Archive for the ‘Anti-semitism’ Category

On Netanyahu’s visit to the United States

By Richard Falk

Richard Falk

It is far too simple to be merely outraged by the arrogant presumptuousness of today’s speech by the Israeli Prime Minister to a joint session of Congress two weeks prior to national elections in Israel. The Netanyahu visit has encouraged various forms of wishful thinking.

Perhaps, the most common one is to suppose that bump in the road of U.S./Israeli relations will lead to a foreign policy reset that is more in accord with American national interests (in the spirit of the Mearsheimer/Walt critique of the baneful influence of the Israeli lobby) or that it signifies the death knell of AIPAC or the permanent alienation of the Democratic Party from its knee jerk support for Israel.

In my view, none of these developments will happen in the wake of Netanyahu visit, no matter how obnoxious or divisive or inappropriate as his presence appears to be.

First of all, it is important to separate three main dimensions of the Netanyahu speech to Congress: Read the rest of this entry »

On the North Carolina killings

Interview with Richard Falk

Richard Falk

Prefatory Note
A short interview on how to interpret the ghastly murder of three young Muslims living in the North Carolina university town of Chapel Hill. Should such a grisly event be viewed as a tragic response of a deranged neighbor whose emotions took a violent turn after a dispute over parking in their common residential community or is it better understood as one more indication of the toxic realities associated with the interplay of gun culture and Islamophobia?

My responses seek to give reasons for adopting this wider understanding of why such incidents, although horrible on their own, are also bringing death to canaries in the mines of American society. As such the embrace of the movie American Sniper can be seen as another dimension of how ‘the long war’ unleashed after 9/11 to satisfy a range of global ambitions is increasingly casting its dark shadow across the domestic life of the country.

We are, indeed, living in a globalizing world where the wrongs done without will be in due course superseded by the wrongs done within. I thank Dan Falcone for his questions that gave me the opportunity to offer these responses.

Dan Falcone
In light of the recent shooting of Muslims in North Carolina, Russian Television was pondering if the killings would have received a quicker, more widespread and more responsive media reaction had the perpetrator been a Muslim, instead of victims, as seen in this case. My thought is that this question is beyond the hypothetical. What are your thoughts?

I think there is every reason to believe Read the rest of this entry »

“Je ne suis pas Charlie.”

By Chaiwat Satha-Anand*

The Paris march for unity on Sunday, January 11, 2015 attracted more than a million people and world leaders including Germany’s Merkel, Britain’s Cameron, Turkey’s Davutoglu, Israel’s Netanyahu, and Palestine’s Abbas, among others. This extraordinary action by leaders and citizens is in response to perhaps the bloodiest week in the last half of a century in France with 17 dead.

It began with the killing of 12 people at a previously little known satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo.” French President Francois Hollande warned that the threats facing France is not over even after the three perpetrators were dead.

The threat is real, however, not only because of information gathered by various intelligence agencies, but also because the violence and what has followed indicates a rift in the way Europe, and in fact the world, is moving in the context of fierce contestation of different ethics/values people are willing to die and for some – to kill for.

This article is an attempt to argue that the motto “Je suis Charlie”, while commendable in terms of solidarity with victims of senseless violence, transform the killing into politics of identity with potentials for further deadly conflict in the present context if certain existing signs are properly understood.

Arguably in response to the killing in Paris, there are reports of Muslims becoming targets of more frequent attacks: women’s veils have been pulled at, pork thrown at mosques Read the rest of this entry »

In defense of freedom of expression

By Farhang Jahanpour

The Wednesday edition of Charlie Hebdo (a week after the barbaric attack by two deranged terrorists on its premises) carried a cartoon of Prophet Muhammad, with a caption “Je Suis Charlie”, with a tear drop on his face announcing, “all is forgiven”. It is not clear who is forgiven and for what, but if it refers to the terrorists it certainly is not appropriate.

This time the magazine did not publish only 60,000 copies as it usually does, but three million copies, thanks to the generous help that it has received from various sources and also with the help of cartoonists from all over the world.

Richard Malka, a Sephardic Jew, who saw ten colleagues and four of his co-religionists massacred on that dreadful day, was one of the first to call for the magazine to continue functioning. When asked whether they would publish more cartoons of Muhammad, he replied in an interview with France Info radio on Monday: “Naturally. We will not give in, otherwise all this won’t have meant anything.”

Free speech tops all other considerations

This is as it should be, because in the final analysis freedom of expression tops all other considerations, as it is at the root of all other liberties and the quality of life that we enjoy in democratic societies.

More than three million people demonstrated in Paris and other French cities on Sunday, carrying the sign “Je Suis Charlie”. This did not mean that they agreed with everything that Charlie Hebdo stood for, but they wished to uphold the right of that satirical magazine to express itself freely.

Only a few days before the attacks in Paris, Pen America published a disturbing report on “Global Chilling. The Impact of Mass Surveillance on International Writers”, showing that mass surveillance by the United States and other governments had produced a very negative effect on free expression, leading to self-censorship. It further showed that concern about surveillance was almost as high among writers living in democracies (75%) as it was among those living in non-democratic states (80%). It would be tragic if the killing of a few journalists in Paris were allowed to result in greater self-censorship and to curtail freedom of expression.

The terrorists and those who wish to limit freedom of expression by violent means should learn that far from forcing others to silence, their acts will backfire and will have the opposite effect. If the terrorists intended to help the cause of Muslims in the world, it has had precisely the opposite effect and has intensified a climate of suspicion and cultural clash between Islam and the West.

It should be added that the terrorist outrage was not an Islamic act against Christians, Jews and secularists. It was the act of two terrorists against Muslims, Christians, Jews and people of no faith.

That vile act had nothing to do with Islam

In fact, after the carnage and the resulting anger, it is important to remember that Read the rest of this entry »


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