If you live in the Pacific Northwest, I hope you can join us in a program of affirmation for the Egyptian Revolution, which I’ve organized (the program, not the Revolution) with the St. Mark’s Middle East Task Force. We will report on the events unfolding on the ground as well as what’s at stake for U.S. foreign policy in the region. I will focus on the impact that Israel is having on formulating our nation’s policy and how a democratic revolution may change the shape of the Israeli-Arab conflict:
Uprising in Egypt: Struggle for Democracy and Challenge to US Foreign Policy
Friday, Feb 18th 7:00-9:00PM
Saint Mark’s Cathedral – Bloedel Hall
1245 Tenth Avenue East
This round table will discuss the critical events unfolding in Egypt. This may be the largest non-violent movement in history that has no leader but is truly grassroots.
We will attempt a Skype interview with Alaa Badr from Tahrir Square.
The panel includes:
Steve Niva, Professor of International Politics and Middle East Studies at the Evergreen State College. His primary areas of research and writing include the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East; asymmetric warfare, counterinsurgency and political violence; and critical sovereignty studies. He has written for, and served on the editorial board of Middle East Report , and his recent writings have also appeared in Middle East Policy, Foreign Policy in Focus, Peace Review, Middle East International, Al-Ahram Weekly, The Seattle Times, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Common Dreams, and Counterpunch..
Richard Silverstein is a freelance journalist who writes the progressive political blog, Tikun Olam, about Israeli-Arab peace and Muslim-Jewish relations.
He has contributed to Haaretz, Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Al Jazeera English, and Alternet. His work has also been
in the Seattle Times, American Conservative Magazine, Beliefnet and Tikkun Magazine, where he is on the advisory board.
Tarek Dawoud is a student of Quran, a husband, a father, a software engineer and a computer nerd. Originally from Egypt, Tarek has been living in the Northwest for 10 years. He has been a speaker and presenter about Islam and a founding member of the Islamic Speakers’ Bureau of Seattle. He is currently the president of CAIR-Washington.
Ahmed Ayad grew up in Alexandria Egypt and moved to the US in 2000 to obtain a graduate degree in Computer Science. He is a software engineer at Microsoft and lives in Redmond with his wife and two children.
This is a great imitative, unfortunately the panel need to educate itself before it attempts to educate others.
for example Steve Niva is conducting a research on the history and strategy of Palestinian suicide bombings and their relationship to Israeli military violence, as part of his “research” he claims the following:
I trace the origins of this pattern to the first suicide bombing inside Israel in April, 1994 that came exactly 40 days (the standard Muslim mourning period) after the massacre of 29 Palestinians praying in a Hebron mosque by the American-Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein in February 1994. (http://blogs.evergreen.edu/nivas/research-and-writing/)
The only problem is that this is untrue, first suicide attack in Israel was carried a year earlier in April 16 1993, when a Hamas terrorist Tamam Nablousi, drove a van into a parked bus in Mifgash Mechola in the Jordan valley kiiling two and wounding five. (http://www.inss.org.il/upload/%28FILE%291194255905.pdf)
i don’t know the guy, i never met the guy, but i wouldn’t buy a used car from him to save my life, let alone hear a lecture from him about any of the subjects he claims he masters in, the guy can’t get a single fact straight. research.
Richard Silverstein says
I don’t think he’d buy a used airplane from you to save his either. Steve Niva is smart, persuasive, and learned. I don’t know whether you or he are right about the suicide bombing claim. But if he is wrong (as some of us except you sometimes are), there is nothing about this error that diminishes the value of his research on this subject or any other.
Despite the fact that you trumpet his alleged error as if you’d won the lottery, I will bring it to his attention because I’m sure he, like I, like to be corrected when (& if) we make an error.
Lol! I love the part about the “used airplane”.
I unfortunately don’t live in Seattle but I think this is a fantastic idea, and I wish all of you every success in this endeavor and hope with all my heart that it helps in bringing more awareness to Americans.
Steve Niva, didn’t just made an error, he ignored the facts that doesn’t fit his own agenda.
Niva’s claim is that Israeli violence against Palestinians is what incited suicide attack as mean of retaliation and he brings the suicide attack as a retaliation to the massacre in Maarat Hamachpela carried by Baruch Goldstein as the first suicide attack ever carried in Israel by any of the terror groups.
The truth is different. but as it doesn’t fit Niva’s story he probably just ignored it.
i have seen it happen many many times, including on this website, that facts that do not fit into the agenda of the “story teller” are just being ignored.
for example you wrote about a book titled the king’s torah here: https://www.richardsilverstein.com/2009/11/13/jack-teitel-jewish-terrorist-doing-gods-work/
but you never bothered reporting that the police issued a warrant for the arrest of the chief rabbi of kyriat arba, Dov Lior after he didn’t appear for an investigation related to supporting statements he made of the book, why ?
Actually both IlanP and Steve Niva are right.
The first suicide attack against Israeli CIVILIANS (as opposed to many previous attacks against military targets) was at Mehola when a suicide car bomb exploded next to two Israeli buses which had stopped at the restaurant at Mehola.
But Mehola is over the Green Line (by a kilometer or two) and the first suicide attack in the State of Israel was as Steve Niva writes, in Afulah, 40 days after Goldstein’s suicide attack at the Mahpela Cave.
It’s all here at;
Sorry, corrupt link, try this (hebrew only)
i guess you didn’t read Niva’s statement
he starts with “I am currently writing a book on the history and strategy of Palestinian suicide bombings and their relationship to Israeli military violence.”
and he traces the response to an act that was done after the operation of Baruch Goldstein, that had no realtion to the IDF what so ever. he ignores previous suicide attacks against Israeli civilians. This is not academic research expected from someone in his position, this is a biased joke.
Richard Silverstein says
Wow, you mean just because Baruch Goldstein was an armed militant settler but not specifically killing in an IDF uniform neither Niva or Palestinians are entitled to see the mad assassin’s act as a manifestation of Israeli oppression of Palestinians? Not to mention that the IDF routinely defended Goldstein & his loony friends so of course Palestinians see the IDF as an extension of the settlers. Are you arguing that they’re not? That the gov’t doesn’t spend millions of dollars in IDF staff time & deployments doing nothing other than defending the extremist settlers in Hebron & elsewhere? Are you really arguing that Goldstein & the settler movement have “no relation to the IDF?”
Richard Silverstein says
Thanks for that correction. I guess Ilan needs to use a map that more clearly delineates the Green Line…His map probably doesn’t.
are you trying to claim that Goldstone was acting on behalf of the IDF ?
as for Niva’s claim, excuse me his thesis that the Palestinian initiated suecide terror as an act of retaliation, is wrong and the facts prove that.
Richard Silverstein says
Wow, that would be a good one… Judge Goldstone acting on behalf of the idf!
Now if you’re talking about GoldSTEIN, then that’s a bit more complicated. If a settler movement casts up violent serial murderers fr its midst like Goldstein, Weissgan, NatanZada, Teitel, etc. &, after the deaths of thousands of Palestinian civilians which result directly fr an Occupation supporting these same settlers, then you have to begin to ask yrself whether the murderers aren’t acting in ways that have the tacit support of official authorities & state bodies.
Richard Silverstein says
First, you’re wrong. Suicide bombings are acts of resistance against Occupation & revenge for Israeli hostile acts. I’m not defending these acts of which I disapprove. But I won’t allow you to distort the facts. As for substituting yr judgment for that of Steven Niva. He has a PhD in political science from a reputable educational institution. You don’t. You’ll pardon me but if I’m not correct, you’re a former military pilot. I wonder if you’d fly in a plane Niva piloted? I presume not. So I think we’ll trust that Steven Niva knows more about his chosen field than you, just as you know more about flying than he does.
1. I will ask again and please be as clear as you can. You claim that the action of singles like Baruch Goldstien, Jack Title, Natan Zada, Ami Poper is actually a big cover up to organize attacks by the Israeli Government, executed by the IDF ?
2. I see that there is a notion in this blog, that people must stick to their profession and form professional opinions related to such profession and that’s it. ok i can live with that, what is your profession ? what is your background ? what did you master ?
Richard Silverstein says
I claim that the actions of settler mass murderers are seen by Palestinians as official expressions of Israeli policy. The fact that Israel has not responded to outrages such as these by taking control of settlements, restricting them, & renouncing the entire settlement enterprise indicates that there is a reservoir of at least tacit support in official circles for such acts. A country seeking to dissociate itself from such sentiments would divorce itself fr. not just the acts but the settlements in general. One way in which you can see this tacit support involves the almost standard finding by Israeli courts that such killers are mentally disturbed and sent to hospitals rather than prison, while Palestinian terrorists are never treated in the same manner. In other instances, such terrorists receive presidential pardons or reductions of their sentences. Developments never accorded to Palestinian terrorists.
I didn’t say people couldn’t express opinions outside their professional expertise. But clearly if you express an opinion outside yr professional expertise which directly ridicules one expressed by an expert in the field, then I generally would credit the professional and not you. If Steve Niva expressed an opinion on the Israeli air force which you disagreed with I’d generally credit you as having superior experience & knowledge.
Richard Silverstein says
Not at all. I have every confidence that Niva is precisely right & that the suicide attack he mentions was retaliation for the Goldstein massacre. What, do you think Israelis can engage in such a massacre & no Palestinian will want to avenge the murders? And you renounce any responsibilty for the tit for tat violence by saying Palestinians have no right to respond? I’d be more impressed if you acknowledged there is a inexorable connection bet. violence on both sides that mutually fuels terror. But since you believe blame only rests on one side, then there can’t really be any balance as far as you’re concerned? And that is what renders yr views suspect.
Regarding Dov Lior, there are literally 10 stories that come across my e mail Inbox every day. That was one that I wanted to write about but didn’t because other stories felt more urgent like Egypt & other things. Don’t use one example or 1 story to try to prove a pt. One instance is anecdotal & proof of nothing.
Deïr Yassin says
Great article by Uri Avnery: “A Villa in the Jungle ?”
“The turmoil in Egypt was caused by economic factors, the rising cost of living, the poverty, the unemployment, the hopelessness of the educated young. But let there be no mistake: the underlying causes are far more profound. They can be summed up in one word: Palestine.
In Arab culture, nothing is more important than honor. People can suffer deprivation, but they will not stand humiliation . . .
Yet what every young Arab from Morocco to Oman saw daily was his leaders humiliating themselves, forsaking their Palestinian brothers in order to gain favor and money from America, collaborating with the Israeli occupation . . .
Nowhere was the loss of honor more obvious than in Egypt which openly collaborated with the Israeli leadership in imposing the shameful blocade on the Gaza Strip . . .
I have reflected many times how I would feel if I were a 15 year-old boy in Alexandria, Amman or Aleppo, seeing my leaders behave like abject slaves of the Americans and the Israelis, while oppressing and despoting their own subjects.
A dictator may be tolerated when he reflects national dignity. But a dictator who expresses national shame is a tree without roots – any strong wind can blow him over.
For me the only question was where in the Arab world it would start. Egypt – like Tunisia – was low on my list. Yet here it is – the great Arab revolution taking place in Egypt . . .
Peace with the Palestinians is no longer a luxury. It’s an absolutely necessity . . . ”
I have to say, I agree with what you wrote, but I am also a great believer in Karma. Karma works behind the scenes creating the perfect storm. The perfect storm implies more than one factor building up to a crescendo so that the individual that is about to be chastised by Karma has nothing to grab onto that he can tout to save himself except HUMILITY. The factors that brought on this “perfect karmic storm” are all the ones you mentioned. Should he resist what’s coming with his pride or vengeance then the Karmic experience will multiply in severity. Kind of like someone who commits a crime, know’s he’s about to get caught and then in trying to avoid the consequences invokes even greater karma with the cover-up.
Mubarak is done. He’s totally out of touch with reality. He can’t accept that he’s heading for a humiliating end and is clinging to the delusion that maybe he can still salvage something and leave in the blaze of glory he imagined for himself or with some dignity. But he doesn’t deserve even that; and it’s because he refuses to humble himself before his victims and do right by them that karma was unleashed.
He has a “Pharaoh” complex. He’s a megalomaniac on the edge of a cliff. What really stinks is that he cares only for himself, he blames the people for the consequences to Egypt’s economy when HE has been creating this end for years.
Deïr Yassin says
“I have to say I agree with what you wrote”
In fact, I was quoting from “A villa in the Jungle ?” by Uri Avnery 🙂
It’s a cute idea from Uri Avneri, but frankly I don’t think the average “Arab on the street” in any Arab country gives a hoot about the Palestinians.
Sure there’s the intelectuals and students and religious leaders who genuinely care, but the rest probably care more about employment, money and even football than the fate of their “brothers” in far-away Israel\Palestine.
I don’t believe their alleged damaged “honour” concerning the Palestinians will bring anyone to the streets in any country in any significant way.
As some one said earlier on this blog, why do you always think everything is about Israel? The Egyptian revolution has absolutely nothing to do with her.
Deïr Yassin says
You don’t know anything about “the average Arab on the street” except what you perceive through your biased orientalist lenses. Did you ever travel to any Arab country ? Talked with ordinary people, and asked them what they feel about ‘the question of Palestine’.
Why do you think all Arab regimes don’t allow public demonstrations in solidarity with the Palestinians, even during Cast Lead ?
Of course the Tunisian and the Egyptian revolutions have primarily national causes, but why do you think a dictator as Mubarak was financed and supported by the West ? You don’t think it had anything to do with Israel ?
“the Egyptian Revolution has absolutely nothing to do with [Israel]”.
Well, then most Israeli politicians are worried for no reason. And the dozens of specialists I’ve heard and read on the topic are all wrong.
Palestinians are not ‘brothers’ in far-away Palestine. You seem to forget that there’s a common language, history and culture, that European colonialism and later on Zionism imposed arbitrary borders, and all Arabs follow what’s happening in Palestine through the mass media. Keep on dreaming about the Arab ‘masses’ who care more about the local football tournament than about the Palestinians.
As often you completely missed the point that Avnery made in his article.
Arab “regimes” don’t allow demonstrations, period. The fact that they’re pro-Palestinian demonstrations is irrelevant.
As for the colonialistic borders, you’re falling into the hasbara trap which for years has claimed that there is or was no “palestinian” people but only an artificial division of the Arab people by the Western powers – and thus the claim that the Arabs of the I\P area can easily find another home in any of the other 22 Arab countries, especially Jordan.
I don’t hold that view, but you seem ironically to lend it support and credibility!
Without firsthand knowledge I agree I can’t know what the “masses” really think (nor does anyone), but I think it is fair to say that most people all over the world care first for “number 1” and their immediate family, and only much much later care for their cultural and ethnic brethren. And the more they live in abject poverty the greater the care for “number 1”.
I understood Avneri – he’s always “israelcentric” and thinks the whole world is as he is all the time.
Deïr Yassin says
I haven’t fallen into some Hasbara trap. You apparently don’t know anything about how the Palestinians and other Arab peoples (plural) perceive their own identity.
Identity is not something eternal and ‘racial’ pure though when I read right-wing Zionists talking about the ‘eternal Jewish people returning home after 2000 years’ I realize many are still trapped in a non-historic approach to the concept of ‘nation’.
Historically, the people in Palestine have always belonged primarily to their village or town and the regional hinterland, and on a larger scale a sentiment of belonging to Bilad al-Shâm (Greater Syria) and the ‘umma (which is not only a religious community).
The ‘national’ Palestinian feeling of course didn’t exist. The Nation-State is a recent Western concept – although ultra-Zionists want us to believe that a Jewish Nation-State existed 2000 years ago ! Colonialism and Zionism created the specific Palestinian nationalism, and I know no educated Palestinian who’s not aware of that.
Here a short clip with Azmi Bishara saying the same thing (I have to rely on the translation further down).
I know the person posting this clip did it in order to deny the Palestinian people the right of existence, but if a Palestinian national people never existed historically, neither did an Israeli one.
And the Zionist extremists should be careful: if Palestinians actually start claiming a Panarab national belonging, you might end up as a tiny department within Greater Syria instead of a binational Israeli/Palestinian state 😀
PS. If the Egyptian Revolution has nothing to do with Israel, could you explain why the American high-ranking officer Mike Mullen is already off to Jordan and Israel ?
The Nation-State is not a modern concept at all. The Roman Empire was made up of Nation states (vassals) and even previous to that the Persian and Assyrian empires allowed the peoples that were conquered to keep their nationality (including Jews\Israelites). In these ancient times the nation concept was linked to the “local” diety – the the Israelite case – Yahweh. All who lived in that area would adopt the local god and the associated customs, likewise the Israelites who were exiled after the Assyrian conquest assimilated into the conquerer’s lands (the so called 10 lost tribes)
“If the Egyptian Revolution has nothing to do with Israel, could you explain why the American high-ranking officer Mike Mullen is already off to Jordan and Israel ?”
That’s because of the fear that the same may happen in Jordan, and that is a much greater military threat to Israel than Egypt. The revolution in Egypt has effect on Israel, but Israel is in no way the cause as Avneri hints.
Deïr Yassin says
“The Nation-State is not a modern concept at all”
Well, most specialists don’t agree with you, and you’re mixing-up Nation-State and Empire in your examples.
I know ‘wiki’ is not the Holy Bible but for an introduction this entry seems pretty exhaustive, and I don’t think the Hasbara has manipulated it though Israel is mentioned 🙂
“The State is a political and geopolitical entity, the nation is a cultural and/or ethnic entity. The term ‘nation-state’ implies that the two geographically coincide, and this distinguishes the nation-state from other types of state”.
“Most theories see the nation-state as a 19th century European phenomenon”.
Eric Hobsbawm has written widely on the concept. I’m sure you’d like him: British, Jewish, born in Alexandria . . . and Marxist 🙂
I note that Israel is NOT a nation-state and that the Empires that you mention are prior to the rise of the Nation-State that were constructed later on. And I’m not a partisan of the Nation-State, I’d rather prefer a model closer to the multi-ethnic empires that they replaced.
Of course Israel is not the (main) cause of the revolution in Egypt or the ones to come (insh’allah) in Jordan and Syria, but to paraphrase Mahmoud Darwish: “Palestine as a metaphor” of the state of the Arab world.