e foi um colaborador e conselheiro de Eichmann e Himmler na execução desse plano. Ele era um dos melhores amigos de Eichmann e constantemente o incitava a acelerar as medidas de extermínio. Ouvi ele mesmo contar que, acompanhado por Eichmann, visitou incógnito as câmaras de gás de Auschwitz ".
Husseini interveio pessoalmente para conseguir que Himmler cancelasse a troca de 5 mil crianças judias polonesas por prisioneiros de guerra alemães, que estava sendo negociada com a Cruz Vermelha. As crianças estavam internadas no gueto de Theresienstadt e foram removidas para campos de extermínio e assassinadas.
Uma das operações terroristas organizadas por Husseini foi o envio de cinco pára-quedistas para jogar toxinas (arma bacteriológica) no reservatório de água de Tel Aviv, durante a guerra. Os cinco foram capturados com 10 recipientes que continham veneno suficiente para matar 250 mil pessoas.
Depois da guerra, o Grande Mufti conseguiu fugir de Berlim, mas foi capturado em Paris. Escapou da prisão e se refugiou no Cairo. Embora sua captura para ser julgado em Nuremberg tivesse sido pedida, os britânicos temiam a reação dos árabes na Palestina e no Egito, onde Husseini era muito popular, e permitiram que ele continuasse em liberdade. De seu refúgio no Cairo, o Grande Mufti foi um dos principais instigadores da guerra contra a independência de Israel em 1948, para a qual criou uma força palestina, o exército da Guerra Santa (Jaysh al-Jihad al-Muqaddas). Em 2002, Yasser Arafat disse numa entrevista ao jornal palestino Al Quds: "Nosso herói é Hajj Amin al-Husseini. Tentaram muitas vezes se livrar de Hajj Amin, que consideravam um aliado dos nazistas. Mas ele morou no Cairo , participou da guerra de 1948, e eu fui um dos soldados dele".
Em 2 de novembro de 1943, Himmler enviou um telegrama a Husseini: " Para o Grande Mufti: o Movimento Nacional Socialista da Grande Alemanha tem, desde sua criação, inscrita em sua bandeira a luta contra os Judeus do mundo. Por isso acompanha com especial simpatia a luta dos árabes que amam a liberdade, especialmente na Palestina, contra os invasores judeus. No reconhecimento deste inimigo e da luta comum contra ele repousa a firme fundação da aliança natural entre a Grande Alemanha Nacional Socialista e os muçulmanos que amam a liberdade em todo o mundo. Neste espírito lhe envio neste aniversário da infame declaração Balfour (NT: a promessa britânica de um lar nacional para os judeus na Palestina, em 1919) minhas saudações calorosas e o desejo de sucesso na sua luta até a vitória final. Reichsfuehrer SS Heinrich Himmler".
Tradução: Joseph Skilnik
Nakba, o vocábulo árabe para "catástrofe", entrou para o idioma inglês referindo-se ao conflito árabe-israelense. Em concordância com o Web site anti-israelense The Electronic Intifada, Nakba significa "a expulsão e o despojamento de centenas de milhares de palestinos de suas casas e terras em 1948".
Aqueles que desejam o desaparecimento de Israel fomentam ativamente a narrativa da Nakba. Por exemplo, o Dia da Nakba tem como função ser a contrapartida palestina às festividades do Dia da Independência de Israel, anualmente anunciam publicamente os supostos crimes cometidos por Israel. Esse dia se consolidou de tal maneira que Ban Ki-moon, secretário geral das Nações Unidas — a própria instituição que criou o Estado de Israel — transmitiu seu apoio ao "povo palestino no Dia da Nakba". Até mesmo Neve Shalom, uma comunidade de judeus palestinos em Israel que alega estar "comprometida com o trabalho educacional pela paz, igualdade e entendimento entre os dois povos," obedientemente comemora o Dia da Nakba.
A ideologia da Nakba apresenta os palestinos como vítimas sem alternativas, por conseguinte sem qualquer responsabilidade pelas desgraças que caíram sobre eles. Ela culpa somente Israel pelo problema dos refugiados palestinos. Esse enfoque tem um apelo intuitivo, visto que os palestinos muçulmanos e cristãos, há muito tempo constituíram a maioria na terra que se tornou Israel, enquanto a maioria dos judeus eram relativamente recém-chegados.
Contudo, sensação intuitiva, não é o mesmo que exatidão histórica. Em sua nova obra magistral, Palestina Traída, Efraim Karsh da Universidade de Londres demonstra a citada por último. Com a sua minuciosa e habitual pesquisa de arquivos — nesse caso, baseando-se em uma abundância de documentos que deixaram de ser secretos, do período do governo britânico e da primeira guerra árabe-israelense, 1917–1949 — clara apresentação e meticulosa perspicácia histórica, Karsh sustenta o argumento contrário: de que os palestinos decidiram o seu próprio destino e arcam com praticamente a total responsabilidade de terem se tornado refugiados.
Nas palavras de Karsh: "Longe de serem as desafortunadas vítimas de uma agressão predatória sionista, foram os árabes palestinos que, a partir do começo da década de 1920 em diante e muito contrários aos desejos de seu próprio grupo de apoio, lançaram uma campanha implacável com a finalidade de apagar o renascimento nacional judaico que culminou no violento ataque a fim de anular a resolução da partilha da ONU". De maneira geral, observa ele, "não havia nada de inevitável no que diz respeito ao confronto palestino-judaico, muito menos em relação ao conflito árabe-israelense".
No entanto, mais contrário ainda à obviedade, Karsh demonstra que sua maneira de entendimento era a interpretação convencional, na realidade, a incontestável, no final da década de 1940. Somente com o passar do tempo "os palestinos e seus apoiadores do Ocidente gradualmente reescreveram sua narrativa nacional" com isso tornando Israel o único culpado, o condenado nas Nações Unidas, nas salas das universidades e nos editoriais.
Karsh usa o seu argumento com êxito estabelecendo dois pontos principais: que (1) o lado judaico sionista israelense perpetuamente procurou encontrar um acordo ao passo que o lado árabe palestino muçulmano rejeitou praticamente todos os acordos; e (2) a intransigência e a violência árabe causaram a "catástrofe" infligida neles próprios.
A primeira razão é mais conhecida, especialmente desde os acordos de Oslo de 1993, por continuarem o padrão no momento atual. Karsh demonstra uma consistência entre a boa vontade dos judeus e o rejeicionismo árabe que regressa à Declaração de Balfour persistindo por todo o período do governo britânico. (Para lembrar, a Declaração de Balfour de 1917 expressava a intenção de Londres de criar na Palestina um "lar nacional para o povo judeu" e a conquista da Palestina apenas 37 dias depois, dava-lhe o controle sobre a Palestina até 1948.)
Nos primeiros anos após 1917, a reação árabe foi atenuada, à medida que os líderes e o povo igualmente reconheciam os benefícios do espírito empreendedor e dinâmico sionista que ajudou a reviver uma Palestina atrasada, pobre e esparsamente povoada. Então surgiu, com a ajuda britânica, a perniciosa figura que iria dominar a política dos palestinos no decorrer das próximas três décadas, Amin al-Husseini. A partir de aproximadamente 1921 em diante, Karsh evidencia, os sionistas e os palestinos tiveram muitas opções; enquanto os primeiros optavam pelo acordo, os últimos implacavelmente decidiram pelo extermínio.
Em várias funções — mufti, dirigente de organizações islâmicas e políticas, aliado de Hitler, herói das massas árabes — Husseini conduziu seu grupo de apoio para o que Karsh chama de "inexorável curso de colisão com o movimento sionista". Odiando os judeus de forma tão maníaca, ele chegou a se unir à máquina genocida nazista, Husseini negou-se a aceitar sua presença na Palestina, qualquer que fosse seu número, muito menos qualquer forma de soberania sionista.
Do início da década de 1920, portanto, se testemunhou um padrão ainda em vigor e conhecido nos dias de hoje: Acomodação sionista, "concessões dolorosas" e esforços construtivos para diminuir as diferenças, recebidas com o antisemitismo palestino, rejeicionismo e violência.
Complementando esse dramatis personae binário e complicando seu nítido contraste, encontravam-se as massas palestinas geralmente mais acomodadas, a indecente, antissemita autoridade mandatária britânica, um rei jordaniano ávido a governar os judeus como súditos, irresponsáveis líderes de estados árabes e um errático governo americano.
Apesar da radicalização da opinião palestina apregoada pelo mufti e apesar da ascensão do nazismo ao poder, os sionistas continuaram a procurar uma acomodação. Levou alguns anos, mas a política de ganho zero do mufti e de eliminação acabaram convencendo os relutantes líderes Trabalhistas, inclusive David Ben-Gurion, de que boas ações não iriam facilitar seus sonhos de aceitação. Não obstante, apesar dos repetidos fracassos, eles continuaram procurando um parceiro árabe moderado para fechar um acordo.
Em contrapartida, Ze'ev Jabotinsky, o precursor do partido Likud de hoje, já em 1923 sabia que "não havia a mínima esperança sequer de se obter algum dia a concordância dos árabes da Terra de Israel para que a "Palestina" se tornasse um país com maioria judaica". No entanto, até ele rejeitava a ideia de expulsar os árabes e insistia no total direito deles à cidadania em um futuro estado judeu.
Essa dialética atingiu o ponto culminante em novembro de 1947, quando as Nações Unidas aprovou o plano de partilha que nos dias de hoje chamaríamos de solução de dois estados. Em outras palavras, ela deu de bandeja um estado aos palestinos. Os sionistas regozijaram, mas os líderes palestinos, principalmente o pernicioso Husseini, amargamente rejeitou qualquer solução que endossava a autonomia aos judeus. Eles fizeram questão de ter tudo, então não obtiveram nada. Tivessem eles aceito o plano da ONU, a Palestina estaria celebrando o seu 62º aniversário nesse mês de maio. E não teria havido nenhuma Nakba.
A parte mais original do Palestina Traída é a que contém uma revisão detalhada da fuga dos muçulmanos e dos cristãos da Palestina nos anos 1947–1949. Nela Karsh foi muito feliz na pesquisa de arquivos, permitindo a ele apresentar um quadro rico e inigualável sobre as circunstâncias específicas da fuga dos árabes. Ele passa um por um através dos vários centros populacionais árabes — Qastel, Deir Yassin, Tibérias, Haifa, Jaffa, Jerusalém e Safad — e em seguida analisa minuciosamente aquelas aldeias.
A guerra de independência de Israel se divide em duas partes. Os violentos combates começaram horas após a votação nas Nações Unidas aprovando a partilha da Palestina em 29 de novembro de 1947 e durou até a véspera da evacuação britânica em 14 de maio de 1948. O conflito internacional começou no dia 15 de maio (um dia após a criação de Israel), quando cinco exércitos de estados árabes invadiram, as hostilidades continuaram até janeiro de 1949. A primeira fase se consistiu principalmente em guerra de guerrilha, a segunda basicamente em guerra convencional. Mais da metade (entre 300.000 e 340.000) dos 600.000 refugiados árabes fugiram antes da evacuação britânica, a maioria no último mês.
Os palestinos fugiram devido a uma grande variedade de circunstâncias e por diversas razões. Os comandantes árabes ordenaram aos não combatentes que saíssem do caminho das manobras militares; ou ameaçavam retardatários com tratamento dispensado a traidores caso ficassem; ou exigiam que as aldeias fossem evacuadas a fim de melhorarem seu posicionamento no campo de batalha; ou prometiam que eles voltariam sãos e salvos em questão de dias. Algumas comunidades preferiam fugir a assinar um armistício com os sionistas; nas palavras do prefeito de Jaffa, "eu não me importo com a destruição de Jaffa desde que consigamos a destruição de Tel-Aviv". Os agentes do mufti atacaram os judeus com o propósito de provocar hostilidades. Famílias com recursos fugiram do perigo. Quando os inquilinos agrícolas ouviram que os proprietários seriam punidos, ficaram com medo de serem expulsos e se anteciparam abandonando as terras. Hostilidades mortíferas impediram o planejamento. Escassez de alimentos e outros bens de primeira necessidade se espalhou. Serviços como estações de bombeamento de água foram abandonados. O medo de pistoleiros árabes se alastrou, assim como rumores de atrocidades dos sionistas.
Em apenas um caso (Lydda), os árabes foram forçados a sair pelas tropas israelenses. A singularidade desse evento merece ênfase. Karsh explica acerca de toda a primeira fase da batalha: "Nenhum dos 170.000–180.000 árabes que fugiram dos centros urbanos e somente um punhado dos 130.000–160.000 aldeões que deixaram seus lares, foram forçados a sair pelos judeus".
A liderança palestina desaprovava o retorno da população, vendo nisso o reconhecimento implícito do nascimento do Estado de Israel. A princípio os israelenses estavam dispostos a aceitar o retorno dos deslocados de guerra, mas depois endureceram sua posição a medida que a guerra progredia. O Primeiro Ministro Ben-Gurion explicava seu modo de pensar em 16 de junho de 1948: "Esta será uma guerra de vida ou morte e [os deslocados de guerra] não devem retornar aos lugares abandonados. . . . Nós não começamos a guerra. Eles começaram a guerra. Jaffa começou a guerra contra nós, Haifa começou a guerra contra nós, Beisan começou a guerra contra nós. E eu não quero que eles comecem uma guerra novamente".
Resumindo, explica Karsh, "foram as ações dos líderes árabes que condenaram centenas de milhares de palestinos ao exílio".
Nesse livro, Karsh apresenta dois fatos importantes: que os árabes abortaram o estado palestino e que foram eles que causaram a Nakba. Nesse processo, ele confirma o seu status de ser hoje o proeminente historiador de obras literárias sobre o Oriente Médio moderno e estende os argumentos dos seus três livros anteriores. Seu magnum opus, Empires of the Sand: The Struggle for Mastery in the Middle East, 1789-1923 (com Inari Karsh, 1999), sustenta que os povos do Oriente Médio não foram, como se acredita normalmente, "vítimas desafortunadas de potências imperiais predatórias e sim ativos participantes na reestruturação da sua região", uma guinada com enormes implicações políticas. Palestina Traída aplica a tese desse livro ao conflito árabe–israelense, destituindo os palestinos das justificativas e complexos de vítima, demonstrando que eles optaram pelo seu destino ativamente, ainda que de forma errada.
No livro Fabricating Israeli History: The "New Historians" (1997), Karsh expõe o trabalho de péssima qualidade, até mesmo a fraudulência, da escola dos historiadores israelenses que jogam a culpa do problema dos refugiados palestinos 1948–1949 sobre o estado judeu. Palestina Traída mostra o outro lado; em caso do livro anterior refutar erros, esse estabelece verdades. Por último, no livro Islamic Imperialism: A History (2006), ele mostra o cerne expansionista da religião islâmica em ação no decorrer dos séculos; aqui ele investiga essa ânsia em pequenos detalhes entre os palestinos, associando a mentalidade da supremacia islâmica com a relutância em fazer concessões práticas a respeito da soberania judaica.
Palestina Traída recompõe o debate árabe-israelense de hoje colocando-o no seu contexto histórico adequado. Provando que por 90 anos a elite política palestina optou por rejeitar "o renascimento nacional judaico e [insistir na] necessidade da sua violenta destruição," Karsh corretamente conclui que o conflito irá terminar somente quando os palestinos desistirem de suas"esperanças genocidas".Tópicos Relacionados: Conflito e diplomacia árabe-israelense, História
segunda-feira, 20 de fevereiro de 2012
• كيف يمكن بلوغ السلام؟
• ما هي أركان السلام الخمسة؟
• ماذا كان رد الفلسطينيين على عروض السلام الإسرائيلية؟
• ما هو تأثير انقلاب حماس في غزة على فرص السلام؟
• هل يمكن أن تكون حكومة وحدة لحماس وفتح شريكا للسلام؟
• كيف يضر التحريض الفلسطيني بالسلام؟
• لماذا يجب الاعتراف بإسرائيل كدولة قومية يهودية؟* ما هو موقف إسرائيل من تأسيس دولة فلسطينية؟
• ماذا فعلت إسرائيل من أجل تحسين اقتصاد الضفة الغربية؟
• هل الضفة الغربية أرض "محتلة" أم "متنازع عليها"؟
• هل يتعين على إسرائيل الانسحاب إلى حدود سنة 1967؟
• هل تشكل المستوطنات الإسرائيلية "عقبة بوجه السلام"؟• هل تمثل المستوطنات الإسرائيلية خرقا للاتفاقات الإسرائيلية الفلسطينية أو للقانون الدولي؟• هل تبرر مطالبة الفلسطينيين بالتجميد الشامل والدائم لجميع النشاطات الاستيطانية رفضهم للتفاوض؟
أورشليم القدس• ما هو الوضع القانوني لأورشليم القدس؟
• هل للاجئين الفلسطينيين "حق عودة" يمكن تبريره؟
حل الدولة الواحدة• هل يمكن اعتبار حل الدولة الواحدة تسويةً عادلة؟
Israel, a territory no larger than the tiny principality of Wales or the state of New Jersey, would be forced to share this sliver of land with a new and hostile Arab entity to be called Palestine, while seeing its present narrow waist reduced to a mere and suicidal nine miles in width -- what an earlier Israeli statesman, Abba Eban, described as the Auschwitz borders.
Remember, there has never existed in all of recorded history an independent sovereign nation called Palestine -- and certainly not an Arab one. The term "Palestine" has always been the name of a geographical territory, such as Siberia or Patagonia. It has never been a state.
But there is a people who, like the Jews, deserves a homeland and truly can trace their ancestry back thousands of years. They are the Kurds, and it is highly instructive to review their remarkable history in conjunction with that of the Jews. It is also necessary to review the historical injustice imposed upon them over the centuries by hostile neighbors and empires.
Let us go back to the captivity of the Ten Tribes of Israel, who were taken from their land by the Assyrians in 721-715 BC. Biblical Israel was depopulated, its Jewish inhabitants deported to an area in the region of ancient Media and Assyria -- a territory roughly corresponding to that of modern-day Kurdistan.
Assyria was, in turn, conquered by Babylonia, which led to the eventual destruction of the southern Jewish kingdom of Judah in 586 BC. The remaining two Jewish tribes were sent to the same area as that of their brethren from the northern kingdom.
When the Persian conqueror of Babylonia, Cyrus the Great, allowed the Jews to return to their ancestral lands, many Jews remained (and continued to live) with their neighbors in Babylon -- an area which, again, included modern-day Kurdistan.
The Babylonian Talmud refers in one section to the Jewish deportees from Judah receiving rabbinical permission to offer Judaism to the local population. The Kurdish royal house and a large segment of the general population in later years accepted the Jewish faith. Indeed, when the Jews rose up against Roman occupation in the 1st century AD, the Kurdish queen sent troops and provisions to support the embattled Jews.
By the beginning of the 2nd century AD, Judaism was firmly established in Kurdistan, and Kurdish Jews in Israel today speak an ancient form of Aramaic in their homes and synagogues. Kurdish and Jewish life became interwoven to such a remarkable degree that many Kurdish folk tales are connected with Jews'.
It is interesting to note that several tombs of biblical Jewish prophets are to be found in or near Kurdistan. For example, the prophet Nachum is in Alikush, while Jonah's tomb can be found in Nabi Yunis, which is ancient Nineveh. Daniel's tomb is in the oil-rich Kurdistan province of Kirkuk; Habbabuk is in Tuisirkan; and Queen Hadassah, or Esther, along with her uncle Mordechai, is in Hamadan.
After the failed revolt against Rome, many rabbis found refuge in what is now Kurdistan. The rabbis joined with their fellow scholars, and by the 3rd century AD, Jewish academies were flourishing. But the later Sassanid and Persian occupations of the region ushered in a time of persecution for the Jews and Kurds, which lasted until the Muslim Arab invasion in the 7th century. Indeed, the Jews and Kurds joined with the invading Arabs in the hope that their action would bring relief from the Sassanid depredations they had suffered.
Shortly after the Arab conquest, Jews from the autonomous Jewish state of Himyar in what is today's Saudi Arabia joined the Jews in the Kurdish regions. However, under the now-Muslim Arab occupation, matters worsened, and the Jews suffered as dhimmis in the Muslim-controlled territory. The Jews found themselves driven from their agricultural lands because of onerous taxation by their Muslim overlords. They thus left the land to become traders and craftsmen in the cities. Many of the Jewish peasants were converted to Islam by force or by dire circumstances and intermarried with their neighbors.
From out of this population arose a great historical figure. In 1138, a boy was born into a family of Kurdish warriors and adventurers. His name was Salah-al-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub -- better known in the West as Saladin. He drove the Christian crusaders out of Jerusalem even though he was distrusted by the Muslim Arabs because he was a Kurd. Even then, the Arabs were aware of the close relationship that existed between the Kurdish people and the Jews.
Saladin employed justice and humane measures in both war and peace. This was in contrast to the methods employed by the Arabs. Indeed, it is believed that Saladin not only was just to the Christians, but he allowed the Jews to flourish in Jerusalem and is credited with finding the Western Wall of the Jewish Temple, which had been buried under tons of rubbish during the Christian Byzantine occupation. The great Jewish rabbi, philosopher, and doctor Maimonides was for a time Saladin's personal physician.
According to a team of international scientists, a remarkable discovery was made in 2001. Doing DNA research, a team of Israeli, German, and Indian scientists found that many modern Jews have a closer genetic relationship to populations in the northern Mediterranean area (Kurds and Armenians) than to the Arabs and Bedouins of the southern Mediterranean region.
But let us return to the present day and to why the world clamors for a Palestinian Arab state but strangely turns its back upon Kurdish national independence and statehood. The universally accepted principle of self-determination seems not to apply to the Kurds.
In an article in the New York Sun on 6 July 2004 titled "The Kurdish Statehood Exception," Hillel Halkin exposed the discrimination and double standards employed against Kurdish aspirations of statehood. He wrote, "[T]he historic injustices done to them and their suffering over the years can be adequately redressed within the framework of a federal Iraq, in which they will have to make do -- subject to the consent of a central, Arab-dominated government in Baghdad -- with mere autonomy. Full Kurdish statehood is unthinkable. This, too, is considered to be self-evident."
The brutal fact in realpolitik, therefore, is that the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians have many friends in the oil-rich Arab world -- oil the world desperately needs for its economies. The Kurds, like the Jews, have few friends, and the Kurds have little or no influence in the international corridors of power.
Mr. Halkin pointed out that "the Kurds have a far better case for statehood than do the Palestinians. They have their own unique language and culture, which the Palestinian Arabs do not have. They have had a sense of themselves as a distinct people for many centuries, which the Palestinian Arabs have not had. They have been betrayed repeatedly in the past 100 years by the international community and its promises, while the Palestinian Arabs have been betrayed only by their fellow Arabs."
The old nostrum, therefore, that only when the Palestinian Arabs finally have a state will there be peace in the world is a mirage in the desert. Fellow writer Gerald Honigman also writes on the world's preoccupation with the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians while ignoring the plight of the Kurds, Berbers, and millions of other non-Arab peoples of the Middle East and North Africa. Honigman's book was part of the LSS exhibit at the prestigious ASMEA Conference of scholars last November (and is now in at least a dozen major universities so far) and has several chapters focusing on the Kurdish issue. It's no accident that its foreword was written mostly by the President of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria.
During the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, the Kurds were gassed and slaughtered in large numbers. They suffered ethnic cleansing by the Turks and continue to be oppressed by the present Turkish government, whose foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, had the gall to suggest, at a meeting of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, that Turkey supports the oppressed of the world. He ignored his own government's oppression of the Kurds and predictably named the anti-Semitic thugdom in Gaza "oppressed." On the basis of pure realpolitik, the legality and morality of the Kurds' cause is infinitely stronger than that of the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians.
On the other hand, after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the Kurds displayed great political and economic wisdom. How different from the example of the Gazan Arabs who, when foolishly given full control over the Gaza Strip by Israel, chose not to build hospitals and schools, but instead bunkers and missile launchers. To this they have added the imposition of sharia law, with its attendant denigration of women and non-Muslims.
The Kurdish experiment, in at least the territory's current quasi-independence, has shown the world a decent society where all its inhabitants, men and women, enjoy far greater freedoms than can be found anywhere else in the Arab and Muslim world -- and certainly anywhere else in Iraq, which is fast descending into ethnic chaos now that the U.S. military has left.
Barack Obama, David Cameron, Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy, and all the leaders of the free world should look to Kurdistan, with its huge oil reserves, as the new state that needs to be created in the Middle East. It is simple and natural justice, which is far too long overdue. A Palestinian Arab state, on the other hand, will immediately become a haven for anti-Western terrorism, a base for al-Qaeda and Hamas (the junior partner of the Muslim Brotherhood), and a non-democratic land carved out of the Jewish ancestral and biblical lands of Judea and Samaria upon which the stultifying shroud of sharia law will inevitably descend. In short, it will be established with one purpose: to destroy what is left of embattled Israel.
Finally, it is also natural justice for the Jewish State -- with its millennial association of shared history alongside the Kurdish people, who number over 30,000,000, scattered throughout northwestern Iran, northern Iraq, Syria and Turkey -- to fight in the world's forums for the speedy establishment of an independent and proud Kurdistan. An enduring alliance between Israel and Kurdistan would be a vindication of history, a recognition of the shared sufferings of both peoples, and bring closer the advent of a brighter future for both non-Arab nations.
Mahmoud Abbas, Holocaust denier and present president of the Palestinian Authority, has never, and will never, abrogate publicly in English or in Arabic the articles in Fatah's constitution, which call for the "obliteration of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence" -- or, in other words, the destruction of the Jewish State and the genocide of its citizens. So much for the man President Obama and the Europeans shower with money and praise.
It is the Kurds who unreservedly deserve a state. The invented Palestinian Arabs have forfeited that right by their relentless aggression, crimes, and genocidal intentions towards Israel and the Jews.
Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/02/who_truly_deserves_a_state_the_kurds_or_the_palestinians.html#ixzz1myDX5bCq
sábado, 18 de fevereiro de 2012
Haaretz, Israel’s left-wing daily, used to be Israel’s newspaper of record and comparable to the New York Times, read also by those who differed from its line. Today Haaretz is read by less than 6 percent of Israelis, overwhelmingly composed of the country’s left-wing “elite.” Haaretz comes in far behind successful newcomer, right-of-center Israel Hayom at 38% and left-of-center Yediot Aharonot at 36%.
Haaretz’s English website, however, gets a very high Alexa ranking—around the 3900th most popular website in the world and currently neck-and-neck with the centrist Jerusalem Post’s site. Indeed, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu allegedly called (his office later denied it) Haaretz and the New York Times Israel’s “two main enemies” and said:
They set the agenda for an anti-Israel campaign all over the world. Journalists read them every morning and base their news stories…on what they read in the New York Times and Haaretz.
Whether or not Netanyahu said it, he could have added that foreign diplomats as well base their views of Israel, and their perceptions—however skewed—of Israeli opinion, on what they read in Haaretz.
For his part, Israeli justice minister Yaakov Neeman has allegedly gone even further and likened Haaretz to Der Stürmer.
Are such charges justified? To get an idea on whether they are, I followed Haaretz’s English website’s op-eds and editorials through the Israeli workweek of Sunday, January 29 to Friday, February 3. Having done the same experiment eight years ago, I can say right away that Haaretz has, if anything, gotten worse since then. (While its reporting is also biased, the bias is easier to demonstrate in opinion articles.) This despite the fact that last August, Aluf Benn became Haaretz’s new editor in chief.
For years Benn was a thoughtful left-of-center columnist for the paper who made valid, if arguable, points. Under his tenure, though, Haaretz has kept publishing the same bevy of radical leftists. It appears inevitable considering that the Schocken family, which has owned the paper since 1937, still holds a dominant 60% stake of Haaretz. In an op-ed last November, current Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken portrayed Israel as a country verging on apartheid.
During the week in question, January 29-February 3, Haaretz published 30 op-eds. Fifteen of these could be called neutral on political, left-right issues. Exactly one—by Haaretz’s sole regular right-wing columnist, Israel Harel—was a discussion from a right-wing perspective. Of the other 14, 11 were virulently left-wing and 3 more moderately so. As for the editorials, all six were harsh attacks on Israeli policy, leadership, and institutions. The following is only a sampling from the week.
On Sunday, Gideon Levy published a piece on a recent poll finding high levels of religious beliefs in the Israeli Jewish population. For instance, 84% believe in God, 70% believe Jews are the chosen people, 76% eat kosher at home—figures far beyond the approximately 25% of the Jewish population that is formally observant. This poll, to put it mildly, did not sit well with Levy and other Haaretz pundits.
Levy, for his part, wrote:
Expressions of racism toward Arabs and foreigners, Israel’s arrogant attitude toward international opinion—these too can be explained by the benighted, primeval belief of the majority of Israelis (70 percent ) that we enjoy complete license because You chose us.… we are in the West Bank above all because the majority of Israelis believe that it is not only the land of the patriarchs, but that this fact gives us a patrimonial right to sovereignty, to cruelty, to abuse and to occupation—and to hell with the position of the international community and the principles of international law, because, after all, we were chosen from among all other peoples.
That is not a valid polemic but, rather, an anti-Semitic rant. As Shmuel Rosner notes regarding the traditional Jewish belief in chosenness,
There’s nothing wrong with such belief. When Americans were asked by Gallup if their nation “has a unique character that makes it the greatest country in the world,” 80 percent said yes. According to a Pew survey, “About half of Americans (49 percent) and Germans (47 percent) agree with the statement, ‘Our people are not perfect, but our culture is superior to others.’”
Israelis, of course, do not regard chosenness as a license to commit crimes, and Levy cannot cite any evidence that they do. He just asserts it, or “spits it” would be more accurate.
Also riding the antireligious tide on Sunday, Amir Oren complained that the Israeli army “was another kind of army [once], before the chief rabbi of the air force took office, before the religious takeover of aircraft hangars, and their takeover of the rest of the Israel Defense Forces.” Oren approvingly quotes an anonymous letter to the chief of staff by a secular air force pilot:
…maybe I should let you know that the members of the air force, at least from [a certain] base, will not be meeting with authors, or guides who would teach them about nature and about various places around the country, or scientists or philosophers, or journalists or historians, or people looking at future trends. Only with religious people, who my son describes as crazy. I find no reason to assume that this disease only exists on this one particular base…. Don’t be surprised if normal soldiers don’t find their place in your army of God.
If this sounds like hatred of religious Jews, it is; and it is no less clear that hatred of a category of Jews is anti-Semitism. It should be added that, whatever legitimate controversies may exist about religion’s role in the Israeli army, one reason it has become more prominent there is that religious Israelis now disproportionately volunteer to be officers and combat soldiers—a fact I didn’t come across anywhere in Haaretz’s rants.
And Sunday’s editorial weighed in on the “failed” (except that all serious commentators knew they didn’t stand a chance) Israeli-Palestinians talks in Jordan, saying these were intentionally scuttled by Israel and adding:
Netanyahu, with [Defense Minister Ehud] Barak’s help, has turned the Iranian nuclear threat into an impressive ploy to distract attention from settlement policy and the perpetuation of the occupation…. The death certificate of negotiations based on the two-state solution is a badge of shame for Israeli society. It’s hard to understand how a society that has so impressively brought social injustice to the top of the agenda has fallen victim to our nationalist-religious leaders’ criminal ploy.
Here it should be noted that neither Netanyahu nor—even less so—Barak is considered religious in Israeli terms. But these bad characters, we see—with “Israeli society” in tow—are leading the world by the nose on the Iranian-nuke issue so they can tighten their grip on the West Bank. If this reminds you of Walt, Mearsheimer, Patrick Buchanan, & Co., it should—and it’s coming from a made-in-Israel website.
That Israel is an “apartheid state” is, of course, another shibboleth of contemporary anti-Semitism. It was well represented in Haaretz on Monday by Druze writer and contributor Salman Masalha who, in another crude rant, drew direct parallels between Israel and apartheid South Africa. Then there was Akiva Eldar, whose tirade also featured the crafty, peace-destroying Netanyahu:
If Netanyahu had not existed, the settlers would have been forced to invent him. It has cost him peanuts to remove some of the roadblocks in the West Bank, to lift part of the blockade on the Gaza Strip, and to pay a bit of lip service to “the peace process.” And, he has managed to preserve all the settlers’ interests.
…Fact: It is possible to gobble up additional territories and also be depicted as a moderate leader while managing to keep relations with the United States and Europe intact.
The settlers can relax. The general positions outlined last week in Jordan to the Palestinians [were] nothing more than another exercise aimed at presenting Netanyahu as a partner to peace and the Palestinians as the ones who turn it down….
Tricky Jews at it again; all is subterfuge, don’t believe a word they say.
Especially offensive, though, was Monday’s column by Merav Michaeli, who also focused on the poll that so upset Gideon Levy but found a different significance in it:
The issue that should have sparked panic in the survey is the total consensus among Israeli Jews…that the “guiding principle” for the country and for Judaism itself is “to remember the Holocaust.” Ninety-eight percent of the respondents consider it either fairly important or very important to remember the Holocaust, attributing to it even more weight than to living in Israel, the Sabbath, the Passover seder and the feeling of belonging to the Jewish people.
…That’s the way it is with traumas…. Trauma leads to belligerence and a strong tendency to wreak havoc on one’s surroundings….
A very high societal awareness of the Holocaust—cause for “panic”! From a non-Haaretz perspective, this might be seen as an educational success and a welcome phenomenon. Holocaust survivors, it can be assumed, regard it that way, and so would the victims. But for columnist Michaeli, it’s something that drives Israelis to beat up on others—again, a familiar canard of the anti-Semites.
On Tuesday Avirama Golan gave her take on Israeli secondary education:
from year to year, Israeli children will participate in experiential tours in Israel and abroad. First they will lift their heads in national pride in the City of David and shed a Jewish tear at the Western Wall…. Two years later they will march with a huge Israeli flag in the suburbs of Warsaw, will hate Poles and will swear to take revenge on the Palestinians…. Never mind. In any case these children will be drafted, will be welcomed to the army by the rabbi of the base, who will blow the shofar in their honor. It’s better if they’re prepared.
It’s nasty, leering stuff, and it’s anti-Semitic by any reasonable definition.
It was more of the same on Wednesday. Bradley Burston heaped some more demonization on the Israeli leadership:
If we’re lucky, the threat (no more than the threat) of an Iran attack (Bibi and Barak’s Glory Days Redux fantasy) will be just one more dodge to keep settlers and their opponents at bay: long enough to make it to elections, long enough to get another fix of power…. Alternatively, they could do the bidding of the hard right. Shun the left, exploit the center, build like mad in the settlements and bomb Iran for good measure.
By now it should be emerging that—aside from portraying Israel as a country that touts a phony Iranian threat for its own nefarious purposes, or might start a Middle Eastern conflagration for its own sneaky reasons—Haaretz is not fond of “the settlers.” The fury toward Israelis who live in the West Bank—now numbering well over 300,000 and covering the full sociological spectrum—clearly smacks of pathological obsession. Wednesday’s column by Zvi Barel directed still more abuse at these people, depicting them as taking over the country while perhaps being “willing to give Israel equal rights under conditions dictated by the invaders of the hills.”
Thursday was somewhat quieter, with the aforementioned column by right-winger Harel and a few “neutrals.” But Ari Shavit came through with:
Over the past three years, Netanyahu has succeeded in decimating the left’s belief in peace with the Palestinians, and he is en route to destroying the world’s hopes as well. He has managed to convince both the Americans and the Europeans that the main topic on the world’s agenda must be Iran….
And Haaretz was back in full force on Friday. Yoel Marcus:
…The most worrying survey showed that 80 percent of Israelis believe in God…. this number is another element in the weakening of the left, the strengthening of the right, the reinforcement of the rabbis’ rule and the sanctity of the territories—and the continuation of the Bibi regime.
Former Knesset member and cabinet minister Yossi Sarid offered an imaginary letter to his parents by an Israeli schoolchild taken on a school tour of Hebron:
They should stop telling us stories—we’re not children anymore. With our own eyes we saw the settlers acting like the bosses, telling the soldiers and the policemen what to do.… Once I saw a movie called “To Hell and Back,” and that’s a pretty good description of the day we had. We discovered a grave new world, in which an abomination becomes a righteous deed, as long as it’s performed by authority of the Torah, of course…. I’m going to have to rethink everything, after I found out…that God has more support than…Netanyahu here: at least 80 percent, and a majority is a majority. Just as murder is murder…. I trust our education minister will examine our memories to discover what Hebron did to us as a city that really stinks.
And Doron Rosenblum:
It has become difficult in this country to distinguish, at least on the visual level, between a ceremony to dedicate a new Torah scroll and a walk to the cabinet meeting by the prime minister (who is “good for the Jews”) and his entourage of skullcap- and kerchief-wearers.…
To sum up, then, the gleanings from one week of Haaretz’s opinion articles: the Jewish religion is primitive and benighted, and Israeli Jews exploit it to abuse others. Religious Jews are taking over Israel and the Israeli army and constitute a “disease” in that army. Israeli is solely and deliberately responsible for the failure of Israeli-Palestinian talks, and craftily uses the Iranian threat to deceive Americans and Europeans and advance its goals. Israel is an apartheid state. Israelis are driven by the Holocaust to wreak havoc on others. Israeli schoolchildren are inculcated with a ludicrous religion, Judaism, and learn to hate Poles and Palestinians. Israel may bomb Iran just so its prime minister and defense minister can please the “hard right.” The “settlers” are demons, entirely evil.
One of Israel’s main enemies? Haaretz’s English website is certainly that, as it spews this vile nonsense all over the world. Der Stürmer? With its hatred and defamation of the Israeli Jewish people and of Judaism in general, its volleys of anti-Semitic stereotypes, Haaretz is not far off.
quarta-feira, 15 de fevereiro de 2012
Dr. Isma'il 'Ali Muhammad, head of the Department of Islamic Preaching and Culture at Al-Azhar University, published a series of six articles on the website of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood describing "the Jewish character" and explaining the role of the Bible and Talmud in shaping it. Stating that cruelty, dishonesty and bloodlust are inherent to the Jewish character because they are part of the Jews' culture and scriptures, he supports his argument with quotations from Jewish sources, some of them distorted. He also repeats the well-known libel that the Jews use the blood of non-Jews to prepare Passover matzah, refers to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and quotes from the virulently antisemitic book Jewish Society by Coptic Egyptian writer Zaki Shenouda.
The following are translated excerpts from the articles:
The Jews' Behavior Is Deviant and Criminal
In the first article, published October 20, 2011, Muhammad describes the "Jewish character": "A prominent [fact] is that the Jewish personality, wherever it is found, is never free of deviancy and corruption, and is always striving to perpetrate corruption upon the earth. It is a personality that is unable to coexist in peace and equality with others or to form good relations with them. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that this personality is always a source of evil and harm in all human societies... and is completely unable to live in harmony in any human society.
"History, past and present, attests to the deviancy that is inherent to the Jewish character. In the early Islamic period, there were Jews who lived under the rule of the best of men, the Prophet Muhammad. They were treated well, yet despite this their deviant character immediately became apparent. Breaching their treaties with the Muslims and betraying them, they lead the infidel front [against them], strayed from the path of Allah and His Messenger, and harmed the Muslims. The punishment of being expelled from Medina by the Muslims was warranted by their [acts of] deceit and betrayal.
"In the modern age, the Jews have exploited their financial, media and organizational influence wherever they could, in order to corrode the foundations of virtue and spread destruction and corruption throughout the world – namely licentiousness, usury, wars, etc. Their latest [act of depravity] was usurping Palestine, expelling its people, destroying their villages to the extent that most of them have been wiped [off the map], and killing many of the people, including women and children. This [was done] with the help of the West, which wished to be rid of the Jewish presence in Europe.
"What the Jewish gangs did in the Arab villages of Palestine before the founding of the Jewish state, and what was later done by the army that was formed [by combining] these gangs, from the establishment of the state until today, is an obvious [act of] massacre that cannot be ignored. Books and publications present thousand of disgraceful and irrefutable documents attesting to the criminal and deviant behavior of the Jews. The world has become accustomed to seeing such acts on television and on the other media, sometimes even [broadcast] live.
"The Jews [never] honored the agreements they made with the Arabs who strayed from the correct path [by] recognizing them and entering into negotiations with them... Jews do not honor agreements. In fact, they do not ascribe any importance to them, unless they consider it advantageous to do so.
"Moreover, the Jews boast about their deviant behavior – [characterized by] depravity, corruption, hypocrisy and racism – in a constant [display of] baseless pride and foolish arrogance... [They exploit] their material power, which is fed by the support of the West and the feebleness of the Muslims and Arabs."
The Jews' Corruption Is Neither Incidental Nor Temporary
Muhammad stresses that the Jewish character is shaped by the Jewish heritage and scriptures, including the Bible and the Talmud, and therefore cannot be expected to change:
"This begs the question: Why is the Jewish personality so deviant and so different from [the personality] of other people? Psychologists know that the religious faith and cultural and ideological heritage upon which an individual is raised play a major role in shaping his personality and behavior – especially if this ideology or culture is revered and sanctified by the individual's society. A person's behavior and actions reflect what is in his mind and soul, namely [his] thoughts, perceptions and beliefs. A person's actions and behavior cannot be considered separately from his perceptions and culture.
"The deviancy and corruption that have permeated the Jewish personality throughout the ages are rooted mainly in the ideological, cultural and religious [value-]system that has been handed down from one Jewish generation to another and which has shaped [the Jews' character]. The Jews hold these [values] sacred. They obey the dictates of their sacred cultural and religious heritage, and their rabbis instill [these values] in them...
"The deviancy and corruption inherent to the Jewish personality are neither incidental nor temporary, and are not confined to [specific] situations, individuals or circumstances. They stem from the ideological roots of the Jewish essence, mind and spirit, and are based on a powerful conceptual system that permeates the Jewish soul like blood flowing through veins. This system is undoubtedly the main factor that shapes the [Jew's] personality and justifies his behavior over the years and in changing circumstances.
"The Bible and the Talmud are the main holy sources of Jewish philosophy. All Jews rely on them for their values, laws and moral [code], and they consider them to be of divine origin. Anyone who examines the conduct of the Jews throughout the world discovers that it fully reflects this ideological, cultural and religious heritage...
"The Jewish religious and cultural heritage includes beliefs and instructions [pertaining] exclusively to Jews, which aim to establish [their status] as people who are not equal to others in terms of their relationship with God, with the messengers and with the rest of humanity. This ideological background is meant to instill a tendency to perpetual evil and deviancy in the hearts of the Jews – and unfortunately, this is indeed what happens. [This ideological background provides] dangerous fuel [for their] domineering evil. We must not expect the Jews to mend their ways as long as this ideological heritage is their [source of] authority and inspiration, which has the last word in all their affairs, and as long as they attempt to shape the character of future generations according to the misguided and corrupt contents and concepts [of this heritage].
"Reading the Bible and the Talmud, and the ideas and studies that are based on them, such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the religious rulings of the rabbis, and the writings of Jewish philosophers, one finds that they reflect obvious hostility towards humanity as a whole, and supply the Jewish personality with a justification for its deviant and distinctive behavior... [These writings] encourage [the Jews] to extremism and to baseless arrogance and haughtiness towards anyone who is not Jewish. These ideological sources, which they hold sacred, inspire them to hypocrisy, deviousness and treachery, and [teach them] to consider the lives, property and women of non-Jews as theirs for the taking..."
The next article, published October 21, continues in a similar vein: "Relying on the Bible and Talmud, the Jews regard themselves as God's chosen... Based on this despicable racism and arrogance toward the rest of humanity, the Jews regard their religion as theirs alone. They do not attempt to spread it and are not interested in non-Jewish converts. They believe that Judaism is God's chosen religion, and nobody but them merits the honor of belonging to it. In the Jews' language, there is a special word for non-Jewish peoples – goy – whereas their word for themselves is 'am ["nation"]. Goy is a derogatory term. When a Jew calls someone a goy, he means [to imply] that this person is barbaric, savage, unclean and depraved..."
The third article, from October 22, states: "...The Jews believe that nobody in the world but them has any rights, that everything in the world is their property, and that God has given them the right to use and own everything – including other people's property. They do not refrain from using even the most despicable and depraved means in order to commandeer other people's assets. They believe that their holy scriptures, and especially the Talmud, sanction and even encourage them to take the property of others, to cheat them, and to steal their money by fraudulent, oppressive and hostile means. The basic presumption is that they are on par with God, and that God created them superior to all other beings..."
The Jews Use Blood to Make Passover Matzah
Muhammad's fourth article, from October 23, evokes the blood libel: "[The Jews'] heritage constantly encourages and incites them to kill anyone who is not Jewish, and to spread ruin and destruction in the non-Jewish world without mercy. According to the dictates of the Bible and the Talmud, only Jewish life is sacred. A Jew is neither punished nor reprimanded for killing or robbing a non-Jew. According to these dictates, nobody but the Jews is entitled to dignity and life.
"[Coptic Egyptian writer] Zaki Shenouda wrote [in his book Jewish Society]: 'A horrific barbarity flows in the veins of the Jews and percolates to the very depth of their essence and soul. This barbarity has been one of their most prominent characteristics since they first appeared, and has been an inalienable part of them throughout their history and in all domains of life. They are always ruled by a violent and frightening tendency to insane cruelty, and by a demonic craving to kill, murder, hang, burn, stone, abuse and torture [people], to cut off their limbs and perpetrate genocide, to burn down cities and sow destruction in any place that is under their control. They know no mercy. No [human] feeling, religion, faith, or conscience dissuade them from doing these things. They are like ravening wolves, rabid dogs, or mad swine who sink their teeth and claws into any animal that crosses their path. Only blood, and the sight of dead bodies and remains strewn about them, can satisfy their lust [for killing]...'
"The Jews' rabbis allow them to kill or butcher certain people, distill their blood, and use it to make the matzah that is eaten on Passover and on other holidays. One of the most famous incidents of this sort was the murder of father Thomas and his servant Ibrahim 'Amara in Beirut [sic] in 1840. Those involved in this incident, and especially the rabbis who ordered to butcher the two and distill their blood, admitted that it had been done out of religious motives, and that the blood had been used for making matzah... Here we again see the dangerous role played by the Jewish sources, which provide the foundations for their deviant behavior..."
The Jews "Cannot Be Freed [of Their Faults] Except by Cutting Their Hearts Out"
The last two articles, from October 24 and 25, focus on the Jews' "treacherous" and "dishonest" nature: "According to the Jewish ideological and religious heritage, the Jew does not have to honor any alliance with, or commitment to, a non-Jew. Hence, we see that the Jewish personality rarely stops cheating and betraying the other in negotiations. When the Jew has an opportunity to evade his commitments to a non-Jew, he unfortunately does so immediately... These traits are rooted in their nature, flow like blood through their veins, and rule their hearts. They cannot be freed [of them] except by cutting their hearts out." 
"Zaki Shenouda says: 'Hypocrisy and deceitfulness are the most prominent characteristics of the Jews. They pretend to be loyal and honest in order to conceal their deceitful and treacherous [nature]... They draw close to the rulers with pale smiles in order to achieve their aims, and then scheme against [the rulers] and even against God [Himself]. They address Him obsequiously with complaints and moans, but once He grants them [their wishes], they rebel and blaspheme against Him, draw away from Him and worship other gods...'
The Muslim's Plan for War against the Jews Must Be Based on Familiarity with Their Character
Muhammad concludes by stating that the Muslims must know their enemies, the Jews, in order to fight them effectively: "Until when will these facts continue to be hidden from the eyes of the world, [concealed] by the Jewish media's tools of deceit? The whole world must realize the truth about the Jewish personality, its despicable nature and its religious roots, in order to recognize its hostility towards mankind and take the necessary steps to defend against its evil [influence]. We Muslims are the most competent to undertake this [task]. Our plan for war and for struggle against the enemy must include, if not begin with, familiarizing ourselves with this enemy, with the components of his character and with the factors that shape it. It is time to devote more [efforts] to taking an interest in this matter, studying it and publicizing it, so that we can confront the Jewish enemy effectively, with the awareness and consciousness needed to ensure an outcome in our favor."
terça-feira, 14 de fevereiro de 2012
On 10 May 1994, Yasir Arafat gave what he thought was an off-the-record talk at a mosque while visiting Johannesburg, South Africa. But a South African journalist, Bruce Whitfield of 702 Talk Radio, found a way secretly to record his (English-language) remarks. The moment was an optimistic one for the Arab-Israeli peace process, Arafat having just six days earlier returned triumphantly to Gaza; it was widely thought that the conflict was winding down. In this context, Arafat's bellicose talk in Johannesburg about a "jihad to liberate Jerusalem," had a major impact on Israelis, beginning a process of disillusionment that has hardly abated in the intervening years.
No less damaging than his comments about Jerusalem was Arafat's cryptic allusion about his agreement with Israel. Criticized by Arabs and Muslims for having made concessions to Israel, he defended his actions by comparing them to those of the Prophet Muhammad in a similar circumstance:
I see this agreement as being no more than the agreement signed between our Prophet Muhammad and the Quraysh in Mecca.
Arafat further drew out the comparison, noting that although Muhammad had been criticized for this diplomacy by one of his leading companions (and a future caliph), 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, the prophet had been right to insist on the agreement, for it helped him defeat the Quraysh and take over their city of Mecca. In a similar spirit,
we now accept the peace agreement, but [only in order] to continue on the road to Jerusalem.
In the five years since he first alluded to Muhammad and the Quraysh, Arafat has frequently mentioned this as a model for his own diplomacy.
Though this allusion to events in early Islamic history is completely obscure to non-believers, many Muslims are familiar with the prophet's agreement with the Quraysh. Mentioning it in Johannesburg and often times since permits Arafat to send an almost clandestine message about his intentions toward Israel, one intelligible to Muslims but not to the rest of the world. What intentions did Arafat convey with his reference to the prophet's biography? An answer requires a historical excursus to the original incident nearly fourteen centuries ago.
There is a second reason carefully to review Arafat's reference, for it set off an unsettling debate in the United States, one which provoked some threatening comments. These in turn raise freedom-of-speech issues when the topic concerns Islamic sensitivities.
The Prophet Muhammad's life is by no means a conventional topic of research, and so requires a few words of introduction.
A century ago, the French critic Ernest Renan famously observed that Muhammad was the only religious leader who lived "in the full light of history." By this, he meant that the Arabic literary sources - religious texts, biographical accounts, chronicles, and much more - are replete with information about Muhammad's life. Beyond the impressive level of detail, they also provide plenty of evidence that can be interpreted as detrimental to the prophet's reputation - which of course only adds to their credibility.
But the sources that seemed so solid in Renan's time soon came under a sustained critique from scholars who cast severe doubts on their accuracy. Starting with the publication in 1889-90 of Muhammadan Studies by the great Hungarian orientalist Ignaz Goldziher, orientalists such as the legal scholar Joseph Schacht and the religious historian John Wansborough have developed a complex theory about the origins of Islam. In very brief, they note that the conventional biography of Muhammad was only recorded in literary sources decades or even centuries after the events they described. The scholars theorize that the information about Muhammad was not (as Muslims hold) passed down from one generation to another via an oral tradition; instead, it was conjured up only much later as ammunition for heated arguments about the Islamic religion. To score points, Goldziher and others argue, the latter-day polemicists associated their own views to the life of Muhammad.
Scholars who accept this approach more or less ignore the standard Muslim account about early Islam and the life of the prophet. In their new version of those events, Mecca, Muhammad, and the Qur'an are all quite transformed. In perhaps the most radical of these efforts, Hagarism, a 1977 study by Patricia Crone and Michael Cook, the authors completely exclude the Arabic literary sources and reconstruct the early history of Islam only from the information to be found in Arabic papyri, coins, and inscriptions as well as non-Arabic literary sources in a wide array of languages (Aramaic, Armenian, Coptic, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and Syriac). This approach leads Crone and Cook in wild new directions. In their account, Mecca's role is replaced by a city in northwestern Arabia and Muhammad was elevated "to the role of a scriptural prophet" only about A.D. 700, or seventy years after his death. As for the Qur'an, it was compiled in Iraq at about that same late date.
While these ideas are fraught with implications for the Islamic religion, many of them potentially beneficial, believing Muslims have for the most part studiously avoided paying any attention to this line of research. And so a strange - and ultimately unsustainable - duality now exists, with the scholars in the role of termites, eating away at the magnificent traditional structure and the believers acting as though the beams and joints were as strong as ever.
Turning to the Treaty of Hudaybiya and the conquest of Mecca: every last detail about these subjects comes from the Arabic literary sources. For the purposes of this discussion, which has to do with Arafat's statement and his audience's interpretation of it, the issue is not at all what happened in the seventh century but what the Arabic written sources tell about those events and how Muslims today understand them. In other words, we need only look at the literary sources - which greatly simplifies matters, for all analysts work from precisely the same texts.
This much established, what do the Arabic literary sources say?
The sources tell of tensions between Muhammad and the grandees of the Quraysh tribe who controlled Mecca, his home city. The Quraysh leaders viewed the upstart prophet as a direct threat to their interests for his monotheistic message undermined Mecca's status as a pilgrimage destination for followers of the polytheistic Arabian religions. Tensions between Quraysh and the nascent Muslim community eventually forced Muhammad to flee the city in 622 C.E., when he found refuge in Medina, a town to the north of Mecca. By 628, Muhammad had built enough strength in Medina to challenge the Quraysh and possibly to vanquish them and take their city; instead, he reached an agreement with them. Named the Treaty of Hudaybiya after the town where it was signed, this pact disappointed many of the Muslims, who were spoiling for a fight. The treaty held that the two sides
agreed to remove war from the people for ten years. During this time the people are to be security and no one is to lay hands on another. . . . Between us evil is to be abstained from, and there is to be no raiding or spoilation.In the twenty-two months after signing the treaty, Muhammad significantly built up his power base. He made new conquests and formed alliances with powerful tribes, in particular with the Bani Khuza'a. As a result, by 630, he was considerably stronger vis-à-vis Quraysh than at the time of the signing. Quraysh did less well in terms of making new alliances, but it did ally with another strong tribe, the Bani Bakr.
Now, the Bani Khuza'a and the Bani Bakr lived near each other and had a long history of feuding - and feuding in Arabia, as in Appalachia, was passed on from generation to generation. In December 629, some of the Bani Bakr, possibly with Quraysh help, took vengeance on a party of the Bani Khuza'a, killing several of the latter. On hearing this news, Muhammad instantly opted for the most drastic response - to attack Mecca. It appears that he had decided the time had come to challenge the ultimate power base of Quraysh in their home city.
In response, Quraysh sent a delegation to Muhammad, petitioning him to maintain the treaty, and offering (as was the Arabian fashion) material compensation for the lives of the dead men. Muhammad, however, had no interest in a compromise and rejected all Quraysh entreaties. In an act of desperation, Abu Sufyan, leader of the Quraysh delegation, went to the mosque in Medina and proclaimed, "O people, I guarantee protection for all!" To this, Muhammad dryly replied, "You say this, O Abu Sufyan, not any one of us."
Muhammad had already made quiet preparations for an assault on Quraysh. This meant once the desultory negotiations ended, he was ready in short order to advance with a huge force on Mecca. So impressive was his army that the Meccans made no effort to resist it. Instead, they surrendered their city without a fight in January 630. And so ended the Hudaybiya incident.
What is one to make of this sequence of events? Two points stand out. First, Muhammad was technically within his rights to abrogate the treaty, for the Quraysh, or at least their allies, had broken its terms. Second, it is equally clear that his response was disproportionate to the infraction: a raid by an allied tribe, even possibly with Quraysh connivance, hardly warranted conquest of the enemy's entire territory.
Combining these points leads to this conclusion: If there is no basis to accuse the Muslims of breaching their promise, there is reason to wonder what validity the treaty had if the Muslim forces were at the ready, seemingly prepared to exploit any minor incident to destroy a rival. The issue here is not a legal one but a moral and political one.
Nearly all Western historians agree with this judgment. Here, in rough chronological order, is how a few authorities have assessed Muhammad's actions. Note that while the earlier writers used harsher language (pretext, casus belli), the later authors do not disagree with them on the essentials:
William Muir, writing in 1861: "the alleged infraction . . . by the Coreish afforded Mahomet a fair pretext for the grand object of his ambition, the conquest of Mecca."
Carl Brockelmann, 1939: Muhammad "was simply waiting for a pretext to settle accounts with [Quraysh] once and for all. A brawl between a Bedouin tribe converted to Islam and some partisans of Quraysh, in which some townsmen from Mecca itself are supposed to have taken part, presented a pretext for declaring the peace broken."
Bernard Lewis, 1950: "the murder of a Muslim by a Meccan for what appears to have been a purely private difference of opinion served as casus belli for the final attack and the conquest of Mecca."
Montgomery Watt, 1956: "In the year 628 at al-Hudaybiyah it had suited Muhammad to make peace and end the blockade, for he was then able to devote greater energy to the work among the nomadic tribes. In the twenty-two months following the treaty, however, his strength grew rapidly; and when his allies of Khuza'ah appealed for help he apparently felt that the moment had come for action."
John Glubb, 1970: "It is possible that the Prophet himself was ill content at the prospect of having to wait ten years before he could march on Mecca, which now seemed as ready as a ripe plum to fall into his lap. He may consequently have welcomed the opportunity Beni Kinana had supplied, enabling him to break the truce."
Marshall Hogdson, 1974: "Muhammad interpreted a skirmish between some Bedouin allies of the Quraysh and of the Muslims as a breach of the treaty by the Quraysh."
Frank Peters, 1994: "The violation might have been settled in other ways-the Quraysh appeared willing to negotiate - but in January 630 A.D. Muhammad judged the occasion fit and the time appropriate for settling accounts with the polytheists in Mecca for once and for all."
And Arafat - what does the reference to Hudaybiya suggest about his future actions? It appears that he made the comparison with the Prophet Muhammad to make several points to a Muslim audience about his own actions:
- He made unpopular concessions that will turn out well in the end.
- He will achieve his goal - though what that goal is remains ambiguous: it might be just the city of Jerusalem (in parallel to the city of Mecca) or the whole of Israel (in parallel to the whole Quraysh dominion).
- He intends, at the right moment, to exploit a minor transgression to attack his enemy.
It bears noting how easily Arafat or a future Palestinian leader will find this to do-legally. Arafat has already signed five complex agreements with Israel that include hundreds of pages of mind-numbing detail. The Oslo II agreement of 28 September 1995, for example, runs 314 pages without attachments and includes a myriad of specifics. To take just one clause: Israeli authorities have obligated themselves to help the Palestinian Authority maintain a statistical system by transferring the "estimation procedures, forms of questionnaires, manuals, coding manuals, procedures for and results of quality control measures and analysis of surveys." The Hudaybiya precedent implies that Arafat can choose any lapse or transgression (say, not receiving the results of quality control measures) and turn this into a casus belli for an all-out attack on the Jewish state.
Muhammad as a Perfect Human
Arafat's Hudaybiya reference has reverberated for over five years, spurring debate about both the Hudaybiya episode itself and his intentions. Newspapers and magazines not usually in the business of opining on seventh-century events, much less with the sacred history of Islam, find themselves thrust into a wholly unfamiliar (and thoroughly discomforting) subject area. Often they make mistakes. Whether they deal with this topic accurately or not, the response of American Muslim institutions bear close watching. In general, they respond to any criticism of Muhammad's actions with unvarnished rage and sometimes even with intimidation.
Before delving into the American scene, some background is again needed, this time on Muslim attitudes toward the Prophet Muhammad:
Early Muslims saw Muhammad as an exemplary human but by no means a perfect one. Indeed, they dared not. The Qur'an itself refers to Muhammad as "erring" (93:7) and includes much information that reveals his foibles. Perhaps the most damning concerns the Satanic verses episode when, for evidently political reasons, Muhammad recognized the validity of pagan Meccan gods (53:19-21), thereby temporarily making Islam into a polytheistic religion (and appeasing his Quraysh critics). Internal evidence suggests to Muhammad's leading modern Western biographer, Montgomery Watt, that the Satanic verses incident must be true: "It seems impossible that any Muslim could have invented this story."
Then, over the centuries, Muhammad's blemishes faded. That is because, as Annemarie Schimmel explains in her study of the prophet's place in the Islamic faith, "the personality of Muhammad is indeed, besides the Koran, the center of the Muslims' life." The jurists, the mystics, and the pious turned Muhammad into a paragon of virtue, explaining away his apparent faults. Fundamentalists took this process a step further; in their eyes, Muhammad has acquired a Jesus-like perfection. As concerns the Satanic verses episode, for example, an influential Egyptian intellectual simply dismissed information about it as "fabricated (even though it is in the Qur'an itself)," indeed, he calls it nothing less than "a fable and a detestable lie."
This Muslim attitude of protectiveness toward Muhammad also breeds deep resentment of Western Christians, who have never been shy about expressing their own, rather less elevated, views of Islam's prophet. To get the flavor of these it may suffice to note that one of Muhammad's medieval names, Mahound, is defined in The Oxford English Dictionary, as meaning the false prophet Muhammad, any false god, a monster, or the devil. In modern times too, disagreement on matter of Muhammad remains widespread and intense. On occasion, it even has direct political consequences. Encountering the Christian hatred of Muhammad made the European imperialist venture that much more unacceptable to Muslims; for example, Schimmel argues that this "is one of the reasons for the aversion of at least the Indian Muslims to the British."
The sanctity of the prophet among the believers is such that Muslims resist any but a completely pious discussion of his character and actions-and all the more so coming from unbelievers. As Shabbir Akhtar puts it in his aptly titled book, Be Careful with Muhammad!, "endorsement of Muhammad's prophethood was the distinguishing feature of the Muslim outlook. It was the responsibility of the Muslims, therefore, to guard the honor of their Prophet." Even the allegation of Muhammad's faults is deemed an insult against Islam and in some places is legally punishable. Pakistani law mandates imprisonment or death for "wilful defiling, damaging or desecration of the Holy Quran, and directly or indirectly, by words either spoken or written or by visible representation, or by an imputation, innuendo or insinuation defiling, the name of the Holy Prophet." This law has been often implemented, with several Christians sentenced to death under the law (one specifically for telling a Muslim that Salman Rushdie depicted the Prophet Muhammad accurately), though no capital sentences have yet been carried out. In addition, dozens of people are awaiting trial in Pakistan on blasphemy charges.
The sort of open-ended discussion that the West holds on virtually every topic is precisely what Muslims most do not wish to permit about their prophet. Accordingly, Westerners doing what comes naturally to them, saying just what they think about Muhammad, find themselves under a barrage of bitter criticism from fundamentalist Muslims. The most celebrated case, Salman Rushdie's, happens to involve a Muslim living in Great Britain, but the same sort of threat could befall a person of any religion living in any country (which explains, for example, why the author of Why I Am Not a Muslim felt constrained to write under a pseudonym).
This long legacy and vehement set of attitudes meant that when American journalists, scholars, and politicians opined about the Treaty of Hudaybiya, the Muslim institutional reaction was predictably hostile. The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization credibly said to have a "close connection" to Hamas, the Middle Eastern terrorist group, took the lead in trying to suppress critical discussion of Arafat's Hudaybiya reference. When a commentator or politician had the temerity to raise this subject, CAIR orchestrated an abusive Muslim response. The first instance occurred in an editorial in U.S. News & World Report on 10 June 1996, when the magazine's editor-in-chief, Mortimer B. Zuckerman, touched briefly on Hudaybiya:
The Israelis have a historic question: Is Arafat a true peacemaker, or does he believe his own rhetoric when he echoes the doctrine of the prophet Muhammad of making treaties with enemies while he is weak, violating them when he is strong?In the next issue of U.S. News & World Report, dated 17 June, the editors noted publicly in a "word to our readers" that "Many Muslim readers have called or written to complain that we spoke badly of the prophet Muhammad and his legacy"; privately, they told of feeling "under seige." In a lengthy and carefully worded retraction, the magazine made the following key points:
Readers ought to be assured that no disrespect for Islam as a religion or for the prophet Muhammad was intended in any way. . . . The 10-year truce was broken two years later by the Meccans.Still, the outraged messages kept coming in, for the magazine had not repudiated the notion that Muhammad had a "doctrine" of breaking his word. A week later, the editors addressed this point, and wrote what their Muslim critics insisted on hearing:
We deeply regret any ambiguity in the language; Mr. Zuckerman meant no insult. He was referring to Mr. Arafat's reference to the Prophet and did not intend to state that this was the doctrine of the Prophet. . . . ...it was the Meccans, not the prophet Muhammad, who broke the peace of Hudaybiah of 628.This abject apology did the trick, and the controversy came to a close.
In a second incident, Yehoshua Porath, a well-known professor of Middle Eastern history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, wrote in The New Republic of 8 July 1996:
Arafat repeatedly equated the Oslo agreement with the Hudaybiya agreement, which the prophet Muhammad concluded during his wars with the Quraysh tribe. Muhammad broke the agreement eighteen months after its conclusion, when the balance of power changed in his favor, and it has become a guiding precedent in Islamic law for how to deal with non-Muslim powers.
Porath's credentials and stature perhaps explain why the reaction to this passage was particularly vehement. The New Republic editors explained in the 15 July issue:
Within days of publication, TNR was the target of hundreds of abusive phone calls, letters and e-mail accusing us of defamation of the Prophet and worse. It turned out that CAIR had, through CAIR-NET, its Internet site, exhorted the faithful to tell us off, and they did.Then follows a selection of foul, abusive, and threatening letters. A typical one read:
You guys had better watch out, ok? Because this is not going to go on further anymore, ok? You'd better watch out that f *ing Jew ... tell him where he is coming from, ok? Because you know mother-f *er bastard, mother--his mom is a bastard. ok? He can't talk about Muslim shit and you get your act together ... all of you. We don't want to hear anymore about this problem, ok? You got that right?The final case involved a politician, Representative Jim Saxton, a Republican of New Jersey. He wrote of Arafat in December 1998,
how can anyone trust an agreement compared to the Treaty of Hudaibiya enacted by the Prophet Muhammad, in which a treaty lasts as long as political expediency dictates[?]CAIR had Saxton's office deluged with aggressive but not threatening hate mail, making the congressman feel, in his words, "uncomfortable." He wrote CAIR a letter on 5 January 1999 in which he quoted the U.S. News & World Report editor's note cited above (that "The 10-year truce was broken two years later by the Meccans"). CAIR wrote a triumphant press release on 11 January quoting this phrase, then gilding the lily by adding five words in parenthesis and ascribing them to Saxton:
The 10-year truce (of Hudaibiya) was broken . . . by the Meccans (not by the Prophet Muhammad).
Reviewing these three cases suggests that Islamic organizations like CAIR either do not fully understand or do not accept the First Amendment and its strictures about freedom of speech. The rough-and-tumble of American life does not allow for a taboo to descend on certain subjects, no matter how holy they may be to a portion of the population. Even the most delicate issues - Holocaust denial, Jesus portrayed as a practicing homosexual, genetic black inferiority - get a full and lively airing. Attempts by the Council on American-Islamic Relations and like-minded organizations to impose on Americans the Middle East's notions of sacredness, censorship, and privilege are doomed to fail.
Given the vigorous U.S. tradition of free speech - indeed, its near-sanctity - American Muslims might be advised that they can best protect the Prophet Muhammad's reputation (as well as forward the other views of most concern to them) not by demanding silence, much less by threatening those who disagree, but by convincing the audience of their views. The sooner they accept this approach, the better they will represent their interests and the healthier the American body politic will be.
Sep. 1, 1999 update: For more on this subject, see my weblog entry, "Arafat and the Treaty of Hudaybiya - Updates."