Archive for June, 2008

Does Foreign Aid Fuel Palestinian Violence?

Monday, June 30th, 2008

by Steven Stotsky*

On December 17, 2007, eighty-seven countries and international organizations met in Paris and pledged to provide $7.4 billion over three years to the Palestinian Authority[1] (PA), an amount far in excess of any previous level of U.S. or European aid to the Palestinians. The conference participants justified the aid as a means of providing “immediate support to the entire Palestinian population,”[2] and as a reward intended to strengthen those Palestinians who favor peaceful coexistence with Israel.[3]

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Japan’s Gulf Policy and Response to the Iraq War

Friday, June 27th, 2008

By Shirzad Azad

This article suggests that Japan’s staunch support for the United States over the course of the Iraq War was substantially influenced by its foreign policy toward the Persian Gulf region in general and Saddam’s Iraq in particular after the 1990-1991 crisis, as well as by its security alliance with the United States.

In his January 2002 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush branded Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as the "Axis of Evil." Less than three weeks later, Bush made a state visit to Japan. After a speech at the Japanese parliament on February 18, 2002, he met with then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Joined only by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and Japan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Toshiyuki Takano, Bush informed Koizumi that the United States would attack Iraq.[1] Koizumi had roughly 13 months to prepare the ground for Japan’s support for this development.

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Iran’s 2008 Parliamentary Elections: A Triumph of the System

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

By Raz Zimmt

Over 24 million voters participated in the elections for the eighth Iranian parliament (Majlis), on March 14, 2008. Since the Islamic Revolution (1979), the Majlis has been one of the major pillars in Iranian politics. Under Iran’s system of clerical rule, ultimate power lies not with the Majlis or even the president, but with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamene’i.

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Tactical Hudna and Islamist Intolerance

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

by Denis MacEoin*

The use by Westerners of the word hudna highlights an anomaly. Whenever journalists, diplomats, or commentators covering the Middle East use a non-English word, it will almost always be Arabic or perhaps Persian; seldom do they use any Hebrew words. Never has a U.S. or British newspaper, for example, used the Hebrew word for cease-fire (hafsakat esh). This is odd as Israel is the other side to these cease-fires. The majority of Arabic terms reproduced in Western language newspapers are concerned with either military topics (jihad, mujahideen, fida’iyin, shahid)[1] or religious affairs (fatwa, mulla, ulema, ayatollah, Shari’a, Allahu akbar).[2] There is nothing wrong with borrowing Arabic words. However, doing so without understanding the word’s nuance and historical development will render deficient any understanding of that word’s true meaning.

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They’re Dictators and Terrorists But What Clean Streets!

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

By Barry Rubin

Hamas celebrated its first anniversary of power in the Gaza Strip amidst massive misinterpretations regarding the situation there.

Ironically, Hamas’s victory and survival has less to do with Israel than the rotten strategy of Yasir Arafat. He ruled the Palestinian movement for 35 years by establishing a weak, anarchic, corrupt, and factionalized structure which he played like a violin. After Arafat’s death, Fatah paid the price by collapsing in the Gaza Strip, first electorally then militarily. Having proved a failure in government, Fatah then showed itself a failure as an opposition.

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A Young Jew Is Savagely Beaten in Paris: Why are the Anti-Racists and the Mainstream Media Silent?

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

By Phyllis Chesler

Sometimes, novels are prophetic. I am thinking of George Orwell and Jean Raspail who both imagined life in the late 20th and early 21st century. Raspail is the novelist who imagined that a dark-skinned barbarian horde would take over France. His work, The Camp of the Saints(1973) was originally condemned as “racist.” Slowly, over time, European government leaders began reading his novel and consulting with Raspail. I have written about his work before HERE and HERE in my book, The Death of Feminism.

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The Un-Ceasefire

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

By Andrew L. Jaffee

What else would one expect from Hamas, whose charter states that the, “… final goal of Hamas is that the flag of Allah will fly over every inch of Palestine,” and “There is no other solution to the Palestinian problem than Jihad (Holy war)…”? From today’s BBC:

Israel has declared that a rocket attack by Palestinian militants on the southern town of Sderot was a “grave violation” of a six-day-old truce. …

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The Case Against Turkey’s Ruling Party

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

by Michael Rubin*

Sometime this summer, Turkey’s Constitutional Court will decide whether Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) violated the “principles of a democratic and secular republic” that undergird the Turkish constitution and should be barred from politics. Across the Turkish political spectrum, most officials expect the Court to rule against the AKP, thus dissolving the party and banning Erdoğan and his closest aides for at least five years.

Although the prime minister, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, and influential AKP advisers have tried to depict this as the unjust outgrowth of a dispute over headscarves in public universities—and perhaps even a “judicial coup”—the case is legitimate.

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Analysis: Hizbullah Won’t Stop at Shaba

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

By Jonathan Spyer

Israel’s announcement of a willingness for peace talks with Lebanon is one of the early fruits of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s recent visit to the region and her unexpected visit to Lebanon. French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s recent visit to Lebanon and upcoming visit to Israel is also crucial here.

In the wake of the recent Doha agreement, the US is keen to bolster the position of Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora and the March 14 movement of which he is a part.

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A Day in the Life of the New York Islamic Times: The Subject is Anti-Semitism

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

By Phyllis Chesler

I am getting to dread the weekends because then I have even less of an excuse not to read all the newspapers. And that means I have to read the New York Islamic Times. Well, I don’t have to but in order to keep my–and your–disgust fresh this is what I must do.

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Poll: Arabs want to live in Israel; Jews and Arabs want to live together in Israel

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

By Andrew L. Jaffee

A headline today from Ha’aretz would surprise a lot of people. It reads, “Poll: 77% of Israeli Arabs would rather live in Israel than in any other country in the world.” Perhaps even more important, the poll found that Israeli Arabs and Jews want to make, “concerted efforts to coexist peacefully.” Here are some snippets:

A recent opinion poll conducted by Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government found that 77 percent of Israeli Arabs would rather live in Israel than in any other country in the world.

The survey of 1,721 Israelis, both Arab and Jewish, also showed that 73 percent of the Jews and 94 percent of the Arabs want Israel to “be a society in which Arab and Jewish citizens have mutual respect and equal opportunities.”

The Kennedy School said in a statement that the poll produced a number of results it termed surprising, pointing to a higher level of co-existence than might have been anticipated. …

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Propaganda, Lies, and Wire Service Articles

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

By Barry Rubin

Today, journalism students, in our course, "Absolutely Introductory Basic Rules of Journalism,” we will discuss the absolutely introductory basic rules of journalism.

I don’t think I’m an old fogey but in my hazy memories of the good old days I think there was a time when reporters were supposed to represent both sides of the story. I hear some gasps of amazement in the classroom. Yes, it is true. Nowadays we are more enlightened and the process goes something like this:

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American Woman, Arab Man: Tales of Horror in the Harem

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

By Phyllis Chesler

Cassandra lives. No, I am not talking about the ancient Trojan prophet whose visions went unheeded and whom the Greek conquerors enslaved. This is another kind of Cassandra. Her visions of danger and doom concern what happens when an American woman marries an Arab and Muslim man. Cassandra herself was once married to an Arab Christian and, based on that experience has, so far, written two books: Escape from an Arab Marriage. Horror Stories of Women Who Fled From Abusive Muslims Husbands (2006) and Thirty Three Secrets Arab Men Never Tell American Women (2008). In the first book, she tells the stories of many American women who married Arab Muslim men and what happened to them. …

Continue reading…

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‘Refusenik’ – Refuses to Tell the Whole Story

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

A film directed by Laura Bialis

Review by: Fern Sidman

The film ‘Refusenik’ is a seminal retrospective documentary chronicling the thirty year history of the struggle to liberate Soviet Jews from the spiritual shackles of bondage that was endemic to their existence in the former USSR. Told through the eyes and brave voices of such celebrity dissidents as Anatoly (Natan) Scharansky, Vladimir Slepak, Yosef Begun, Yosef Mendelevitch, Ida Nudel, Sylva Zalmanson, Alexander Kholmiansky and Yuli Edelstein, director Laura Bialis takes us on a multi-faceted journey of the creation of a revolutionary global grass-roots movement for freedom from tyranny and oppression.

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Saudi Arabia’s Agricultural Project: From Dust to Dust

Friday, June 20th, 2008

By Elie Elhadj

Arid conditions have always prevented the development of any sizeable settled agricultural communities in the Arabian Desert. This article examines the events that led to and the lessons that may be drawn from a failed, politically determined economic and ecological policy created by poorly informed elite enjoying rentier economic circumstances. Beginning in the early 1980s, however, Saudi Arabia spent enormous amounts of money and exhausted massive volumes of water from mainly nonrenewable aquifers in an ostensible effort to achieve food self-sufficiency. On January 8, 2008, the Saudi government abandoned its food independence strategy and decided instead to import the country’s entire wheat needs by 2016.[1]

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