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Passover Holiday of Liberation Bypasses Some in Israel

Today, is the first night of Passover when many Jews and non-Jews enjoy a seder and tell the story of our liberation from bondage in Egypt.  There are 60,000 African refugees in Israel, many of whom arrived via Egypt, as our ancestors did.  They too fled persecution and deprivation in their home countries.  They too hoped for a new start in a free nation that would treat them fairly and decently.  Alas, their hopes have been dashed.  Many have been confined to internment camps like Holot.  Others have been pressured into accepting “voluntary deportation” to African countries like Rwanda and Uganda, where they have no legal status or protections.  They are essentially dumped as human refuse, in return for which Israel offers these countries advanced weapons, technology and other forms of aid.

This treatment at the hands of the “Jewish state,” which forgets its own Biblical origins, is shameful.  I hope you will talk about their plight tonight at your seders.

Additionally, there is another individual who is held in a form of bondage by the Israeli national security state tonight.  He is a citizen of Israel, though not Jewish.  That is, Israeli-Palestinian journalist and political activist, Majd Kayyal.  He was arrested by the secret police last weekend for unspecified ‘dangerous acts’ against the interests of the state which included meeting anonymous ‘enemy agents’ and participating in public events hosted by Israel’s “enemies.”

Kayyal is being held incommunicado with no access to his attorney.  The evidence against him is secret.  A fellow Israeli-Palestinian judge is the one who extended this judicial travesty in examining his case and extending his custody, so that he may be tortured by security forces to extract whatever damaging admissions they may force him to make.

Kayyal is held in conditions even worse than the slavery in which the Israelites were held.  He is a citizen of the state who cannot obtain the rights it owes him.  His predicament isn’t known to Israelis since in their wisdom the security state prohibits it.

I’d like to thank AP State Department reporter Matt Lee for posing questions about two Palestinians held by Israel in today’s State press conference.  This is how Jen Psaki responded to his query about Kayyal:

LEE: …This is not an American citizen, but it’s a journalist –

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: — Majd Kayyal. I don’t know if I’m pronouncing the name right. He was arrested over the weekend. Are you aware of this case?

MS. PSAKI: We have seen the reports, but – that he’s being held incommunicado detention, but we have not been able to confirm these reports. We’re continuing to seek more information.

QUESTION: Is this – recognizing that you don’t have an interest because he is not an American citizen, do you – is this the kind of thing that you – that causes you concern, these types of arrests, or is this something –

MS. PSAKI: Certainly, reports of journalists being arrested certainly cause concern, but we don’t have any confirmation of that specific case, so we’re just looking for more information.

QUESTION: Do you know if you have asked the Israelis about it?

MS. PSAKI: I’d have to check on that. I believe we were exploring through all avenues we have, but I don’t want to speak out of turn, so let me check back with our team

So you can see the extraordinary level of concern and interest displayed by the U.S. State Department in the face of Israeli violations of its own democratic principles that protect freedom of the press.

Happy Passover!  Remember those still in bondage.  This year they are slaves, next year may they be free.

 

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majd kayyal gag order

Judicial gag order prohibiting coverage of Majd Kayyal case

Yesterday, I reported that the Israeli secret police had arrested Israeli-Palestinian journalist and political activist, Majd Kayyal.  A judge extended his remand by a week to next Sunday so that the security apparatus could work wonders on his willingness to cooperate with their “interrogation technique.”

The court transcript notes the judge’s name as Ziyad Falah.  He is a Druze and former military prosecutor.  No surprise there.  Israeli Jews consider Druze to be the “good Arabs.”  They serve in the IDF, unlike most other Palestinian citizens.  This judge appears happy to approve the security apparatus’ dirty work and to do so as an Israeli Palestinian citizen.  Though I should be fair and say that there are many Druze who object to such servility to, and collaboration with the power elite.

Kayyal has been refused access to his lawyer, who works for Adalah, the NGO whose website he edits.

I reported that there likely was a gag order prohibiting Israeli media from reporting the story.  Abir Kopty confirmed this in a tweet in Arabic.  My Israeli source has provided me a copy of the gag order which I display here.  I’m proud to report that the o139 blog has broken the gag.  The Israeli author is a brave man.

Electronic Intifada has also obtained a copy of the charge sheet and translated it, also featuring photos of Kayyal’s arrest and his Beirut conference appearance (an event which undoubtedly angered the security goons).  EI inadvertently hasn’t linked to my own reporting of the story, which preceded theirs.

Some Israelis will say: what did Kayyal expect?  Lebanon is an enemy country.  Visit it and you’re breaking the law.  Except there’s one small problem with that: it’s not true.  Yes, it is illegal to visit Syria or Lebanon, technically.  But if you’re a Jewish journalist you’re fine.  Lisa Goldman visited Lebanon and aired footage on Israeli TV, thereby endangering the unknowing Lebanese whom she interviewed.  They threatened her with prosecution, but somehow never did.  Another Israeli journalist also reported from Lebanon and wasn’t prosecuted.

Kol Yisrael reports that Israeli Druze also complain that they are not allowed to make religious pilgrimages to their holy sites outside Israel.  The chief Druze religious leader appealed in recent days to Shimon Peres to intervene on behalf of priests who’ve been arrested for such pilgrimages to Syria or Lebanon.  Israeli Jews from Arab countries, on the other hand, are allowed to make “under the radar” return visits to their homelands to explore their ‘roots.’

The Shin Bet are extremely sensitive to Israeli Palestinians who express their solidarity too strongly with Arab nationalist groups like Hezbollah, Hamas or even Syria.  This was how Ameer Makhoul got a nine-year jail sentence and Azmi Bishara was driven into exile.  You may be an Israeli-Palestinian as long as you meekly accept your second-class lot in life.  But once you express support for a one-state solution or solidarity with Gaza, as Kayyal did by joining the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in 2011, you become an enemy of the state.

Let’s remember we’re talking about the Only Democracy in the Middle East, where all citizens are created equal and treated so–unless you’re Palestinian.

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IDF Officers Produce Islamophobic T-Shirt

racist idf t shirt

Racist IDF t-shirt

Yediot Achronot reported that several IDF officers created a T-shirt for their soldiers with a chilling explicitly  racist, Islamophobic message.  It read:

“Every Arab mother should know that the fate of her children is in our hands…Schem [Nablus] we’re on the way.”

The T-shirt features a graphic image of an armed soldier toppling the minaret of a mosque.  It’s certainly designed to reassure the mothers of Nablus that the IDF believes in the purity of arms and is the most moral army in the world, as liberal Zionists and others like to claim.

This T-shirt is not an anomaly.   Veterans of Operation Cast Lead made a variety of equally offensive products which were proudly modeled and sold online.  In fact (and as an aside), the reason I stopped posting for Huffington Post is that they refused to publish my post on this story, which was originally broken by Uri Blau (of course).

H/t to Ari Remez.

fake orthodox jewish priests

Reuters caption: ‘Orthodox Jewish priests gesture during re-enactment of Passover animal sacrifice.’

Speaking of destroying mosques, it’s no accident that in the past week, Israeli settler jihadists have made strenuous efforts to promote their goal of destroying the Haram al-Sharif, the Dome of the Rock.  I reported here the arrest (and quick release) of two Israeli settlers who posted flyers which demanded that Muslims vacate the Temple Mount so that work could begin on the Jewish Temple.  In addition, Al Monitor posted a paean to this movement which featured the news that settler rabbis have been praciticing their proficiency at animal sacrifice in preparation for the day that God and people summon them to be priests once again in the Holy Temple.

Speaking of which, Haaretz features a Passover slide show with an image credited to Reuters with the incredibly misleading caption:

Orthodox Jewish priests gesture during re-enactment of Passover animal sacrifice.

Excuse me. Who died and left them “Jewish priests?”  Some settler rabbi?  There are no Jewish priests.  Any claim otherwise is fake.  And if there ever does come a time when there will be, be prepared for the New Jewish Crusades.  There may be Jews who are kohanim, but that doesn’t qualify them to re-enact anything.  Certainly not in my name or the name of the rest of world Jewry.

The punishment offered to the officers in the T-shirt incident was removal from their combat unit.  They remain in military service though.  Perhaps they’ll now be serving in the ‘T-shirt division’ making similar products for other IDF units!

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majd kayyal

Israel’s security services secretly arrested Palestinian activist-journalist Majd Kayyal. The arrest is under gag order

I received an urgent message from Jamil Dakwar of the ACLU that Palestinian journalist and political activist, Majd Kayyal, age 22, was arrested on his return to Israel from a trip to Lebanon and Jordan.  I’ve checked with an Israeli source who tells me he was arrested as a national security suspect.  The combination of his trip to Lebanon, where he attended an event celebrating the 40th anniversary of As-Safir (considered a pro-Hezbollah publication), his participation in a 2011 flotilla voyage to break the Gaza siege, and his activist role in Adalah (where he was the website editor) and Balad (Hebrew), made him a ready target.

Kayyal also edits the political and cultural website, Qadita and the English-language blog, Message to the Tricontinental.

At midnight Saturday Israel-time, a few hours after his arrest, the security police raided his Haifa home and confiscated his computer and other electronic devices and materials.  Jamil reports he has been denied access to an attorney, which is standard procedure for Israeli Palestinian security suspects.  A judge will be asked to extend his remand tomorrow and will automatically do so, again as is standard for the Only Democracy in the Middle East.  Majd can also expect abuse and even torture from his security service interrogators just as Ameer Makhoul did.

For those with good memories, who’ve been reading this blog for several years, you’ll recall his case.  He was also a Palestinian community activist from Haifa who founded the Ittijah NGO.  He too returned from a trip to Jordan, where he allegedly met a fellow activist Hassan Jaja at an environment conference.  The Shabak made Jaja out to be a key Hezbollah operative, when in reality he owned a landscaping business in Amman.  My guess is that Shabak discovered a similar meeting Kayyal had with a suspect individual who the security forces can turn into an Islamist bogeyman.

This persecution is part of the ongoing effort by Israeli secret police to criminalize Israeli Palestinian nationalism.  As I’ve reported here, Yuval Diskin, then Shabak chief, said in 2007 that any such political expression would be viewed as sedition and criminally prosecuted by the State.  That is what is happening in this case.  Nothing more.

 Here is a Mondoweiss interview published with Kayyal before he joined the 2011 Gaza flotilla.  Read the words of this ‘mortal danger’ to the Jewish State:

Are you concerned you will be treated worse because you are Palestinian?

I hope not, but usually Palestinian activists face more problems from Israeli armed forces. However, as a Palestinian citizen of Israel, it’s extremely important to show the unity of the Palestinian people to the international community and remind the political leadership that they cannot abandon our rights and must include the status of ’48 Palestinians in any just solution.

How do you see the Palestinian struggle right now?

I think that the Arab spring is the most inspiring and is providing us with a renewed motivation. I see that we need to rebuild the popular struggle on the ground. We need to revitalize the participation of the youth and the students in forging a more powerful movement, as we can see their importance in the uprisings of Egypt, Tunisia and others. Now is the time to move beyond partisan problems and focus on the main target, which is the colonial and racist regime Israel has imposed on the Palestinian people.

This arrest, which constitutes a severe assault on press freedom, since Kayyal is an Israeli Palestinian journalist, is under gag order in Israel.  It has not been reported in Israeli media.  I hope this publication will poke a hole in the shroud of opacity that favors such assaults by the security apparatus.  An international group of activists joined together to fight on Ameer’s behalf.  I’ve begun a process which I hope will lead to the same support for Majd.

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price tag flyer

Price Tag flyer demanding Muslims vacate Dome of the Rock to prepare for Temple sacrifices

Yesterday, two enterprising fellows committed a price tag attack on the Temple Mount, where they hung flyers demanding Muslims vacate the premises during the Passover holidays so Jews might do some Passover housecleaning…like rebuilding the Temple and making the traditional animal sacrifices offered during the days of the ancient Temple.  The flyer said:

You [Muslims] are hereby requested to vacate the Temple Mount…pursuant to preparations for the construction of the Holy Temple, renewal of animal sacrifices and the act of the Passover sacrifice.

We thank you for your cooperation,

The Jewish People

Part of the background for this is that a radical settler group publicly announced that it had begun training priests to perform these sacrifices:

On April 10…hundreds of Jews will gather…[to] start learning the Jewish laws of Passover. Rabbis and experts…[from] the Temple Institute in the Old City of Jerusalem, the leading body preparing for the establishment of the third temple, will teach the audience the laws of the Passover sacrifice…[A] ritual slaughterer…will teach the audience about the unique elements of the slaughter of the Passover sacrifice. After the lessons, the real thing will start: the simulation of the Passover sacrifice.

…The ceremony on Thursday will be, in Israel Defense Forces (IDF) lingo, “practice with live fire.” Slaughtering lambs, sprinkling their blood on the altar by priests dressed in kosher priestly garments and roasting the lambs, with their heads, legs and innards. Just as God intended.

This isn’t the first time that the “Association of Temple Organizations” will hold this activity, but this year the practice drill and re-enactment of the Passover sacrifice will be carried out by the students of the school for priests, Nezer Ha-kodesh, which started operating this year. The priest school intends to train the hundreds of priests that would be needed to work at the third temple; many Jews endeavor for its establishment in Israel today.

price tag gag order

Jerusalem police gag order prohibiting media from publishing details of Price Tag attack on Temple Mount

This bit of pro-settler propaganda made its way into the pages of Al Monitor, whose Israel page seems to be edited by a settler enthusiast.  Note the dead giveaway line in italics which gives away the writers ideological biases.

You shouldn’t worry about the possible conflict with Muslims who might have a problem with the destruction of the Haram al-Sharif and its replacement by a Jewish temple.  All that will be done in a totally kosher manner:

Everything is ready, then, except [one] additional, small matter…

The Al-Aqsa Mosque…slightly impedes the architectural plans. “The temple will not be built through private acts and blowing up mosques,” emphasizes Segal. “That’s not the direction. The direction is changing consciousness. The preparations are mental more than anything.” One of the people involved in preparations, who requested anonymity, explains, “If not for the problem of the Dome of the Rock, they would build the temple today, and the temple would be built there. The third temple will be built by the government of Israel, not by private individuals. No one will do what shouldn’t be done, like an underground action to blow up the Dome of the Rock. The people who are committed to establishing the temple are normative and rational people, and just like we established the State of Israel, the day will come when we will build the temple, in an orderly, state-sanctioned manner.”

Don’t you worry your pretty little heads.  This isn’t like the old days when terror cells had to plot to blow up the Dome of the Rock.  No, today we own the government and it will do it for us.  Nice and kosher-like.

Returning to our two fine gentlemen: they were only, to their minds, taking this religious lunacy to the next logical step. If Jewish priests are ready to resume animal sacrifices, it only stands to reason that they should do so on the actual site of the Temple, and that Muslims should just vacate the premises for that purpose.

The police are quite aware of the incendiary nature of the provocation, which is why they’re slapped a double gag on the proceedings. Israeli journalists are not allowed to report the names of the suspects, their crime, or even the fact that there is a gag.

Haaretz’s Chaim Levinson was suitably outraged by the gag and published the police notice on his Facebook page along with a brief summary of the settler frolics that got them into hot water:

Behind this order are two lads who were caught hanging flyers that say that the Arabs must “clear off of Har Habayit due to work for establishing the temple and renewing the sacrificial labors”.

yair kehaty

Yair Kehaty, enterprising young Price Tagger

The Jerusalem police arrested the two and sent them to be investigated at the nationalist crime division. The judge released them, but accepted the police request to prohibit publication.

Thankfully, there are Israelis (not Levinson, in case the police are wondering) who are outraged enough to share with me the names and crimes of the suspects.

They are Yair Kehaty from the Ramat Migron settlement and Ohad Van-Loan (Jerusalem)  Both are followers of the Facebook group, Return the Temple to Our Hands.  They were arrested by police and questioned by the division dealing with Jewish terrorism.  The judge, figuring a gag order would sweep this little matter under the rug, released the lads from custody.

He didn’t reckon with troublesome Israelis and an American blogger upsetting the apple cart and demanding accountability and transparency (not that we’ll get much in this case).

The final wrinkle in this case is that this Price Tag attack is an act of vengeance for the defense ministry tearing down five illegal structures in the Yitzhar settlement.  This is where residents greeted IDF personnel and vehicles with a pelting of stones a few days ago.  Yitzhar is the center of settler resistance to the secular Israeli state.  It is the beating heart of the Hilltop Youth.  Even Likud is too moderate for them.

In retaliation for this wanton act of terror (called this by government ministers themselves), the pro-settler defense minister, Bogie Yaalon, wanting to let them know who’s boss, ordered the destruction of the illegal structures.  Not to be outdone, the settler terrorists decided to strike at the crux of the matter, the intersection between Islam and Judaism in Israel, the Temple Mount.  They certainly made their point forcefully.  As for who’s boss, if Yaalon thinks he’s their boss, he’s got another thing coming.  It’s a settler asylum and they run the place.  The politicians are their willing servants.

As for the settlers, they made a good trade.  They lost only five buildings that are probably already rebuilt, but they struck back right at the nexus, the heart of religious contention, where the next holy war could start.  They laid down their marker.

H/t to Dena Shunra and several anonymous Israeli friends of this blog.

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ailes chafets

Roger Ailes (l.) and his literary amanuensis, Zev Chafets (r.)

My only regret in reading Zev Chafets’ slash and burn article on FoxNews about the Brandeis-Hirsi Ali controversy is that he didn’t name me as a “suspect” in the “honor-killing” of Hirsi Ali’s degree.  Instead, the Likudist sychophantic biographer of Roger Ailes and Rush Limbaugh, reserved his ire for CAIR:

Brandeis University committed an honor killing this week. The victim was a Somali woman named Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

…She had dared to criticize Islam and Muslim behavior in the same way other religions and other human behaviors get criticized in an open society. In America you can’t get killed for this (yet), but you can be dealt with.Enter Nihad Awad, the national head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He launched a letter of protest at Brandeis president Fredrick Lawrence, accusing Hirsi Ali of wrong thoughts and evil words. Giving her an award, he wrote, would be like “promoting the work of white supremacists and anti-Semites.”

That was rich. Awad…actually accused Ali of threatening the entire Muslim world with violence.

This sort of histrionic rhetoric is precisely what drives people away in droves from the lunatic-right extremists, both neocons and pro-Israel nationalists.  It constitutes the honor-killing of reason, if I can continue to savage this metaphor as they have.  The hysterics make the principled stand we all have taken in this matter smell like a rose.

The slightly less lunatic right, in the person of Bill Kristol, is trying to make a comparison between Tony Kushner, who received a Brandeis honorary degree, and Hirsi Ali, who didn’t.  The argument is that Kushner is supposedly an Israel hater and anti-Zionist, and how is that any different from Hirsi Ali?  The problem with this is that Kushner is a proud Jew and Hirsi Ali detests Islam.  Kushner is not an anti-Semite, no matter how hard Kristol will try to transform criticizing Zionism into anti-Semitism.

Jeffrey Goldberg goes so far as the following piece of brainlessness:

I have to read carefully, but she hasn’t struck me as more hostile to Muslims than, say, Tony Kushner is to Jews.

He, of course, hasn’t “read carefully” at all.  Here, Goldberg is guilty of the same old false pro-Israel elision between Judaism and Zionism.  Hirsi Ali, as the Reason Magazine interview demonstrates, documents her support for genocide against Muslims.  Kushner isn’t even in the same league.

The libertarian, Andrew Sullivan, who concedes he is a close person friend of Hirsi Ali and her husband, Niall Ferguson, derides those of us who dislike Hirsi Ali’s toxic utterances about Islam, as “the hard left:”

Ayaan has indeed said some intemperate and extreme things at times about Islam as a whole. But to judge Ayaan’s enormous body of work and her terrifying, pioneering life as a Somali refugee by a few quotes is, I’m afraid to say, all-too-familiar as an exercise in the public shaming of an intellectual for having provocative ideas.

“A few quotes?”  Is that what he thinks we’ve done?  She’s written and spoken hundreds of thousands of words, many of which condemn her to the bed she’s made for herself.  Yes, as I’ve written here, her biography is compelling.  Her life full of suffering.  But that simply cannot excuse the bile she’s consistently spewed against Islam.  The hate, the fury, the unreasoning rage.  It’s simply impermissible to be taken seriously when your views have jumped off the deep end of rational discourse.  Sullivan has allowed friendship to blind himself to the weaknesses of his pals.  He ought to read more and sip lattes with them less.

The simple honest truth is that if Hirsi Ali has said 10% of what she’s said about Islam about Judaism instead, she’d have been run out of academia and all respectable discourse.  She’d be somewhere near David Irving in the ranks of decent company to keep.  But our society hasn’t yet acknowledged Islam as a religion worthy of the sensitivity we have for bigots who abuse Christianity and Judaism.  Because there hasn’t been a Holocaust against Muslims as there has been against Jews, it means someone who advocates extirpating Islam as Hirsi Ali has done, remains within reasonable discourse, when she has no right to be.

Yet another excellent critical appraisal of Hirsi Ali’s views may be found in this piece in the New Yorker by Pankaj Mishra.

Note also, as a Brandeis professor reminded me today in an e mail, that in all the right-wing brouhaha over this, there isn’t a word about the actual force that brought about the cancellation of Hirsi Ali’s award: campus students and faculty (one-quarter of whom opposed the award).  Not a word about the thousands of signature on the campus petition, which had nothing to do with CAIR.  Hell, I don’t even think my own blog post was anything more than a small spark that ignited a controversy that was caused by the foolhardy decisions of Pres. Lawrence and the trustees who masterminded this.

But I am proud to say that I have been smeared as part of the far-right backlash over the Hirsi Ali controversy.  Chloe Valdary and Daniel Mael, a Brandeis undergrad who’s a darling of Breitbart and founder of the oddly named Safe Hillel–which is really an anti-Open Hillel–movement, have warned CAIR that thanking me for my role means they’re embracing a “racist bigot” (for my earlier criticism of Valdary as the Israel Lobby’s token Negro).  Somehow this is meant to bleed into my own criticism of Hirsi Ali, implying that because I attacked Valdary and Hirsi Ali, that my views about Hirsi Ali are somehow racist as well.  Not that there’s any proof of this offered.  There never is with these types.  It’s assault by inference.  The attacks of these pro-Israelists have six degrees of separation from the truth.

 

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It’s been Hirsi Ali Month here at Tikun Olam.  First, she launched Honor Diaries on International Women’s Day, March 8th.  She executive produced that film with her Islamophobic pals at Clarion Project.  Then she was offered an honorary degree by Brandeis University recognizing her activism for women’s rights in the Muslim world, while ignoring her advocacy of military attack on all Islam.  Yesterday, Brandeis’ president came to his senses and withdrew the degree after it was first reported here and then became a cause celebre on campus, with students and faculty alike arising in anger at her intolerant utterances.

Today, Hirsi Ali released a stinging rebuke of Brandeis which faulted it for betraying its mandate to support free speech.  Here are notable excerpts:

I wish to dissociate myself from the university’s statement, which implies that I was in any way consulted about this decision. On the contrary, I was completely shocked when President Frederick Lawrence called me…

I assumed that Brandeis intended to honor me for my work as a defender of the rights of women against abuses that are often religious in origin…Part of my work has been to question the role of Islam in legitimizing such abhorrent practices. So I was not surprised when my usual critics, notably the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), protested against my being honored in this way.

What did surprise me was the behavior of Brandeis. Having spent many months planning for me to speak to its students at Commencement, the university yesterday announced that it could not “overlook certain of my past statements,” which it had not previously been aware of. Yet my critics have long specialized in selective quotation – lines from interviews taken out of context – designed to misrepresent me and my work. It is scarcely credible that Brandeis did not know this when they initially offered me the degree.

What was initially intended as an honor has now devolved into a moment of shaming. Yet the slur on my reputation is not the worst aspect of this episode. More deplorable is that an institution set up on the basis of religious freedom should today so deeply betray its own founding principles. The “spirit of free expression” referred to in the Brandeis statement has been stifled here, as my critics have achieved their objective of preventing me from addressing the graduating Class of 2014. Neither Brandeis nor my critics knew or even inquired as to what I might say. They simply wanted me to be silenced. I regret that very much.

She has every right to feel wronged by Brandeis, which should have done its due diligence and either didn’t, or didn’t understand the import of Hirsi Ali’s past statements in the context of the public airing they’d receive.  There is shame in this incident, but more for Brandeis than her.  But in using such a term she continues the imagery of victimization which it’s been so convenient for her to adopt in discussing what she sees as the damaged, inferior role of women in Islam.

But where she is disingenuous is in claiming that Brandeis violated any principle of free speech in denying her this degree.  Brandeis has no obligation to reward her for her views, which is what an honorary degree is.  It only has an obligation to encourage the free exchange of ideas among students and faculty on campus and in its courses.  Hirsi Ali’s books and views will continue being discussed in campus courses as they have been.  I’m sure Pres. Lawrence would’ve tried to make amends by inviting her to return to campus (not that I would personally choose this option myself) as he implied in his message yesterday.

Unfortunately, in her anger Hirsi Ali has closed off this option (at least for now, unless her neocon friends can arrange a sulha with Brandeis):

Brandeis has invited me “to join us on campus in the future to engage in a dialogue about these important issues.” Sadly, in words and deeds, the university has already spoken its piece. I have no wish to “engage” in such one-sided dialogue. I can only wish the Class of 2014 the best of luck—and hope that they will go forth to be better advocates for free expression and free thought than their alma mater.

But the real point of this post was to raise some new, deeply alarming views of Hirsi Ali toward the Israel-Palestine conflict.  In Israel’s pro-Likud paper, Yisrael HaYom, she expounded on her Zionist Revisionist/Islamophobic views of Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians in particular.  Since this is an interview in which she is quoted, I presume she can’t claim she was misquoted or taken out of context, as she does above:

…Why is this [peace] process so prolonged? Because for the Israelis this issue is a territorial problem. For the Palestinian negotiators, on the other hand, it is not a territorial problem but a religious and ethnic one…

From the perspective of the Arab leaders, reaching a two-state solution is to betray God, the Koran, the hadith and the tradition of Islam.

…The presumption that the Palestinian negotiators are secular is not supported by facts. Were they secular, there would already be a settled territorial agreement of some kind. But there is no agreement as of today, because on one side it has become religious jihad of all or nothing, while on the other side it is still a territorial issue. Of course I know that there are Israelis who also perceive this as a religious problem; but their numbers pale in comparison to the Muslim side. Reaching a settlement that brings about two states is a religious betrayal — not only for the leadership but for most Muslims today. The West does not understand this.

The conception of religion in the West in the 20th and 21st century differs from that of Middle Eastern Muslims. The West successfully separated religion and politics, but even in places in the West where there is no distinct separation, still the concept of God and religion, even in the 13th or 15th century, differs to the current reality in the Middle East.

 …Islam has a goal. So if you are a true Muslim, you must fight for that goal. You can achieve a temporary peace or truce, but it is not ultimate, not everlasting. It is not just about the territory. Because the territory does not belong to the people; it belongs to God. So for a Palestinian leader — even if he is secular, even an atheist — to leave the negotiating room with the announcement of a two-state solution would mean that he would be killed the minute he walks out.

…More and more leaders see that this conflict is not going to be resolved Western-style, namely that all conflicts are resolvable and no-one leaves the table empty-handed.

In a culture dictated by honor and shame – in addition to the religious issue – defeat of any kind, accepting a compromise, is to leave the room empty-handed. Compromise is loss in this culture. It is very hard to explain this to contemporary Westerners.

To go on and on about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in my view is to take a tranquilizer or smoke pot. You do it just to feel better. You cannot face reality, so you just keep on harping about something that can make you feel better.

…If you want a [real peace] process, continue the way you are. If you want real, lasting peace, then things have to change first within the Arab Muslim individual, family, school, streets, education, and politics. It is not an Israeli problem.

…For cultural change to transpire we need one hundred years and more to pass.

You can pick any number you want. I am speaking of a lengthy, bloody period. But it is going to change.

A close reading of the above interview reveals that Hirsi Ali has a deeply distorted view of Islam, Arabs and Palestinians.  There is virtually nothing above that is factual or provable.  It is all personal opinion.  And as such, it is false.  She has no knowledge of Arabs or Palestinians.  I’d guess she doesn’t know any, doesn’t care to, and hasn’t visited Palestine.  If that’s the case and she derives all of her “knowledge” from her pro-Israel necon sources in Israel and elsewhere, how can she make any claims about The Other?

As for doing drugs, I’d say that it is she who lives in a delusional state buttressed by grievance and devoid of historical evidence.  What is compelling about Hirsi Ali is her personal narrative.  What is not compelling is the spin she has added to it.  It is frightening that the world turns to this “scholar” as an expert on anything more than her own personal suffering.  She would do much better to write novels than expound on reality.

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