Posts Tagged ‘Israel’


Anyone who reads this blog should be well aware that I have no great love for Islam — nor for any other religion — and I consider Islam a graver threat to human freedom than the other major religions combined.

Islam itself is bad enough, but the current administration is poking an Islamic hornets’ nest with a stick.

Its approach to Islamic peoples in the Middle East is extremely dangerous, as Donald Trump seems to be doing everything he can, via foreign policy, to encourage violence by radical Islamists, and seems to be doing everything he can to drive the young, impressionable, and desperate into the arms of violent extremists.

Trump is siding with the worst, most repressive regimes in the Middle East, most importantly Islamic extremist Saudi Arabia, but also the brutal military regime in Egypt, and the extreme right in Israel, which is turning Israel/Palestine into an apartheid state.

None of this plays well with the oppressed in those lands, nor with those in other countries who care about the oppression of their brothers and sisters.

Trump’s (and Obama’s, and Bush the Lesser’s, and Clinton’s, and their predecessors’) interventionist policies in the Middle East have created a situation that’s a festering sore, and that will remain one until the U.S. stops supporting oppression.

Just getting the hell out of the Middle East entirely would be a huge improvement on past and current U.S. policy. Even better, the U.S. could begin supporting democratic, secular elements in the region — shockingly enough, this is now happening in one very limited instance, with the Kurds fighting ISIS — and spending money on development aid.

But this is pure fantasy. I’d be more than happy with simple U.S. military withdrawal from the Middle East and the end of U.S. military and financial support for repressive regimes there. That alone would do more than all the bombs ever dropped to end Islamic radicalism.

To make matters worse, Trump also seems to be doing everything he can, via domestic policy, to promote radical Islam and violence by radical Islamists. While he supports repressive Islamist regimes abroad (our Saudi “allies” et al.), he’s targeting powerless, desperate refugees at home, and his hateful rhetoric inspires violence against them.

Again, this drives impressionable, angry Muslim teenagers and young adults into the arms of ISIS and other Islamic death cults.

It also isolates the Muslim community, producing an us-versus-them mentality. This is what Trump, his goose-stepping alt-right supporters, ISIS, and Al Qaeda want, but it is not what the rest of us should want.

Tolerance and communication will reduce Islamic extremism, isolation won’t.

If you want to fight Islamic extremism, don’t harass Muslims. It might make you feel better to harass them, but it’s cowardly and it’ll ultimately backfire. Leave them alone. If you want to drive them into the arms of the fundamentalists and the terrorists, you won’t find a better way to do it than to harass them on the street.

Think about it. How would you react to being harassed (or worse, physically attacked) simply because of your appearance? Your perceived religious beliefs? Would you be more sympathetic to your attackers or to those who present themselves as fighting your attackers?

How would you feel if someone attacked your family because of their appearance or perceived beliefs?

Harassment and physical attacks increase the isolation and fear level of Muslims in the U.S. — precisely the conditions under which extremism flourishes.

If we believe in religious freedom, let’s act like it. Treat people with respect no matter who they are or what their perceived beliefs.

And let’s exercise our freedom of speech. Islam (and Christianity and religious Judaism and Hinduism for that matter) cannot stand up to scrutiny and ridicule.

Give that to them in spades, subject those religions — but not their individual adherents — to scrutiny and ridicule at every opportunity. The best antidote to Islamic and Christian authoritarianism is freedom of speech and freedom of belief.

Our ideas are better than theirs. Let’s start acting like we believe it. Let them express their noxious beliefs: they won’t stand up to scrutiny.

Let’s start acting like we have respect for human rights and individual human beings.

And let’s start acting like we’re serious about defeating Islamic fundamentalism, and stop harassing Muslims.

 

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Putin’s Puppet, Donald Trump, the bully and sexual predator, the entitled slumlord’s son, wants to provoke terrorism on the part of Palestinian extremists.

Moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem will do exactly that.

He’s aligned himself with the Israeli extreme right in a move designed to provoke Palestinian hard liners, indeed damn near all Palestinians and damn near all Muslims.

If he actually does this, it will be as provocative as publishing a cartoon of Mohammed having sex with a dog.

Trump is aligning himself with the deeply corrupt Benjamin Netanyahu in violation of the 4th Geneva Convention, which prohibits occupying powers from moving settlers onto occupied lands.

This is a recipe for permanent conflict. And it’s a mark of how deeply the U.S. corporate media and political parties are in the pocket of far-right Zionists; ask yourself this: which is more likely, that the U.S. and Israel alone are right, victims of anti-Semitism, or that the other 191 nations in the UN are all anti-Semitic? — in itself a non sequitur, because the Palestinians are Semitic.  (As an otherwise progressive Zionist put it to me a few years ago, ¨They’re our cousins.¨)

Trump apparently wants terrorism.

He’s an irresponsible, but calculating, moron, and he could actually want further conflict in the Mideast, no matter the cost in human lives.

Trump very obviously has no respect for freedom of speech, no respect for the U.S. Constitution, no respect for the Bill of Rights. He apparently wants to provoke terrorist incidents.

Why? They could provide a convenient pretext for imposing martial law.

I’m not exaggerating. This utterly authoritarian American Mussolini is a traitor to everything America is supposed to stand for.

 


We put up our 1,000th post about three weeks ago. Since then, we’ve been looking through everything we’ve posted, and have been putting up “best of” lists in our most popular categories.

This is the ninth of our first-1,000 “best of” lists. We’ve already posted the Science Fiction, HumorMusicInterviews, AtheismEconomics, Science/Skepticism, and Addictions lists, and will shortly be putting up our final “best of”: Religion.

Here, we’ve folded three categories (Anarchism, Libertarianism, and Politics) into this post because of the relative paucity of posts on Anarchism and Libertarianism. We hope you’ll enjoy at least some of these posts.

Anarchism

Libertarianism

Politics


McCARTHYISM, n. 1. The hurling of baseless, slanderous charges at political opponents, be they groups or individuals; 2. A common means of leveling such charges through the deliberate conflation of two unrelated things, such as anti-Semitism and criticism of the state of Israel, or racism and criticism of Islam or Muslims (who come in all colors).

How these distinct things are identical is never explained, though one suspects transubstantiation or a particularly perverse form of syllogistic reasoning. To wit:

Most Islamic believers are black or brown.
So, criticism of Islam (a religion) is an attack on black and brown people.
Therefore those who criticize Islam are racist.

Or

Most Israeli citizens are Jewish.
So, criticism of Israel (a political entity) is an attack on Jewish people.
Therefore those who criticize Israel are anti-Semitic..

One could just as well argue the following:

Most American child molesters are white.
So, criticism of child molesters is an attack on white people.
Therefore those who criticize child molesters are racists.

And there you have it. What passes for political discussion in the land of the free.

* * *

–from the revised and expanded edition of The American Heretic’s Dictionary, the best modern successor to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary

 

American Heretic's Dictionary revised and expanded by Chaz Bufe, front cover


A couple of days ago I received an e-mail from a pal  about his being slimed as an “anti-semite” because he protested the Israeli army’s mass murder of children in Gaza.

Here are two simple questions: The Israelis are semites. The Palestinians are semites. How can the murder of one by the other consist of anti-semitism? And how can pointing this out be anti-semitism?

The extreme-right, Israel-uber-alles apologists who control the U.S. media ignore these questions. We need to ask them.


What is a terrorist?

Despite authoritarian attempts to redefine the term, it’s not a saboteur (who engages in property destruction), and it’s not a citizen who engages in nonviolent civil disobedience. It’s someone or some entity who threatens or engages in violence to intimidate others into bending to his (yes, almost always “his”) dictates.

Let’s take a look at Ferguson, Missouri. Militarized police killing civilians. Shots to the back of the head. Cops in body armor pointing automatic weapons at civilians, and sometimes firing on them. This is terrorism.

Let’s look at Gaza. One Israeli child reportedly killed by Hamas’s glorified fireworks, 400 to 500 Palestinian children killed by Israeli bombs. Another thousand with life-altering injuries: paraplegia, quadraplegia, limbs blown off.  Families living in dread of the next bomb tearing their children apart. This is terrorism. (And, yes, Hamas’s use of crude rockets qualifies, too.)

Let’s look at Syria and Iraq. ISIS, murdering Christians who refuse to convert. Murdering journalists. This is terrorism.

What to do with terrorists? First, recognize what terrorism is. After we’ve recognized what it is, let’s talk about how to deal with it and those who perpetrate it.

Let’s stop pretending that anyone you dislike is a “terrorist.” Let’s reserve the term for those who kill people and threaten to kill people. Only then can we deal with the problem.

 

 


by Chaz Bufe, publisher See Sharp Press

(Note: The final Palestinian civilian death toll resulting from the 2014 Israeli bombardment of and incursion into Gaza, was 1,660, including 527 children, resulting a grisly end result of 527 Palestinian children murdered by the Israeli armed forces to one Israeli child murdered by Hamas.)

I’ve had it. I’ve had it with being silent in the face of murder.  I’ve had it with my tax dollars paying for murder.

I’ve had it with American politicians kissing the butt of the brutal Israeli extreme right, thanks to AIPAC, which will bury in negative ads any politico who stands up for basic human decency. I’ve had it with the intimidated/complicit corporate media (hello Phil Griffin and MSNBC), and I’ve had it with politicians whose first loyalty is to Greater Israel rather than the United States (hello Chuck Schumer).

You’ll find more diversity of opinion in Israel than in the United States. Only here will you find apologists for mass murder arguing, somehow, that the two-hundred-plus Palestinian children killed by the Israeli “self-defense” forces were complicit in their own murders. Only here will you find headlines trumpeting the deaths of single Israeli soldiers, while the scant details of the deaths of dozens of Palestinian civilians are buried in later paragraphs.

One has to go back to the immediate aftermath of 9/11 to find such nauseating apologetics for the killing of innocents–and, no, not “hello” Ward Churchill, but rather “go to hell”–you who called the 9/11 victims “little Eichmanns.”

That effectively dehumanized the 9/11 victims, just as the corporate media dehumanizes the hundreds of children who have been murdered in recent days in the world’s largest open-air concentration camp.

This time, the number of Palestinian deaths (mostly civilians) is “only” about 30 to 1. Last time, it was a hundred to one. The only comparable death toll that comes to mind is Lidice.

I hold no brief for Hamas. I hold no brief for Fatah. I despise them. Just as I despise the brutal, expansionist Israeli extreme right.

In the end–despite all the sickening blather about “self-defense” as bombs hit schools, homes, and hospitals–it’s pretty damn simple: STOP MURDERING CHILDREN.