Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Iraqi blogosphere + Israel and Palestine debates = Mayhem

While we have watched Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki and the people of Iraq triumph in the face of terrorism, there is another struggle, maybe even a war, that is taking place, and it is happening in the Iraqi blogosphere.

First, my friends over at Iraqi Bloggers Central have announced they are closing their doors. While this is a bit depressing, I am very happy for them...they have run the blog for 5 successful years. I don't always agree with them--particularly Mr. Ghost, but nonetheless they have all at one time or another done something to help Iraq and its people. Jeffrey, the most frequent poster, has noted there has been a decline in English-language Iraqi link list has quite a few of them, I might add. But on the other hand, there is a growing number of inactive Iraqi bloggers, as evident by the growing list on IBC.

Speaking of which, those blogs that have been a good read are experiencing some trouble. Iraqi Mojo has always been one of my favorite Iraqi bloggers with his spot-on analysis of the situation in Iraq and willingness to stand up for what is right. Today though, the blog has been overrun with haters, many of which come Healing Iraq, a run-down, inactive site that was run by Zeyad Kasim, who also had some good thoughts to offer at one point. Anyway, Mojo's blog has been the center of a debate that tends to invoke nothing but hate and anger for 60 years: Israel and Palestine.

A residential neighborhood in Ramallah, the capital of the West Bank. Anyone who knows about the debate knows that this is a frequent battleground between Israelis and Palestinians.

The lines have been drawn over at Mojo's, and commentators who were once friendly with each other are know bashing each other, tossing insults around, and getting worked up over nothing because anti-American supporters of the Iraqi "Resistance" like Arab Advocate and his side-kick, Bruno, the Afrikaner, have figured out how to stir up trouble and get their sick kicks. In the year and a half I have been commenting at Mojo's, I have been able to avoid the discussion...I always feared that because I vehemently stand beside Israel's right to exist and believe that Israel offers light in a region overrun by darkness I would forever be labeled a "Zionist", a "Zionut", or as some haters will say, a "fascist", or a "Nazi", words which I believe are deliberately used to cause hurt the people of the Jewish Homeland, given their historical significance.

However, when Arab Advocate calls for Israel to be "dismantled"--a codeword for "destroyed"--I have no choice but to speak up. In the midst of my defense, I have been accused of supporting "the deportation of Palestinians to Jordan", supporting Avigdor Lieberman and his policies, supporting the West Bank settlers, and worst of all, not caring about the right of Palestinians. This stuff is so out of proportion I don't even know where to begin. For starters, I am strongly opposed to the settlements and their inhabitants who regularly attack both innocent Palestinians and Israelis who try to protect them. I think they, alongside terrorist groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, are one of the biggest obstacles to peace in the region. Not only that, they really aren't any different from each other. Militant Zionists like those mentioned in the above link are just as bad as the Palestinians who fire rockets and mortars into Israel. At the same time, I don't think it makes me "anti-Palestinian" to point out that Jordan, in addition to Israel, snatched up Palestinian land in the first partition. Am I anti-Palestinian when I express my sheer outrage over what Hamas does to its own people? I hope anyone who cares about Palestinians wouldn't think this.

Israel has no doubt done bad things in its 60 years history, while at the same time attempting to offer things that no other country in the region will offer, like free press, democracy, women's rights, and major technological advantages, things that I believe are necessary for any society to truly succeed. Perhaps its difficult for some Americans to focus on the bad things Israel has done because they blindly support Israel for religious reasons--a means to an end, if I may say so. Or maybe its because Israel is surrounded by regimes so evil and repressive, like gender-apartheid Saudi Arabia, Bashir's blood-soaked Sudan, and Big Q's Libya, that it makes the settler violence seem mild in the eyes of the world.

If a fair international forum could exist, Israel would have things to answer for. Unfortunately, its nearly impossible to take the UN "Human Rights" Commission seriously when they give their posts and chairmanships to countries like the 3 mentioned above (Libya, Sudan, Saudi Arabia) and expect the world to take action against Israel. While the Gaza War erupted backed in December, an even worse conflict raged on in the jungles of Sri Lanka...just recently, 60 civilians were blown up by mortar fire but no one cares because this debate does not invoke political passion like Israel and Palestine do. During the the Gaza war, pro-Hamas protests broke out here in San Francisco, believe it or not. I haven't seen any protesters in San Francisco march through the streets waving Tamil Tiger flags and calling for the destruction of the Sri Lankan government, which could meet all the same criteria of being a "racist state" as Israel might. America has provided aid to Sri Lanka and has the Tamil Tigers on their list of terrorist organizations as well.

Recently, on Angry Arab's Comment Section, a blog I often visit, one commentator made a joke about Israeli immigrants moving to India and stealing Indian land, completely oblivious to the fact that India is already being "occupied" by Pakistan and Bangladesh, but I guess maybe its okay for these people because the occupiers are Muslims, instead of Jews. I've seen many of the commentators go after the Hindus of India for being the oppressive ones while falling silent over what Pakistani and Bangladeshi militants have done to India's civilian population. And no, I am not going on an anti-Muslim rant. Any regular reader of this blog would know that I have fiercely defended Pakistan in its fight against terrorism and that its harder to find a bigger defender of the Islamic religion than myself. I just don't think that blatant hypocrisy is fair.

My point in going on about this is that I really wish that people would completely and totally avoid this debate UNLESS they are willing to hear the other side and listen to their concerns. At the beginning of the month, I attended a debate featuring As'ad Abukhalil, the "Angry Arab" and Israeli Consul General Akiva Tor. I was disgusted by the people who claimed to be "Pro-Palestinian"--they were extremely disrespectful to the Consul General by shouting insults and yelling at him when he was trying to speak. Somewhere in the crowd, conscientious supporters of the Palestinian people must have been very embarrassed by what was happening. The event was advertised as though it would be a forum to discuss the was anything but. While it was very exciting to meet the two speakers, the "forum" managed to attract the worst of American Society.

I have met Palestinians...and I have met Israelis. Sometimes it seems they are more willing to discuss the issues than their supporters in other countries, believe it or not. Unless you are willing to bring your opponent into a cafe, drink coffee, and talk things over, you should avoid talking about anything involving Israel and Palestine for your own well-being and the well-being of others. I've heard that this conflict has wrecked many political careers over its perplexity and inability to be solved...I would say that the debate has wrecked many good and decent friendships over the inability to find any common ground.


Iraqi Mojo said...

Israel offering light in the darkness:

Britain voices concern over Israel's demolishment of Palestinian houses in Jerusalem

American citizen critically injured after being shot in the head by Israeli forces in Ni’lin

Iraqi Mojo said...

"In 1967, Israel conquered still more land. Following the Six Day War, in which Israeli forces launched a highly successful surprise attack on Egypt, Israel occupied the final 22% of Palestine that had eluded it in 1948 – the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Since, according to international law it is inadmissible to acquire territory by war, these are occupied territories and do not belong to Israel. It also occupied parts of Egypt (since returned) and Syria (which remain under occupation)."

Iraqi Mojo said...

The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict by Jews for Justice

Because American Christians seem to be quite clueless about it.

C.H. said...

Mojo, for some reason, I believe you would look to Israel as a beacon of light in the Middle East if this was your daughter...

Israeli doctors administer life-saving treatment to Iraqi girl

Hopefully young Alla Hassain won't grow up learning the same propaganda so many young people in the Muslim world have forced on them.

Also, look at this...someday, when Iraq becomes the most prosperous democracy in the region with some of the most respected doctors, I hope the Iraqi government will show the same kindness should Israel suffer a horrific terrorist attack or natural disaster that causes mass suffering.

Seven Iraqi children brought to Israel for heart surgery

C.H. said...

It is good BTW, too point out your links, especially the home demolitions. Collective punishment is wrong and Israel needs to dismantle the settlements if it is truly going to be recognized as a civilized society in the eyes of the entire world.

Iraqi Mojo said...

Israel has done some great things, for sure.

But they've done some really bad things too, which you ignore, unsurprisingly. I wouldn't want to be a Palestinian father of children killed by Israeli bombing. That would be really bad, but it has happened many times before, and yet the US media doesn't pay attention to it like they pay attention to the killing of Israelis.

Thanks to Israel for helping those Iraqis. Now it's time to help the Palestinians. It's been long enough.

C.H. said...


That video was don't need to point it out to me I have seen it several times. The Israelis ran a horrifically disorganized campaign, but do you really think that the IDF wanted those 3 girls dead?

The question is, what to do now...I wish that Israel could have pulled out of Gaza in 2005 and never have had to do anything with it again except be a good neighbor, but that didn't happen...and the sad thing is the the so-called "representatives" of the Palestinian people, Hamas, doesn't want it to happen.

Its like Khamenei and Iran's policy towards the US...they can't exist without conflict and they know it.

C.H. said...

And no I am not only blaming Hamas...the far-right in Israel doesn't want the conflict to end either, not as long as they don't get to keep control of the entire West Bank. The international community needs to make sure this doesn't happen.

That is the problem when religion becomes politicized.

Average American said...

C.H., I guess that is why I limit my Iraqi blog visits to a smaller number than I used to. There are still several good Iraqi civilians blogging, most with only limited political discussions. It's the best Iraq news one can find as far as I am concerned. Mojo, I still visit you on occasion, but I don't remember the last time I commented there.

C.H. said...


It's good to see you again...I've taken a leave of absence from blogging, haha.

You're right...reading the news about Iraq from the point of view of an Iraqi, whether they live in Iraq or abroad, is probably the best way to understand exactly what is going on in the country.

I remember reading your comments on Mojo...I think that was right before you started your blog, if I am correct.

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