Monthly Archives: July 2008

Long War Journal: Hezbollah Brigades propaganda specialist captured in Baghdad

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[H/t Long War Journal]

Bill Rogio writes:

Coalition special forces teams, likely the terrorist hunter-killer teams of Task Force 88, have captured a Hezbollah Brigades propaganda specialist during a raid in New Baghdad.

The propaganda specialist was positively identified by his wife after the raid, and he later admitted to his role in seeding websites with attack videos.

“The man uploads web sites with imagery and video taken from attacks on Iraqi Security and Coalition forces,” Multinational Forces Iraq reported in a press release. “Reports indicate this is part of a propaganda effort in order to earn money and support from their Iranian financiers.”

Little information is publicly available on the Hezbollah Brigades, or the Kata’ib Hezbollah. Multinational forces Iraq indicates the group receives support from Iran, and is an “offshoot of Iranian-trained Special Groups.”

The logo used by the Hezbollah Brigades is nearly an exact match of the one used by Lebanese Hezbollah, which is directly supported by Iran. The logo shows an arm extended vertically, with the fist grasping an AK-47 assault rifile. US forces captured Ali Mussa Daqduq inside Iraq in early 2007. Daqduq is a senior Hezbollah commander who was tasked with setting up the Mahdi Army Special Groups along the same lines

The Hezbollah Brigades began uploading videos of attacks on US and Iraqi forces this year.

[read it all here]

Monday Miscellania

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Here is a selection from my regular reads (and some newbies):

Airforce Amazons: Boomerangs and Dominoes

But I am a Liberal!: All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others

Contentious Centrist: Word of the day, Invidious

Elder of Ziyon: Visit Palestine!

Norm Geras: The routinization of apologia

Greater Surbiton: Is Islamophobia equivalent to racism or anti-Semitism? The view from the Balkanks

Martin in the Margins: When far left and far right meet

Simply Jews: The new dawn of Lebanon?

Sultan Knish: Socialism and anti-Semitism

TigerHawk: Another anti-war myth dies

Wallerstein on the U.S., Israel and the Middle East

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[H/t to A.L.]

Immanuel Wallerstein discusses “The U.S. in the Middle East” in the recent issue of New Politics (Summer 2008, whole number 45, Vol XII, no 1). Wallerstein is the former President of the International Sociological Association (1994-1998), and chair of the international Gulbenkian Commission on the Restructuring of the Social Sciences (1993-1995). He is known for his pioneering work in the domains of world-systems analysis.

Here is the opening paragraph:

In 2007, the United States has no foreign policy involvement greater and more significant than its military presence in Iraq. And in 2007, the United States has no closer ally and co-actor on the world scene than Israel. The relationship is arguably closer than the vaunted U.S.- British link. Neither an involvement of the United States in the Middle East nor the close links the United States has forged with Israel have always been the prevailing policy. On the contrary, both current realities are the outcome of a long and sinuous trajectory. We shall try to account for this evolution in terms of three different actors within the United States: the political elites, the American Jewish community, and the rest of the population. We shall then try to evaluate the likely evolution of this policy over the coming decades.

As one would expect from Wallerstein this article is a very sweeping overview, grand in scope and perspective. Yet this more a leftist analysis of foreign policy than a history of the region. In fairness to Wallerstein, this is evident in the title of the article. Yet something important is missing, the real agency exercised by the Yishuv Zionists and Arab nationalists. For example, Wallerstein glosses over what was happening in Palestine in 1945-48. How did the Zionists compel the British to leave?

What is always absent in these broad “World Systems” analyses of the past is the specificities of history. The uniqueness of regions, peoples, movements, and ideologies is lost. Instead of examining what was happening on the ground, reality gets reduced to the flow and accumulation of capital, relations between core and periphery, etc. As a result, basic domain knowledge of the subject may be lacking. For example, in his discussion of the rise of Reagan, Wallerstein writes:

“When Reagan became president of the United States in 1981, one of the factors that made his election possible was the emergence of a new group that we now call the Christian right.”

American conservatism has contained traditionalist, libertarian, and hawkish wings since the 1940s. Most students of American conservatism have heard of Richard Weaver, Russell Kirk, and Christopher Dawson, pioneers of the traditionalist wing. This is not arcane information.

Also, a lot more liberal (“assimilationist,” in Wallerstein’s terminology) Jews supported Israel (prior to 1967) than Wallerstein is acknowledging. Liberal shuls on the west coast were supporting Israel in late 1940s-early 1950s. I suspect similar things were happening here in NYC. I’m talking about liberal Democrats, not self-identified communists, socialists, etc.

Wallerstein identifies 1967 as a turning point and it was. But, again, this can’t be separated from what has happening on the ground here in the United States. Jews were being presented as exploiters of “the community,” the New Left had become extremely anti-Zionist, the riots of 1968, the Ocean Hill-Brownsville strike the same year, etc.

This statement was simply ridiculous:

By the late 1960s, there were few Jewish workers or Jewish poor left in the United States.”

Wallerstein should have checked with the Jewish Labor Committee, the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, synagogues, the UJA and the rest of the folks active on these issues.

Anyway, have a look at the article and judge for yourself.

Heat Wave

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Well, summer if officially here. The temperature in NYC has exceeded 90 degrees (f) for three days and counting. In keeping with the summer vibe, here is some hip-hop for your weekend. Turn it up!:

Big Daddy Kane, “Ain’t No Half Steppin'”

Boogie Down Productions (BDP), “My Philosophy”

Bonus: We In There!

Deltron 3030, “Positive Contact”

Fat Boys, “Can You Feel It?”

Freestyle Fellowship, “Innercity Boundaries”

Gang Starr, “Skills”

Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz, “Deja Vu (Uptown Baby)”

MF Doom, “One Beer”

Organized Konfusion, “Releasing Hypnotical Gases”

People Under the Stairs, “Time to Rock Our Shit”

Ultramagnetic MCs, “Raise it Up!”

Leaving the Radical Left: Anti-Zionism, Anti-Semitism, and Jewish Response (Part Three, Draft 1)

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[Part Three in a Three-Part Series. This is a very rough-draft, work-in-progress. Even rougher than the first two parts. It was originally longer than what is posted but my thoughts and opinions have changed since I first wrote it so I cut a few sections out and it may seem a bit choppy as a result. I’d like to add more eventually but other tasks and obligations (family, work, etc.) have kept me from spending the necessary time. Part 1 here. Part 2 here.]

Leaving the Left: Israel and the American Dream

The Holy Land had long been the Jewish national homeland for more than a thousand years until the Jews had been expelled by Rome in the first century CE. Jews around the world had prayed, hoped, and dreamed to return to Zion throughout nearly two thousand years of dispersion. Anti-Semitic persecution in Eastern Europe in the late 1800s drove modest numbers of Jewish immigrants to Palestine, which was then a desolate corner of the Turkish Empire. Jewish development of the country in turn attracted Arab immigrants in search of employment opportunities.

In the midst of World War I, as British troops advanced on Turkish positions in the Levant, the young Zionist movement, seeking international support for the idea of creating a Jewish homeland in Palestine, persuaded London to issue the Balfour Declaration, which pledged that England would facilitate the creation of a Jewish national home in the Holy Land. After the British won Palestine from the Turks, the League of Nations, in 1920 officially conferred the Palestine Mandate upon England, entrusting it with the development of the country until its residents were capable of self-development. The British, convinced that the Arabs were not politically or culturally ready for democratic self-rule, hunkered down for a long stay in a territory that they perceived as vital to England’s strategic interests in the Mediterranean.[1]

The last truly independent Jewish State in Palestine ended in 63 B.C. when Pompey became master of Jerusalem; the last gasps of the Jewish nation in Palestine date from the revolt of Bar Kochba in 135 A.D.[2] Rodinson exhibits a callousness typical of the left when he writes, “today as in the past—as already in the Roman period and even earlier, in Persian times—the majority of Jews freely chose the Diaspora.”[3] Jews did not freely choose to leave their homeland and live in the countries of Europe as second-class citizens, victims of pogroms and the Holocaust.

The establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 did not have a tremendous impact on the radical left, that would come in 1967 (see part two). What about for Jews? To generalize, many ultra-orthodox Jews were critical of the secular Zionist movement and Israel. Most radical Jews (anarchists, communists, etc.) criticized Zionism as nationalism. But the vast majority of Jews, religious and secular, were united in their support of the new state. Israel greatly contributed to a notion of Jewish nationality or peoplehood. The series of wars fought by Israel further solidified this support, providing convincing evidence that Israel was surrounded by neighbors who were dedicated to the state’s destruction.

In addition to the importance of Israel, during the post WWII era, increasing public, political, and economic opportunities for Jews meant integration into mainstream American life. This had a tremendously negative impact on the membership of many Old Left organizations. Membership in these groups, unions and parties was largely familial. However, as the opportunities to attend colleges and universities (the G.I. Bill, creation of community college system, etc.) expanded and more people entered the middle-class. Opportunity and the fulfillment of the American Dream arguably did more damage to Old Left radicalism than the general anti-communist efforts lumped under the term “McCarthyism.” Lastly, many Jews who participated in the struggle for black civil rights felt marginalized and at times demonized as the movement lurched toward Black Power, Black Nationalism, and Afro-centrism.

In addition to societal and structural shifts, during the 1960s, student political groups became increasing militant and radicalism bloomed on the left (Black Panther Party, Students for a Democratic Society) and the right (John Birch Society, Young Americans for Freedom). Then there were the disturbances riots. Between 1965 and 1969, 329 significant racial disturbances took place in 257 cities, resulting in nearly 300 deaths, 8,000 injuries, 60,000 arrests, and property losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Radical organizations routinely sided against the police and other forces of law-and-order, thereby marginalizing themselves from an American public critical of the War in Vietnam but supportive of American institutions.

By the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, most American Jews, like most Americans, were so far removed from the goals and aspirations of radical political organizations these organizations again underwent a severe decline in membership. Palestinian terrorism (and leftist support of it) during this period also undoubtedly drove some Jews out of the radical left.

Some veteran activists remained involved in “the movement” and organizations continued to hold meetings and demonstrations (most notably against nuclear weapons and U.S. intervention in Latin America) but it would not be until the rise of the “anti-golobalization” movement in the early 1990s that radical political organizations would again occupy the imagination of the media and anyone who was willing to listen.

I first got politically involved through organizations critiquing IMF/World Bank structural adjustment in the developing world. This was my introduction to activism and it remained a central part of my involvement for a decade. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, I was shocked at the level of anti-Semitism expressed by those in the movement. Radicalism, extremism, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are all intertwined.

Conclusion: Identity and Ideology

It has often been asserted by left authors (for example, Noam Chomsky) that the link between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is a tenuous one. Chomsky asserts that the linkage is a device used by Zionists to squash dissent. Yet the linkage would not be possible—or at least would be much more difficult—if there was no past or current demonstration of anti-Semitism among Israel’s opponents. Simply stated, while it is absolutely true that all anti-Zionists are not Jew hating bigots, anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic in intent.

Few would equate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. The most ardent Zionists are often the state’s harshest critics. Even Foster and Epstein admit:

Of course one can be unsympathetic to or oppose Israel’s position on specific issues without being anti-Jewish…But gratuitous and illegitimate assaults on Israel—whether they contain true anti-Semitism or betray a gross insensitivity to the profound meaning of Israel to Jews everywhere—provoke Jewish anger and awaken ancient Jewish anxieties.(4

Furthermore, Chomsky is well aware that socialism has merged with nationalism in the past to create both revolutionary populism and fascism. Extreme leftists often move to the extreme right. Mussolini is one example and Horst Mahler is another. Mahler was the ideological brain of the ultra-leftist Red Army Fraction during the 1970s. Today he is attorney for the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) and a holocaust revisionist who revels in anti-Semitic rants at his website.[5]

Mahler’s ideas articulate another connection between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. In the “Discovery of God instead of Jewish Hatred” Mahler writes, “This consciousness of being chosen by Yaweh allows the Jews to conceive of themselves as a Nation…the Jews — as Jews — can never be a nation.” [6]

On the basis of a conspiracy theory of “Jewish financial capital”, Mahler speaks of the “secret government” by the “directors of the global economic and financial system.” Mahler, while certainly an extreme example, is not unique in his perspective. Leftists have embraced a similar worldview of Zionist control of banking and foreign policy.[7]

Most leftists take umbrage when their anti-Zionist extremism is deemed anti-Semitism. But evidence of anti-Semitism is not restricted to advocacy of the destruction of Israel. Domestic anti-Zionist political discourse has been clearly anti-Jewish. Anti-Zionists have willingly collaborated with overt anti-Semites and shared some of their anti-Jewish purposes. Representative Cynthia McKinney (now Green Party candidate for U.S. president), for example, was advised by members of the Nation of Islam, a virulently anti-Jewish organization with a far from progressive history.

The radical left, with its emphasis on internationalism, forces Jews to choose between a socialist/leftist identity and a Jewish identity. Political Scientist Katherine Hite notes identity is the outcome of an “extremely deliberative conflictive process individuals undergo to define their ideologies and political roles.” Political identity emerges from a dynamic interplay between the psychological make-up of individuals, their embeddedness in particular political and social structures and institutions, and the major political experiences of their lives, which together influence their political ideologies and roles. As Zionism is held to be a legitimate movement for self-determination by the vast majority of Jews and as racism, colonialism, and fascism by the vast majority of radical organizations it is surprising that more Jews are not leaving the left.

POSTSCRIPT:

There has been a lot written about those who have moved from the socialist left to the neo-conservative right. My wife often notes it is far more common for someone with an extremist perspective to swing to the opposite political pole (left to right or right to left) rather than critiquing their extremism and moving to the center. Why is that?


[1] Foster and Epstein, 37. Lumer. Zionism: Its Role in World Politics in Rubin,145.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Rodinson, 79.

[4] Foster and Epstein, 17

[5] German Lecture Series: Final Solution of the Jewish Question, “Discovery of God instead of Jewish Hatred” by Horst Mahler Keinmachnow, 25 March 200.

[6] Since the rise of the Money System, the tribes of Israel have always known how to emerge as the victors from both sides of the wars which they have financed, although they have never fought.” http://www.deutsches-kolleg.org/hm/Medoff. Zionism and the Arabs. p. 2-3.

[7] See Mearsheimer and Walt, The Israel Lobby and The Hidden History of Zionism by Ralph Schoenman.

Patrick McCullough, Oakland’s Bernhard Goetz

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I wrote a few weeks back about the possible appearance of a black Bernhard Goetz as a response to increasing lawlessness and violent crime in Harlem and other African American communities in NYC. Little did I know one such individual has already emerged in Oakland, CA.

Patrick McCullough shot young thug Melvin McHenry in self-defense back in 2005. The shooting occurred in McCullough’s front yard after he saw McHenry go for a weapon. Unlike the Goetz case, the District Attorney declined to press charges against McCullough. Like Goetz, McCullough has been derided as a vigilante. McCullough is also running a political campaign for city council. Unlike Goetz’s repeated runs for NYC mayor, McCullough had a shot of actually winning.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

In North Oakland, Uhuru House, an Afrocentric social service group cult [emphasis mine], has set its sights on Patrick McCullough, a neighborhood crime-prevention activist who is running against incumbent Councilwoman Jane Brunner.

The group paints McCullough, who is African American, as an anti-black vigilante for shooting a 15-year-old boy who in 2005 pointed a gun at him, an act that Oakland police described as self-defense, and for forcing drug dealers and gang members off his block.

Brunner said her campaign is not affiliated in any way with Uhuru House and a spokeswoman for the group said it has not endorsed her. McCullough said he is afraid the group’s flyers might cost him support among younger voters and wants Brunner to denounce the Uhuru House attacks.

On his campaign website, McCullough writes:

A recurring theme in citizen involvement with neighborhood crime is the fear of retaliation by wrongdoers. In high-crime neighborhoods such as mine was in 2005, residents are reluctant to get involved. They won’t tell a drug dealer or user to stop. Often, they are afraid even to look at miscreants, preferring the safety of closed window blinds and drapes. After a crime actually occurs, people don’t want to be seen talking to the police or to reporters. Witnesses feel intimidated and don’t come forward.

It is the most frustrating of standard behaviors and serves to perpetuate crime and encourage the belief among criminals that they likely will not be caught. I have defied that standard. Knowing that the perpetrators would only return repeatedly unless there was intervention, I felt that the burden of reporting crime fell upon my shoulders…

The notorious event by which many people know of me happened on a dull afternoon in February. After a long workweek, I began Friday evening by watching cartoons for an hour with my son, Patrick. At about 5 o’clock, I prepared to leave for Chinatown to buy fresh crab for dinner. As was my practice, I first looked out the window to make sure there was no trouble on the street; my trips out had often been delayed while I called the police to report some crime.

I was pleased to see that everything outside was calm: just a few pedestrians and a light drizzle. I’d come to love the rain; it tended to keep the streets clear of troublemakers. As I bid my goodbyes, I picked up my outfit, which now consisted of my cell phone, wallet, keys, and the new addition – my pistol.

Locking the security gate that protected our front door, I noticed a dozen or so young people walking on the sidewalk bordering my house, headed in the direction of Shattuck Avenue. As I stepped into my driveway and began to unlock my car door, one of them shouted, “There’s the snitch!”

I turned to see a boy, who looked about 16, coming towards me. I told him to leave my property. But he came closer and swung at me, hitting me in the mouth. I punched him in the chest, nearly knocking him down. After that, rocks and a large tree branch rained down on me.

As the group circled in on me, the boy ran over to another group of a few young males, yelling, “Give me the pistol! Let me have the pistol!” In response, a slender young male lifted his jersey, exposing the handle of a gun in his waistband. The boy – I later found out his name was Melvin – put his right hand on the gun handle.

Fearing for my life, I drew my pistol and fired once, striking him in the shoulder. The entire mob ran to the corner of Shattuck, where my assailant collapsed. (The bullet, I found out later, entered his shoulder and exited his back.)

An ambulance soon arrived and drove him to a hospital, where he would be treated and, two days later, released. Meanwhile, a crowd of more than 50 people had gathered, angry and yelling, some of them threatening to kill me. I and a neighbor stood guard, waiting until police arrived. My wife and son were driven to a hotel for their safety; I was driven to jail.

A Resolve to Stay in Oakland

None of the assailants was arrested or charged with a crime. In court acting as my own attorney, I exposed their two celebrity attorneys as having misrepresented the facts to the judge. The judge immediately granted me a restraining order against Melvin and his mother, who after the incident repeatedly threatened me.

The District Attorney concluded that I acted in self-defense. I was not charged with any crime. Although my new team of attorneys was prepared to fight any legal claim or lawsuit against me by the youth’s mother, my insurance company instead decided – without my prior knowledge – to simply settle the matter.

Crime is still bad on some adjoining streets, but my street has for the most part been relatively quiet ever since – with one notable exception: the evening of February 17, 2007, almost exactly two years later. The family was returning home from a function at our church when my cell phone rang. It was the alarm company, calling to tell me that a glass-break detector had been activated. Shortly after entering my home, I saw that the front windows had been blasted with shotgun pellets. The police speculated that it was retaliation, meant to mark the anniversary of the incident.

Since these events – despite the sometimes strong advice from Oakland police officers and others to move my family to another city for safety’s sake – I have always refused to leave Oakland. Certainly, I am not happy that these events occurred. But they have made me even more determined to make my neighborhood, and Oakland as a whole, a safer place for everyone.

A political candidate standing up to the neighborhood thugs and the Uhuru cult? I wish I was still registered to vote in California. McCullough definitely would have received my vote. Unfortunately, he lost last month’s race to the incumbent.

More from the Chronicle here:

Patrick McCullough still looks each way whenever he steps out his front door and walks down 59th Street in North Oakland. But it’s no longer out of fear.

These days, he feels safe enough to take those walks more often with his wife and son. Instead of the cold stares of angry young men, McCullough is greeted by strangers who thank him for taking a stand against the drug dealers who used to rule Bushrod Park and the surrounding streets.

“This street is so cool right now,” McCullough, 50, said on a recent sunny day. “Look around, man, all these kids playing in the park and no thugs. The immediate neighborhood is much quieter and, for the most part, free of drug dealers, craps shooters and intoxicant-using loiterers.”

A year ago, 59th Street was the scene of a series of violent incidents and confrontations between McCullough and young men police believe are drug dealers. The tension culminated last Feb. 18 when McCullough shot a 15-year-old boy after 15 young men surrounded him in his front yard, shouting “Kill the snitch.”

Some residents say the street is quieter in part because homeowners and police shut down several drug houses in the neighborhood. Others credit a new staff at a nearby recreation center for driving away loiterers and welcoming young children. But many agree that McCullough’s stand made the biggest impact.

Milton Simpkins, a 30-year resident of the street, says McCullough “is the best thing that ever happened for this block.”

Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev (זיכרונו לברכה)

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[H/t Snoopy, Contentious Centrist, Elder of Ziyon, Noah Pollak, Solomonia and The Middle]

Snoopy (Simply Jews) writes:

By now it is over. The coffins handed over across the border today contain the two bodies they were supposed to contain. The two grieving families will get the closure of their two year long nightmare.

The decision to go ahead with this exchange, with almost total certainty that we’ll be paying the price of releasing a baby killer for two bodies, was not an easy one. I wouldn’t wish to be one of the people on whose shoulders the decision fell. But it is over and done with.

As for the question that will be debated for a long time: was the exchange worth it? – a lot of hot air and acrimony were already spent and will be spent in the future. Uncounted angles, including the future victims of the “surrender” to the blackmail, the loss of face, the new kidnappings awaiting and the damage to something called “national psyche“, whatever it means – all these and more will be thrown into the ring. Surprisingly or not, many of these angles are valid. All, or almost all of them, were part of the excruciating decision process.

There is, though, only one compelling cause. It is the cause of an IDF soldier – the grunt that goes to (and sometimes over) the border, doing his/her job as well as possible. Many of these soldiers leave their wives and children behind to do so, without fanfares and complaints. This is how it is and, unfortunately, this is how it will be for a long time in the future.

As an ex-soldier, I can safely say in the name of most of us that our unshakable belief that IDF and, indeed, the nation, will get us back from captivity, alive or dead, makes the service bearable. Without this belief IDF will not be what it is. The army that does not take care of its POWs is not worth serving in and the nation that forgets it sons is not worth fighting for.

Noah Pollak (Contentions):

As I write, the IDF is identifying what is presumed to be the bodies of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, while Samir Kuntar and four living members of Hezbollah await transfer to Lebanon, where they will receive a hero’s welcome. This is a horrible and dispiriting day. Israel will mourn, and Lebanon will rejoice — and part of the cause for that rejoicing will be precisely, and sickeningly, the very fact of Israeli grief.

It is worth remembering that a society which celebrates death will glorify the lives of murderers, and a society which celebrates life will mourn the deaths of its protectors. No matter how humiliating and painful it may be to offer up a child-murderer to a hero’s welcome, the occasion allows the world to take the measure of Lebanon, a country which perhaps some of us have indulged beyond what it deserves. Today this country is staging a celebration off the sorrow of a neighboring nation. This is a far darker day for Lebanon than it is for Israel.

The Middle (Jewlicious):

Notch a victory for Nasrallah who masterfully negotiated two dead men for Israel’s best asset to get Ron Arad back. He’s also proven his abilities at psychological warfare once again.

Notch a severe loss and mishandling of the situation to the Olmert government and coalition who proceeded with the lousy deal even after all the Israeli intelligence services maintained the Hizbullah report on Arad was a sham.

Solomonia:

So what’s the point? Did Israel release Kuntar as a way of getting the horror of his crime once more into the media spotlight (success), in showing what kind of foe they’re up against, and the values of the societies that have made themselves their enemies? Anyone who cared already knew, or was receptive enough to the concept not to need any of this. Anyone who didn’t know was either ignorant (no crime there), closed and willing to excuse anything anyway and therefore receptive to nothing, or outright evil. In no sense is there a benefit to some sort of media burst highlighting Kuntar, Hizballah and Palestinian evil. Do they think they’re earning some chits at the UN? Ha!

Elder of Ziyon:

It can perhaps be expected that traditional murderer-worshippers like Hezbollah or Hamas would celebrate the release of such a murderer. But this is the entire government of Lebanon, which despite Hezbollah’s influence is still considered to be pro-Western by the West, celebrating; every major political leader falling over themselves for a photo-op with this damned pitiful excuse for a human being.

It isn’t just the terror organizations that embrace Samir Kuntar. It is the entire Arab world. Because anyone who kills Jews in Israel is, by definition, a hero to the Arabs across all political leanings.

If anyone can find a single Arab editorial that considers Samir Kuntar to be anything less than a hero, in any language, please let me know. Because I have not yet found it.

Samir Kuntar Y’Mach Schmo…

Support Harry’s Place Blogburst

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[H/t NeoConstant. I just added my name, so should you.]

Harry’s Place, a UK blog dedicated to promoting the ideals of freedom and democracy, is being sued by Mohammed Sawalha, the President of the British Muslim Initiative, which has been linked to Hamas and the Islamic Brotherhood, both terrorist organizations…

This is why we’ve started this blogburst, to get the word out that we won’t let members of Hamas or any radical terrorist group censor us or any of our fellow bloggers.

If you’d like to add your site to the blogroll, simply email us at admin@neoconstant.com, and include your site’s URL.

Then copy and paste this (or write your own) entry into one of your posts. Future posts will be emailed to you. Thanks, and don’t forget to head over to Harry’s Place to show your support of their freedom of speech!

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Monday Miscellania

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I intended on posting Part Three of my work-in-progress on Anti-Zionism, Anti-Semitism and the Radical Left this weekend. Unfortunately it needs a bit more editing, even for a rough-draft. In case you missed it, Part 1 is here. Part 2 here.

In the meantime enjoy these posts from across the web:

Bob from Brockley: Brass Music

But I am a Liberal!: Buchanan Pimps Book on Nazi Radio

Contentious Centrist: History Lesson, Swiss Anti-Semitism

Harry’s Place: Victories against Hamas-funded IslamExpo

Martin in the Margins: Did They Leave the Left or Did the Left Leave Them?

Neoconstant: Blogburst for Harry’s Place

Solomonia: Finkelstein Threatens to Get Israeli Citizenship

Sultan Knish: The Terrorist Brainwashing of the Civilized World

ZioNation: On the Second Anniversary of the Second Lebanon War

Identifying the Fourth Wave of Terrorism

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[H/t Contentious Centrist. This post was prompted by Norman Geras’ critique of a “thoroughly confusionist” article by lawyer Waleed Aly which attempts to obscure the definition of terrorism. More discussion here.]

As others have pointed out, I don’t think the answer to the question “what is terrorism?” is as difficult as Mr. Aly makes it out to be. Terrorism is the intentional targeting of civilians and noncombatants by nonstate actors for political purposes. Those who argue otherwise are, in most cases, seeking to conflate the use of violence by state and nonstate actors (for example, Noam Chomsky’s critique of “state terror”).

Jean Bethke Elshtain (American Educator, Summer 2003) writes:

In a situation in which noncombatants are deliberately targeted and the murder of the maximum number of noncombatants is the explicit aim, using terms like “fighter” or “soldier” or “noble warrior” is not only beside the point but pernicious. Such language collapses the distance between those who plant bombs in cafés or fly civilian aircraft into office buildings and those who fight other combatants, taking the risks attendant upon military forms of fighting. There is a nihilistic edge to terrorism: It aims to destroy, most often in the service of wild and utopian goals that make no sense at all in the usual political ways.

The distinction between terrorism, domestic criminality, and what we might call “normal” or “legitimate” war is vital to observe. It helps us to assess what is happening when force is used. This distinction, marked in historic, moral, and political discourses about war and in the norms of international law, seems lost on those who call the attacks of September 11 acts of “mass murder” rather than terrorism and an act of war under international law.

Throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the ideology directly associated with terrorism was anarchism. Anarchists, advocating what they termed “propaganda by deed,” attempted to assassinate heads of state, religious leaders, members of the monarchy, and economic elites. Benedict Anderson notes:

Tsar Alexander II’s assassination in 1881 by bomb-throwing radicals calling themselves The People’s Will was followed over the next twenty-five years by the killing of a French president, and Italian monarch, an Austrian empress and an heir-apparent, a Portuguese king and his heir, a Spanish prime minister, two America presidents, a king of Greece, a king of Serbia, and powerful conservative politicians in Russia, Ireland and Japan.

For the anarchists and other radical advocates of attentats, the significance of the act transcended the individual perpetrator and victim. The most devoted revolutionaries believed, dreamed, these acts would set a spark in the minds of the public. That their “noble act” would inspire others to do the same. The stereotypical image of the mad, black-cloaked anarchist, bomb in hand, was born.

In addition to the anarchists, David Rappoport, a political scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, identifies three additional waves of terrorism. The second wave was fostered by anti-colonial movements, the third by the New Left and the current wave is typified by religiously motivated violence:

The “Anarchist wave” was the first global or truly international terrorist experience in history; the “anticolonial wave” began in the 1920s and lasted about forty years. Then came the “New Left wave,” which diminished greatly as the twentieth century closed, leaving only a few groups active today in Nepal, Spain, the United Kingdom, Peru and Colombia. In 1979 a “religious wave” emerged; if the pattern of its three predecessors is relevant, it could disappear by 2025, at which time a new wave might emerge. The uniqueness and persistence of the wave experience indicates that terror is deeply rooted in modern culture.

Read Professor Rappoport’s Four Waves of Modern Terrorism here.