Monday, July 14, 2014

Rana Baker Justifies Palestinian Terrorism as Mere “Anti-Colonialist Counter-Discourse.” By the Elder of Ziyon.

Arab writer justifies Palestinian terrorism as mere “anti-colonialist counter-discourse.” Elder of Ziyon, July 14, 2014.

Rejecting victimhood: The case for Palestinian resistance. By Rana Baker. Open Democracy, July 14, 2014.

Finding my way to Palestine through narrative. By Rana Baker. The Electronic Intifada, August 15, 2013.

Supporting Terrorism and Bigotry at the Electronic Intifada: Anti-Israel Activists Thrilled by Abduction of Israeli Teens. By Petra Marquardt-Bigman. The Algemeiner, June 15, 2014. 

The Elder: 

Sometimes, pseudo-intellectual haters of Israel use their pretentiousness to justify the most heinous crimes. 

Introducing Rana Baker.

Baker writes regularly for Electronic Intifada, and she has also written for The Guardian. When the three Israeli teens were abducted, she gloated.

This article by Baker is in Open Democracy:
I wonder whether, when the settler-colonial army of Israel is pounding Gaza, Palestinians should grab guitars, pianos, and white ribbons, look up at their oppressors flying over their heads in apaches and F16s, and sing a lullaby of peace. Perhaps, then, we can impress Middle East “experts” and “non-violent resistance” – mind you, I am using the V word – butterflies. I wonder, moreover, what authority, defined by what experience, entitles these experts and butterflies to ask us, the Palestinians, to put down our arms. Nonsense.

. . . Resistance rockets fired from the Gaza Strip provide a necessary counter-discourse. The Israeli Jewish public must understand that there shall be no security so long as they do not turn their anger and frustration at their very supremacist privilege and ideological system which is embodied in the Israeli government, left-wing, centrist, or right-wing. No one is asking them to leave, but they must accept Palestinian resistance insofar as they accept the arrogance which characterises the Zionist ideology. The radical potential of Palestinian rockets, of sirens going off, lies in these rockets’ ability to disrupt a system of privilege which Israeli Jews enjoy at the expense of colonised and displaced Palestinians. Rockets, in other words, are a radical declaration of existence and unmediated expression of self-determination.

 . . . Israel was born in May 1948 after a mass wave of ethnic cleansing which led to the expulsion of more than half the native Palestinian population. This is the aggression to which every Palestinian rocket, demonstration, and burned tire, is a response. Until Palestine is liberated, and by Palestine I mean historical Palestine, Palestinian resistance cannot be expected to wane. To be clear, Palestinians fire rockets into what belongs to them in the first place.
There is a lot more nonsense in the article, but this is enough to demonstrate the lengths some people will go to in order to justify the rabid antisemitism that the Arab world has towards Jews – which is the real root cause of the conflict.

To perverts like Baker, terrorism is moral, and the only self-determination that means anything is that of a newly-minted people whose existence is impossible to find in any literature that is over a century old. Jews, of course, aren’t a people at all.

Baker’s invocation of “historic Palestine,” whose borders were drawn by her hated colonial powers, proves as well as anything that she is not really interested in justice or self-determination – she’s interested in only the land that happens to be controlled by Jews. The complete silence of these supposed ideologues regarding any part of Transjordan is all the proof you need that their agenda isn't as pure as they pretend.

But this essay is more than just about Baker's hypocrisy.

Rana Baker is creating and pushing her own, new model of morality, where Palestinians - and only Palestinians – do not have to adhere to any laws, ethics or standards. 

Once you justify terror rockets in whatever bizarre and disgusting worldview you have, you justify everything. Arabs can rape Israeli Jewish women for the cause. Gazans can strap bombs to newborn babies and throw them over the fence. Hamas is allowed to place Arab women and children in mortal danger in the hope that Israel will be blamed. (Oh, right, they already do that.)

This is the perverted moral universe that Rana Baker is advocating.

Not surprisingly, it is the exact same moral universe that Hamas and Islamic Jihad operate in. Just they use the Koran to come up with their justification, and Baker uses a twisted concept of liberal values like “self-determination” and “anti-colonialism.” It doesn’t matter – because the justification isn’t important, only the results are. And both Baker and Hamas want a lot of dead Jews.

If Jews who believe that the land belongs to them would adopt Baker’s mindset, then flattening Gaza is not only allowed, but morally necessary. Israel’s morals interfere with Baker’s morals? Well, too bad, she made the rules. Now that anyone can do anything they want if they consider themselves oppressed, we can dispense with such irritating constructs as international law or the laws of armed conflict or The Golden Rule. Baker justifies living in a post-moral world.

Not that she would admit that. She believes that her cause is unique and only Palestinians can act in any manner they choose in order to take away Jewish human rights. She is advocating a form of Palestinian supremacy, where the rules that apply to the rest of the world do not apply to Palestinians, and anything goes.

If a Zionist Jew would write essays using the exact same language justifying terror against Palestinian Arab civilians as a necessary part of their right to self-determination, he or she would (rightly) be called racists, while Baker’s paean to the beauty of terrorism is considered merely “anti-colonialist.” You see, after decades of Palestinians believing that they do have a unique set of rules that apply only to them, many in the world actually start to believe it.

Isn’t that interesting?

Consistency in rhetoric isn’t important to Baker and her ilk, except for in a single, narrow dimension. The only moral or rhetorical consistency for people like Baker is that, to them, the existence of Jews maintaining anything other than their natural status of dhimmis is unnatural and must be fought, with whatever means is necessary: rockets, suicide bombs, nuclear weapons, or tendentious essays that give the Jew-haters a means to justify their sickening immorality. As one cheerleading commenter writes:
Rana, I wonder if you realise what brilliant piece you just penned down. As Arundhati Roy wrote “Gandhi get your gun” in Walking With The Comrades I say keep those rockets from Gaza coming and let the siren echo in every stolen corner, square, street, park and home.
Baker provides the veneer of intellectualism to justify terror for those who are still uncomfortable with the concept. The murderous rampages in Paris and Frankfurt are a natural result of the sickening supremacism of Rana Baker – because if proudly targeting civilians is a moral obligation, then so is attacking Jews wherever they might be.

What is scary is that so many so-called “progressives” would never think about calling Baker what she is: a disgusting cheerleader for murder.

(h/t Geuzen1)

UPDATE: I forgot that I fisked her before.

UPDATE 2: Best comment on the thread at Open Democracy from Podein: (h/t Alexi)
If rockets are the way Palestinians engage in discourse, then Apaches, gunships and assassinations are simply the way Israelis correct their grammar.

The One-State Solution Is Almost Here. By David P. Goldman.

Between the Settlers and the Unsettlers, the One-State Solution Is on Our Doorstep. By David P. Goldman. Tablet, July 14, 2014.

Netanyahu finally speaks his mind. By David Horovitz. The Times of Israel, July 13, 2014. 

Netanyahu: Gaza conflict proves Israel can’t relinquish control of West Bank. The Times of Israel, July 11, 2014.

Does Obama Want 20 More Gazas? By Jonathan S. Tobin. Commentary, July 11, 2014.

Our EuroPresident. By Matthew Continetti.

Our EuroPresident. By Matthew Continetti. National Review Online, July 12, 2014.

Is Obama’s Foreign Policy Too European? By Clemens Wergin. New York Times, July 8, 2014.

Palestinian Delusions Fuel Conflict. By Jonathan S. Tobin.

Palestinian Delusions Fuel Conflict. By Jonathan S. Tobin. Commentary, July 13, 2014.


As the current round of fighting between Hamas and Israel concludes its first week today, no resolution is in sight. Israel’s government has made it clear that its goal is nothing more than “sustainable quiet” from Gaza but Hamas sees no reason to stop since the suffering they have created on both sides of the border has worked to their advantage. The reason for this has nothing to do with military technology and everything to do with the peculiar culture of Palestinian politics.

To an objective observer this makes no sense. Hamas set events in motion last month when some of its operatives kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teenagers and then escalated the conflict by shooting several hundred rockets into the Jewish state from its Gaza stronghold. The result of these actions would all seem to undermine Hamas’s credibility vis-à-vis its Fatah rivals.

The rocket offensive has clearly failed on a military level. To shoot hundreds of rockets at cities for a week and to fail to score one hit or kill a single person—and killing civilians is exactly the goal of Hamas’s effort—can’t be represented as anything but a flop. At the same time, Hamas has not demonstrated any ability to deter or defend against Israeli precision attacks on Hamas targets.

All this would seem to add up to a perfect formula for a quick cease-fire. The Israelis want to end the attacks from Gaza and its government has no appetite for a ground invasion. Hamas could just declare a victory of sorts and preserve what is left of their arsenal since replacing their stocks of Iranian rockets won’t be so easy this time due to the closure of the border with Egypt. But there appears to be no sign of the “sustainable quiet” Israel craves of even a temporary cease-fire. The reason for that is that Hamas believes it is winning.

How so? The answer comes from the people of Gaza. They have born the brunt of Israeli counterattacks while the leaders and fighters of Hamas and their weapons stockpile remains safe in shelters underneath the strip. But the sight of rockets being launched into Israel by the hundreds has bolstered the Islamist group’s political stock. They know that Hamas TV claims of Israeli casualties are lies. But nonetheless, the idea that Jews in Tel Aviv are being forced to take shelter even if the rockets never find their targets is a big boost to their morale.

Scratch beneath the surface and actually read or listen to the comments of Gazans and you see why Hamas’s popularity always goes up whenever there is fighting.

It’s not because the Israelis are being particularly awful to the Palestinians. People in Gaza know that Hamas is begging for Israeli retaliation and understand why the rockets are being launched from neighborhoods packed with civilians or in the vicinity of schools, mosques, and hospitals. They know that if instead of facing an opponent like the IDF that strives to minimize civilian casualties they were up against an adversary as ruthless as Hamas, the price they would pay for the attempt to terrorize the Israeli people would be far higher. After all, the Assad regime and its Islamist opponents have managed to slaughter more than 160,000 Syrians in the last three years and few in the West have even raised an eyebrow about that, let alone be motivated to action to stop that war.

The Palestinians have embraced the suffering that Hamas has brought upon them because they think being set up to be killed is their part in the war against the Jewish state. Read this quote from Al-Ahkbar:
Undefeated, the 43 year-old man told Al-Akhbar “this is the price that we have to pay; Haifa cannot be shelled and the Resistance men cannot sneak into Ashkelon to clash with the occupation soldiers if we do not present martyrs and casualties… all our wounds do not matter it if they can shorten the distance to Palestine.”
When Palestinians speak of Hamas actions they refer to it as “resistance against the occupation.” But by that they are not referring to any occupation of Gaza. Israel evacuated every single soldier, settlement, and civilian from Gaza in 2005. Nor are they talking about the West Bank. When they speak of “occupation” they are referring to pre-June 1967 Israel. They genuinely think of their war with Israel as an anti-colonial struggle in which the “colonists”—the Jews—will someday be forced to leave or die, as Hamas’s charter promises. Indeed, the conceit of that piece in Al-Akhbar is that even if bomb shelters were available to Palestinians (and as I wrote last night, they exist but they’re used for Hamas and their bombs, not civilians), they wouldn’t use them because they see their spilled blood as a contribution to the cause of reversing the verdict of 1948, i.e. the “Palestine” that the Gaza man is talking about.

The problem with attempts to understand this conflict is that all too much effort is spent on unraveling the minutiae of recent events and almost none is directed at trying to understand the motivations of Hamas and its supporters. If Palestinian statehood as part of a two-state solution were their goal, they could have realized it 15 years ago. Palestinian leaders, including the allegedly moderate Mahmoud Abbas, have rejected four such offers in that time. Instead, they have mindlessly preferred to refuse to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn and to insist on the so-called “right of return” for the descendants of the 1948 refugees (even though nearly as many Jews were expelled or fled their homes in the Arab and Muslim world after the same events) that is a prescription for the end of Israel.

Hamas makes no secret of its goal: the elimination of the Jewish state and the expulsion or murder of its people. Their rockets won’t get them closer to that objective. Nor will the spilled blood of Palestinians in Gaza. But it is the refusal of the Palestinian people to put aside the delusion that this is a desirable or achievable purpose that fuels Hamas’s popularity and perpetuates the conflict. Whether or not there is a cease-fire this week, it won’t really end until the Palestinians and their foreign supporters concede that history won’t be reversed and get on with the business of building their own lives in a world in which Israel’s existence is permanent.

British Guilt Over Jihadis Is for Dummies. By Janet Daley.

British guilt over jihadis is for dummies. By Janet Daley. The Telegraph, July 12, 2014.


In order to persuade young Muslims that their allegiance belongs here, this country will have to question its own casual self-loathing.

In the midst of the deeply unfunny news coverage of the two young British jihadi volunteers who were arrested on terror charges when they arrived back from Syria, there was one moment of comic absurdity. It seems that before setting off on their mission, Mohammed Ahmed and Yusuf Sarwar found it necessary to place orders with Amazon for those invaluable scholarly treatises, Islam for Dummies, The Koran for Dummies and Arabic for Dummies. Hilarity aside, there is something important to be noted here.

First, these 22-year-olds were obviously not the products of some extreme mosque which had drilled them in Islamist fundamentalism. In fact, they were so untutored in the religion to which they were nominally affiliated that they had to equip themselves with a crash course in its basic principles. Nor had they come from families which were inclined to endorse their terrorist fantasies. Indeed, their own parents were so horrified when they learned of the men’s activities that they turned them in to the police. So we need to ask, as a matter of urgency, where it came from, this bizarre determination to be inducted into a campaign of seditious murder that (we can assume from their decision to plead guilty to the terror charges) they fully intended to bring home with them. What causes young men to risk their own lives, and those of who knows how many others, for a cause about which they know so little that they have to mug it up before they catch the plane?

Actually, this kind of thing is not unprecedented: romantic death cults involving nihilistic violence and garbled philosophy have a well-established attraction for the young. (Even suicide is a form of power, to choose your own death being the ultimate expression of omnipotence.) What is peculiarly dangerous about this version is that it has a global power base. This is not a handful of neo-Nazi fantasists plotting in a suburban garage, or a clique of misfit teenagers arming themselves for a school shooting spree. There are international, well-funded movements churning out professional recruitment videos designed specifically to invade the daydreams of the credulous Ahmeds and Sarwars of Britain and lure them into annihilation.

There has come to be something of a consensus that this is a problem that only the moderate Muslim community can deal with through its own moral authority. But parents as courageous and civically responsible as these two would-be jihadis had are not going to be ten-a-penny. And it is unfair for the society at large to wash its hands and leave it all to the families and the neighbours, most of whom are as new to all this as we are. If too many young Britons are drawn to a hateful, barely understood dogma because it seems to bring some magical sense of belonging, then something is clearly wrong with their lives in this country. There is apparently nothing on offer here that can compete with the promise of exaltation that is available for the price of a plane ticket.

Contrary to all the educational shibboleths of our time, young men are motivated by aggression and power: their dreams are of glorious triumph over rivals. If they are denied these things – even in the ritualised forms that used to be provided by an education system that understood how dangerous male adolescence was – then they will seek them wherever they can be found. Gang violence, with its criminal initiation rites, or Muslim fanaticism can fill a void, offering not just a licence for brutality but for banding together into hostile tribes. There was a time – before characteristically male behaviour was devalued in favour of the female virtues of empathy and conciliation – when these proclivities were dealt with quite effectively by combative team sports and military cadet corps. Institutionalised aggression was supervised by adult authority until the young men grew up and became responsible for their own impulses.

But now that the Western powers are clearly withdrawing from the global policing business, what point could there be in the quasi-military training which provided such a useful outlet for youthful male energy? As the great Atlantic nations recede into domesticity and quieter recreations, what are young men likely to do with their ungovernable instincts? Look abroad, presumably – to somewhere with which they can feel some plausible identification, even if that relationship does require a bit of homework. And that path is made particularly compelling by the self-flagellating guilt with which Britain (and much of the West) regards its own history. Most of what is taught in school about the British past is designed to induce remorse – over colonialism, imperial exploitation and vainglorious nationalism. It is not utterly beyond the bounds of reason to conclude from this, if you are searching for a cause, that you are morally justified in avenging the historic wrongs that were inflicted on your race.

There has been – until very recently – a carefully considered educational policy of encouraging pride in minority ethnic identity. The assumption was that pressuring pupils to be wholeheartedly British would be not just “racist” (because it implied that British was better) but disorienting to the child who needed to identify with “his own community”. So here we are – with a generation of British-born young people eager to identify with a community that it isn’t really “theirs” at all, and which they know so little about that they need to study the crib notes in order to fit into it.

All of this coincides rather too neatly with the decline of the West as a global force. That retreat from power has an impact on this phenomenon on more than one level. It downgrades our effectiveness in dealing with the foreign forces who are seducing these recruits. Our wilful helplessness in the tumultuous throes of Middle East power play, and apparent indifference to the suffering being inflicted in Syria by the Assad regime, must make it so much easier to see our side as defunct and defeated. We must seem to be conniving at our own humiliation – almost to be suggesting that we are the losing side now and that we deserve everything that militant Islam can dish out.

If we expect law-abiding, loyal Muslims to handle this problem, we are going to have to give them a lot more help. The parents and the mosques and the communities can condemn as much as they like – and to their credit they have done a great deal of that over recent months. But these are displaced people themselves who need support in order to understand the values of British culture. In order to persuade their sons (and some of their daughters too) that their allegiance belongs to this country, Britain will have to question its own casual self-loathing. And the West will need to consider the larger consequences of its cynical isolationism.