Napoleon, the Jews and French Muslims

Here’s an interesting story about possible parallels between the Jewish Emancipation in Napoleonic France and the status of modern French Muslims. The former event just celebrated its bicentennial. The article focuses on one component of that particular period:

To find out if there was something in Jewish law and custom preventing integration, Napoleon summoned a council of Jewish leaders and put to them 12 questions about Jewish laws and customs…[T}he more important questions related to the transition a marginalized people were making to a new idea of citizenship: Jews born in France were treated by the law as citizens, did they regard France as their country? Did they feel they had an obligation to defend it?

The Jewish leaders came to the conclusion that there was nothing in their dogma which would preclude them from integrating into society and being good patriots. So the author asks this pertinent question:

Could one imagine a ceremony at the Hotel de Ville in 200 years where the Muslim community reaffirms its commitment to French definitions of secularism, integration, faith and patriotism?

Very good question.

International Herald Tribune


Here we go again

Over the past few years surprisingly many Jews, Persians, Palestinians, and Syrians have come through either my lab or neighboring labs, enough so that I often get an earful about these issues, so much so that I get a little tired of seeing more of the story here….But anyway, back in 2002 one palestinian (2nd generation) undergraduate, who often used the lunch room to pray to the east (remember, state university, Ohio and federal taxpayer-funded) complaining all the time about Israel, Israel, Israel. I asked her, “What’s wrong with the Jews?” She said, “I have no problem with the Jews, it’s just the Israelis I have a problem with.”

Now, when the whole Mel Gibson thing broke, I thought, “Mel, Mel, Mel, just say ‘Israelis’ instead of Jews and there would be no problems.”

Scottie mentioned the Mel thing and that reminded me…I think some kind of declaration needs to be made to save some effort on everybody’s part. It is fair to criticize one country’s policy without being call racist, even if that country is Israel.

All right, so, Israel. Probably before trying to digest all those beautiful pearls Scottie wrote, I have to ask this: Post WWII, what do you do with the Jews?

We may not want to play monday morning quarterback on history, so let me ask a different question. Is it breaking U.N. resolutions and Israeli policy in the occupied territories that is the problem, or is it simply unfair that Israel exists because it displaces Palestinians etc.? I guess I’m wondering whether Israel “has a right to exist” or not (to the extent that countries have rights…what do you think I’m a linguist?)

Because the central problem with Hamas and Hezbollah, is that they don’t recognize Israel’s “right to exist”. The Palestinian government is propped up with U.S. and Israeli funds. Hamas wants to destroy Israel. That’s pretty clear. Taking the high road for democracy is all well and good but Israel shouldn’t fund it’s own demise, and the U.S. doesn’t have to chip in on that one either. That’s a big difference from running a coup. Big difference. That’s dollar diplomacy, not CIA black ops. W even said (astonishingly) he’s willing to deal with Hezbollah as a political party if they disarm (a la Ireland).

Posted at 08:35 pm by Johnny B

Posted by BP @ 08/15/2006 04:45 PM PDT

Posted by Name @ 08/16/2006 04:40 PM PDT

Ok Johnny B, you have several mistakes in your piece so I must respond.

First of all, I think the tragedy of the Nazi Holocaust and Germany’s attempted destruction of not only German Jews but of European Jewry altogether was a dark moment in human history. Of course, there have been other genocides, some worse in number and proportion than Germany’s genocide of the Jews. My chief problem with evaluating historically the 1948 establishment of Israel at the expense of the indigenous Palestian people is that one sees one injustice (Nazi genocide of Jews) fueling another injustice (the dispossession and displacement of Palestinians) The factual record on this is quite clear. And if you read on these issues deeply, I mean books not articles, you will see that the historical interpretation of what happened to the Palestinians in ’48 and ’67 specifically has been transformed from a rosy, romantic pro-Zionist perspective to the one today that basically regards the Palestinians as having been ethnically-cleansed so that the Zionist goals could be achieved. There was a time when this version was attacked, (read Beyond Chutzpah and Image versus Reality on the I-P Conflict) but now it is not so much questioned, not by serious scholars at least.

So if I don’t think one injustice should fuel another, I cannot have an existential problem with Israel. I accept Israel as a state, and even though its history is about as illegiimate as a nation’s history can be, I do not support calls for its destruction.

However, I think that Israel should be held accountable to the same UN measures and same standards of international law as every other member nation of the UN. Currently they are not. Israel has been historically the most egregious violator of UN resolutions, and gets away with it habitually because of US veto power in the security council. There is a reason Israel has been permanently banned from ever sitting on the security council, and that’s because of its history on non-compliance with UN resolutions and its behavior in general, and not due to some grand anti-semitic conspiracy that some Israel apologists claim.

Hopefully that clears up one of your comments.

Secondly, regarding Hamas first :

Hamas was engaged in a cease-fire before its rise to power by way of internationally-monitored elections.
For 17 months, both before and after its election victories, Hamas did not order any attacks on Israel, civilian or military targets. Hamas did abide by this cease-fire even when Israel continued to punish the Gaza militarily. Hamas broke its cease-fire only after repeated attacks by the IDF inside of the Gaza, culminating in an Israeli shell killing an entire Palestinian family on a Gaza beach. What was Israel’s justification for its continual punishment of Gaza? Israel argued that thousands of Qassam rockets were flying into Israel. Let’s look at the facts for a very specific period :

In a debate on Democracy Now Norman Finkelstein had with a rep of AIPAC, some numbers were discussed. From September 05 – March 06 (approx) , Israel fired between 7,000 – 9,000 heavy artillery shells into the Gaza, like the one that killed an entire Palestinian family having a picnic on a beach. In this time period, more than 80 Palestinians were killed. The time frame was a little over 6 months. Let’s look at the other numbers : In the previous 5 years, about 1,000 Qassam rockets were launched into Israel by Palestinian militias. Exactly 8 Israelis were killed by these instruments in a 5-year span, not 6 months. The numbers do not lie, and are reported by mainstream human rights groups like Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, B’tSelem, etc.
Where is Israeli accountability in all of this? There is a huge disparity in number of projectiles fired and huge disparities in deaths and casualties, and yet the US gov and press is quick to lend moral support to Israel because it is fighting “terrorists” . The question is thus begged “who is the terrorist” ?

Secondly, US Congress did away with Palestinian aid after the Hamas victory, so the US does not support Palestinians with aid.

Hamas does not refuse to recognize Israel ; get it right ; Hamas refuses to recognize Israel WHILE IT ILLEGALLY OCCUPIES THE WEST BANK , EAST JERUSALEM, AND FORMERLY THE GAZA STRIP, which is the really crucial qualification that reverberates from UN 242, a resolution Israel has defied for 39 years !!!!!!!!!!

A little difference between your statement and their actual stance ….

Hamas has never targeted Americans, and even though Hamas pops up as a “terrorist” group by our state department, please realize that in the international community the CIA is regarded as the biggest terrorist group of all time, and if you would like to discuss some of the CIA’s many contraventions of international law, so be it.

On to Hezbollah :

Hezbollah only exists because of Israel’s illegal invasion and occupation of Lebanon. Their inclusion as a terrorist group I do not dispute at all, because they did bomb the marine barracks in Beirut killing 234 or so US Marines.

But as a resistance group they certainly have the right to defend their interests in south Lebanon.

Now in terms of a big picture, pro-Israel think-tanks in Washington DC and AIPAC and Neo-Cons in general are trying to get the US to fight a wider war against not only terrorist groups targeting the US but also those targeting Israel, which I have huge fundamental issues with.

Many people have huge issues with this scenario.

Sadly, Israel would have its peace if it would release the Golan Heights to Syria, would abandon its colonization of the West Bank, would tear down their ILLEGAL apartheid fence, 85% of which is inside the West Bank, would abolish torture of Palestinians, would stop extra-judicial assassinations, would stop destroying Palestinian infrastructure in the Gaza, would abandon Sheba Farms in Lebanon, would stop killing Palestinians in huge disproportion, and somehow make amends for the death and destruction and mayhem created by their actions , which was their choice endorsed by the US, in Lebanon. 700 dead, hundreds of thousands displaced, infrastructure destroyed, and all for 2 Israeli soldiers, captured by Hezbollah inside Lebanese territory. That is, of course, if you believe that vast propaganda that masquerades as news or scholarship concerning Israel and its immoral behavior.

These things Israel could do if it really wanted peace, but it doesn’t and it won’t until the US starts to question its unconditional support of that bellicose state. The hope of balancing the same foreign policy mentioned in my blog by Gov Keane, which was effectivley written out of history, is something the American people need to address, and until they do and until they hold our corrupt leaders accountable for this disastrous foreign policy, they will remain American Sheople.

Posted by Name @ 08/16/2006 04:50 PM PDTI forgot to mention one small detail that just occurred to me while re-reading the my reply :

The capture of Gilad Shalit occurred 1 day after the IDF illegally kidnapped a Palestinian doctor and his brother from the Gaza. According to international law, the capture of civilians by an army is worse than the capture of a combatant.
Anyway, not my main point. Literally hours before Israel re-invaded the Gaza and knocked out power and other crucial infrastructure, which amounts to collective punishment, Hamas and Fatah , in a landmark event historically, agreed to implicitly recognize Israel. Hours later, Israel decided to renew its devastation of the Gaza, and without the 8-9,000 Israeli settlers in the Gaza anymore, Israel could punish the Palestinians with impunity.

So again, if Israel really wanted peace and really wanted a Palestinian state to succeed, would they have scuttled the decision by Hamas and Fatah to recognize Israel with an invasion???????

Posted by Scottie @ 08/16/2006 04:52 PM PDT

please ignore my typos ; i was a bit agitated when i wrote this addendum

Posted by Johnny @ 08/19/2006 01:41 PM PDT

From the Hamas Charter:

Preface: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”

From Khaled Meshaal:….

“We shall never recognize the right of any power to rob us of our land and deny us our national rights. We shall never recognize the legitimacy of a Zionist state created on our soil in order to atone for somebody else’s sins or solve somebody else’s problem.

But if you are willing to accept the principle of a long-term truce, we are prepared to negotiate the terms. Hamas is extending a hand of peace to those who are truly interested in a peace based on justice. “

Me: I think Hamas is referring to a 10 year hudna, which is pretty short.


Bound to start trouble

David Duke agrees with Harvard school of government. Worth reading the whole thing. I’m sure someone out there has something to say about this. I like Dershowitz’ quote.

Posted at 08:52 pm by Johnny B

Posted by scottie @ 03/21/2006 03:47 PM PST
I read the article.

Alan Dershowitz has lost any credibility discussing affairs pertaining to Israel when he decided to plagiariaz from a hoax in his book “The Case for Israel”. So his inclusion in the article is basically void. He has shamed himself, his reputation, and his university. The Harvard President Summers felt great pressure to oust Dershy, which did not happen.

Dershowitz’s fraudulent scholarship was exposed by Norman Finkelstein in a downloadable debate from “Democracy Now” with Amy Goodman, and Finkelstein goes into greater depth exposing Dershowitz’s fraud in his new book “Beyond Chutzpah”, which I have read quite closely.

Dershowitz recently slipped even farther by attacking Finkelstein’s dead mother, who survived a WWII Nazi deathcamp, by saying she must have been a “kapo”, one who collaborated with the Nazis.

I wrote a letter to Dershowitz myself telling him that he had sunk to a new low, and he responded with a template response, which contained a plethora of logical fallacies, which I kindly diagrammed for him and emailed back to him. Still waiting on a response …

So to quote this guy is ludicrous … This is not the OJ trial!

Posted by John Broussard @ 03/22/2006 07:44 PM PST
This Dershowitz guy is a slippery one. It’s amazing that a guy who has a knack for keeping very wealthy murderers out of jail has ascended far into a very tall ivory tower, and into American consciousness. Until recently, I’d say around 2001, he was lionized by the media. These days I don’t “watch” news, so it’s hard to tell.

Still, on the other side of the argument is David Duke, so there’s that to consider.

Posted by John Broussard @ 03/22/2006 10:13 PM PST

I think your email to Dershowitz and his response would make a good post.

Gaza pullout

I have a Jewish friend, who voted for Bush, who had an interesting insight. Last weekend he told me, “Israel is pulling out of Gaza on Monday.” We talked and he said, “These people are upset about moving 10 miles away. It would be like getting upset about moving across Columbus. And the palestinians are upset because they had to move twenty miles away 60 years ago.” He basically said the settlers were crazy…

I could appreciate not wanting to move out of my house. Even if I were crazy (e.g. David Koresh), the government shouldn’t have the right to burn down my house and kill me and my crazy cult friends for a minor offense, without due process. However, if I built my compound on an Indian reservation, and the natives didn’t like it, I guess I wouldn’t complain so much (if I were asked to evacuate, not if my house were burned down with me inside it).

I had a palestinian colleague who complained that non-Jews can only vote in certain elections, but not all elections. He was in the middle of a rant and I didn’t want to provoke him, but I thought that at the time (this was a couple of years ago) that the average non-Jew had more say over his government in Israel than in, say, Jordan.

Posted at 09:43 pm by Johnny B

Posted by Rothell @ 08/18/2005 01:09 AM PDT
I haven’t read all the papers, haven’t seen all the headlines, but what I’ve seen so far regarding the Gaza Strip news is about “Isreal pulling out of the Gaza Strip.” It is about the Israelis and how hard it is for those who obviously don’t want to leave. This is the drama. The drama lies with the Israelis, according to what we