Israel/Palestine/Israel

This is the second segment in a continuing dialogue between an Israeli (Mike) and an American (Bill) — it is an ongoing email conversation, dialogue text is copied verbatim. The first segment appeared here as Palestine/Israel/Palestine.

July 29, 2017 (Mike to Bill)

Was talking to my wife this morning on what I was trying to explain and her comment was that it is impossible to have a dialogue with people that believe they are victims. In our neck of the woods that would definitely mean what children are taught in kindergarten and school. Then I suppose to compound this we have families marrying first cousins to keep family control of their wealth. This has indeed caused some deterioration in IQ and introduced birth defects that are not helpful specially when no pre-natal screening is available. Or as in the case of America religion doesn’t allow veterans to get pain relief by using marijuana extracts that are specially formulated for pain without the buzz. In Israel they are very successful at isolating parts of hemp and marijuana to deal with many health problems that “normal” medicine cannot help. Actually talking to you has created a sort of introspection that wasn’t around before.

If you can’t solve problems what are you supposed to do? Maybe there is a higher power and karma was created to interact on a planet that was like the locked room game. Maybe we are looking at things the wrong way?

Sorry for all the posts but it is like a ball of wool unravelling before your eyes.

Sunday in Israel is a normal day so enjoy yours

July 30, 2017 (Bill to Mike)

I have indeed followed coverage on Sergeant Azaria. Hebron is a hell on Earth, particularly for the Palestinians who still live there. I watched a John Pilger documentary “Palestine is still the issue” on this town, filmed about a generation ago now. Shuhada Street is fenced right up against Palestinian homes. Looking through caged windows they get to see settlers, soldiers and holy land tourists glaring, shouting, tossing things, punching into doorways. Surreally dystopian. Shuhada was Hebron’s main street.

I listen for mention of Palestine on a range of news media, but virtually nothing outside official government channels is reported. I listen to any number of pitches for holy land tours. How can any of them not mention a word about the Apartheid Wall. The independent street artist Banksy does a good job though. There is that.
Imagine being evicted from you house in the Palestine of 1948, then being occupied where you sought refuge in 1967, then to have your house in the occupied territories rehabbed or razed by a tsunami of settlers. How about children looking through a fence to see settler children playing in a yard they once played in, to read “Gas all Arabs” graffiti everywhere, having your bedroom door broken down at 2:00 in the morning by IDF soldiers and then brought in for questioning, wetting your pants in the process.
Despite all that humiliation, their population will soon outnumber non-Palestinians in what was formerly a colony of the British Empire. Despite regular bombing, the population density in Gaza only increases. There are no places to hide and invoking the all-explaining five letters H A M A S does not justify it. Would you not resist?
Here’s my question for a Sunday — What’s the truth on white-phosphorous bombs on Gaza?
But I still wish you, and all you hold dear, the very best in these rapidly approaching days of August, be they august or not.
July 30, 2017 (Mike to Bill):

Hi Bill – there is some truth in what you say but a bit one-sided. I used to know Hebron pretty well and if you are interested let me tell you about my monthly stints in Hebron when I happened to be there. My recollections are sharp but the when is a bit muddled. 
In 1929 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1929_Hebron_massacre I have an interesting story. The first time I was in Hebron we were encamped on a hill near Hebron. We were waiting to go out on patrol – the weather was amazingly good. One of the soldiers told us that his grand-father and grand-mother was one of the few Jews to manage to escape the massacre. Fast forward to 1967 and one day a convoy of cars from the West Bank pulled up outside his parent’s house on aSaturday morning when the whole family was at home. One of the Arab guys introduced himself and explained that his grand-father had rented out their home the left in Hebron and brought him the rent in Jordanian Dinars. Seems his grand-parents helped the soldier’s family to escape. Some history (I didn’t know a lot written here) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebron in Israel the land deeds are kept in the Tabu office – Tabu is a Turkish word and written is who owned what and when. For example Tel-Romeda next to the very large Jewish cemetery. One of the most intelligent people I loved to have coffee with actually two – one was a rabbi that lived in a caravan home there as the land was owned by Jews and his next door neighbour a very smart guy that owned a shoe shop in town. The rabbi was murdered but the other guy – his family owned the Jewish cemetery and often we would sit on the wal drinking coffee and we would joke about what is he supposed to do with the land as the 99 year lease had expired a long time ago. At my time the mayor of Hebron Jabori – had a grand-child that converted to Judaism and married a French woman (arranged) in Jerusalem. He later became quite a famous rabbi. There were Israelis that married Arab women and had to live in Israel as they could have been in danger. Lots of Arab men married Jewish women. Love is love.

In Tel-Aviv you cannot tell who is who anymore. Back to Hebron. I was once the sergeant in charge of the Patriarch’s tomb. Of course prayers was a problem with different rooms at different times and being a bit naïve I started to become blonde. Early morning prayers were conducted with the Arabs in the big hall and the Jews were allowed to use a small room with a connecting door to the big room until 7am. Of course both sides drove me crazy by opening the door before7am and anything else they could do to make my life miserable. They were all like kids. So one morning I visited the local hardware store and bought a hasp and staple plus medium sized lock and a few screws and a screw driver. That night I installed the hardware and waited for the morning. The lock was by the way  on the Arab side because there was more light there. Next morning both sides of the door started talking to each other and complained about me to the military governor no less. He came over and I couldn’t believe my eyes the Arabs and the Jews were kneeling on the floor with little brushes and were collecting the wood dust (I couldn’t see any) from the floor. So when they decided they had it all I had to remove the hardware and with prayers in bot Arabic and Hebrew these crazy people so called replaced the dust with some glue. I was severely reprimanded for destroying the door and they all grudgingly agreed to drop this serious – whatever it was. Now forgive me for telling you in my mind the people there deserve each other and would be heart-broken if either side upped and left. Another thing when I was street patrol sometimes young girls would invite us to tea (not coffee) and they would sit inside the garden gate and we sat on the pavement. That is how I prefer to remember Hebron not the throwing Molotov cocktails at our jeeps nor some of the Jews that thought they owned the place. But Bill there is not only one side to this story. Once there was no wall and my daughter’s bus was blown up twice (no 16 in Jerusalem) both times she walked instead. How many time times I had to go and look for my daughter at the hospital as I didn’t know she walked home. Israel specially asked the Jordan king to stay out of the war – but he shelled Jerusalem. Anyway in 1948 he invaded the place.

So much more but I think I may have lost you J

The following response originally appeared in a comment thread here.

August 3, 2017 (Bill to Mike):

…your firsthand personal experience in Hebron is of great interest to me and I look forward to hearing more. To every extent possible I try to follow this maxim: listen to “the other” before formulating a response, mull the other’s words before responding, then speak truth as you know it. I do not often succeed, but the maxim is still wise.
In my opinion, Wikipedia is better at topics that are not “hot button” ones, ones that do not serve agendas. Here is a single example:

type in “Hasbara” and you are not taken to a page titled “Hasbara.” Rather, you are taken to a page titled “Public diplomacy of Israel.” Before that it was “Public diplomacy in Israel.” Before that it was “Public diplomacy — Israel.” Why does it not take you to a page titled “Hasbara”?

Shalom,
Bill

This is a developing dialogue, additional conversations will appear in a future post.

Thanks for reading.

 

where.is.palestine
From a Holy Land Tour Brochure (circa 2015).

In the Land of Xenophobia the Rosary is an Assault Weapon

Humans cast some long Jungian shadows. Xenophobia and racism flourish in dark places. 2016 witnesses a political voice “from the Land of Mordor where the shadows lie.”

abrahamic.religions

 

quotes-men-become-civilized-not-in-proportion-to-their-ambrose-gwinett-bierce-4316

 

Two sides of the triangle described above have denoted Judeo-Christian values since the Common Era began: Christianity and Judaism, but never Islam, although Abraham is patriarch for all three faiths.

Broadcasters who welcome the views of demagogues Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer and such ilk become proudly complicit in the crimes committed by members of their audience.

Perhaps I am too easily offended or I am missing the subtlety of radio programs that boast of a battle-ready Jesus. The search argument “A rosary is an assault weapon with a 50 round clip” yields

About 874 results (0.67 seconds)

Ishmael? Do you mean the third word in Moby Dick? Otherwise, no, we don’t talk about that family member. Oh, you meant Israel. Well that’s better.

Well indeed. I discovered that the sentence “Call me Ishmael” is not the first line. My thanks to Ken Jennings for that correction and for his website The Debunker.

Pope Francis reminds us that baptized Catholics are just as ready to become unwitting militants. Islamophobes are not entirely pleased with the Francis’ papacy.

francis.apartheid.wall

Israel is Sparta. It is also a laboratory for weapons and “security” systems. Jeff Halper just posted an item on FB that takes on the euphemism “security.” His suggestion: substitute “pacification.” Propaganda (hasbara) suggests a patriotic rush to judgement and to a false security.

The last thing a spartan state needs is another 1.5 billion dollars to top off the annual contribution from the United States and the Marshall Islands. A response to stones thrown by Palestinian youth. I sense overreach.

Thanks for reading.

 

Speak Arabic Openly and Joyfully!

Arabic is a tapestry

Modern Standard Arabic is a construct used to help Arabic speakers living over a wide expanse to understand each other. To speak the language, and yet be understood, you have to choose among Arabic dialects specific to particular geographical areas, as suggested by the map below:

Arabic_Dialects.svg

Modern Standard Arabic is akin to Esperanto among its many speakers: about 400 million Arab speakers on this planet of ours!

Lines on a map I’ve viewed 10,000 times mask the neighborhood scenes, but empires find borders (preferably using a straight edge) an expedient means for control.  Africa before Europeans. Is there a downside?  Empires rape as much as they can as fast as they can, but what’s wrong with that?  Endless decadence for one.

My safari (سفر, from Swahili) into Arabic started some years ago when teaching a German class: sample, sample. One student was born in Jerusalem. Palestinians live under constant occupation. Occupied by Ottomans until 1923, British Empire until May 1948, then another legal entity to 2016 and counting (down). But Palestine is a forever place.

I made a good deal “if you can learn some German I can learn some Arabic.” It was a means for transcending culture and stereotypes, the kind explained in the documentary Reel Bad Arabs.

It’s fun tackling curiosities in Indo-European roots. Only recently did I discover that Persian shares Indo-European roots along with most European countries. Their alphabet looks like Arabic, but there isn’t much overlap in vocabulary.

Farsi doesn’t use the root system – a fundamental building-block system for assigning meaning. Arabic dictionaries are arranged by consonant groupings

SFR = SaFaRi, a journey

indo-european-word-history-of-plek

Arabic script is brilliantly beautiful. The Roman alphabet has a tiny toolbox, as useful as thimbles for trumping fingers and thumb IMO.

Latin doesn’t even have lowercase letters and it does not often include curved letters like U when a V will do. But they are easier to chisel into stone.

alan-dunn-does-ex-take-the-ablative-or-the-dative-new-yorker-cartoon

Nothing beats a zero when speaking the language of science. The Romans didn’t get there. To paraphrase the John Cleese (Why does British food suck? “they had an empire to run.” It’s not easy to derive square roots using Roman numerals.

Let me say something about resources: not all Arabic alphabet aids are good. This one helped me the most: Sugar comes from Arabic.

Many Spanish words derive from Arabic. They stayed on after Arabic culture was forceably ejected from Spain in 1492. So at least two all-time epic fails happened in 1492.

The Crusades and the Inquisition (The Church Militant) were not good ideas. Spreading lies like Joseph Goebbels lends not a single grain of truth. Truth went into exile from 1933 to 1945. No literature or art of any value springs forth under Fascism. Nothing good comes of Fascism. “When I hear the word ‘culture’…”

Islamophobia (from the xeno family of racism) will not lead to a better gentler world.

An earlier post on this theme: Thinking about language

 #RumiWasntWhite.

 

 

 

#HateHurts

#HateHurts is a blog I follow and recommend. Misinformation and deliberate bias provokes; it intends to provoke. Broadcasters who long for a return to the Pre-Enlightenment write volumes that with titles like The Glory of the Crusades. Authors with absolutely no knowledge of Arabic language and diverse cultural roots endlessly repeat bad translations of the Quran. This is not scholarship: the title is all you need. Wink and a nod to the ignorant, arrogant and angry. The following video features propaganda using false witness.

Not responding to evil is a complicit act.

In the aftermath of acts of violence/terror by someone from a Muslim background, there is a unique backlash that takes place against Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim. There is often an upswing in assigning collective blame to the greater Muslim community, resulting in violent attacks or harassment against Muslims and their institutions. This […]

via A List of Anti-Muslim Incidents Since The Orlando Shooting — #HateHurts

America Nakba Tour Memories

 

Refugee crisis continues, right to return still a universal human right

It was my privilege to meet personally with Umm Akram, Amena Ashkar and Samir Salem when the North America Nakba Tour visited Cincinnati Clifton Mosque (Masjid): a Cincinnati Palestine Solidarity Coalition event.

traditional.values.universal

The British Empire closed shop on their Raj in India in 1947 and they left Palestine in 1948. At the same time another colonizer opened shop under new management and with a new name. They had owned the place 3,000 years ago and decided to own it again.

Speaking truth to power is not the same as speaking truth to the powerless.

I had a light bulb moment:

Amena momentarily flinched when a questioner referred to an entity I am calling SRL. Her reaction gave me pause and served as a reminder of the entity that controls the narrative: those who lived in Palestine 3,000 years ago and decided to own it again.

Never believe your own propaganda.

I’m calling the entity (one of the words Amena uses) SRL because I am presently learning one of the Semitic languages based on the root system. The larger of the Semitic languages has 300,000,000 speakers, but the principal language in SRL is spoken by 9,000,000. The word antisemitism should be redefined.

My ears and eyes are always open to the slightest mention of anything Palestinian in the news. American media is either corporately owned or corporately sponsored. Censoring the news is ungodly expensive. Without the billions of dollars infused into SRL the whole entity would collapse under its own weight.

Stolen land? What stolen land? Nina Paley’s animated take on land rights is worth your time IMO. Following Nina Paley is worth all the while. If you are having a problem choosing your next Paley animation: Nina Paley Blog.

nina.paley.goddess

So my question hangs in the air: “why is it always okay to freely and frequently speak the word Isr**l, wave their colors, celebrate eternal victimhood, speak loud, act brazen, flex Spartan muscles, trot out the toys of a soldier society…

Occupation of another people is not a universal human right.

Back to SRL. The SRLies use the word Palestinian as a curse word. They never even whisper the word PALESTINE.

Thanks for reading.

Thalwen Explains Hasbara: إسرائيل

Truth to Power

A single truth can defeat a legion of lies. A 15-year-old shows us how.

I’m reminded of the guy in Poe’s “Telltale Heart.” Truth pulses.

Leanne Mohamad is a 15 year old Palestinian who lives in the UK. A student at Wanstead High School, she took top place in the Redbridge regional final for Jack Petchley’s Speak Out challenge. The Speak Out Challenge is an annual contest that is funded by the Jack Petchley Foundation and the purpose of it […]

via Leanne Mohamad, censored for hoping for freedom — Thalwen’s Rants and Stuffs

Thalwen is setting a higher bar in solid reporting at the same time as the hasbara crowd keeps lowering theirs. This is another one for the reference shelf here at billziegler1947. It may be daunting to publish small unfunded thoughts when I could get paid to sit at a monitor and yell “Go Team Hasbara Go!” but this way I can live with myself.

May we Voice Criticism of Israel in Public?

Recent Opinions in Jewish Week and Washington Post

A good friend brought this opinion by Seymour D. Reich to my attention today.

A word to the wise…just might…

Multi-million dollar daily cash infusions are the price of eternal vigilance. “Keep moving. There’s nothing to see here. Keep moving…”

pal.nothing.to.see.here

Bernie Sanders did not say many words (measured rhetoric) on a theme of the “disproportionate force” but each word has sprung multiple leaks.

Media in the US and in Israel form the corpus politic. Tangential reporting relies on short attention spans in the audience, a single word must never gain purchase. Hasbara is serious business.

“For decades, most American Jews who cared about Israel’s welfare and security adhered to the maxim that we don’t voice criticism of Israel in public.”

Source: Israel’s Assault On Democracy: Time To Speak Out | The Jewish Week

to.learn.who.rules.over.you
Source: Piercing the Veil or Reality

Speaking of hope, I read David Bernstein’s opinion in yesterday’s Washington Post.

Bernstein is a frequent contributor to the WP and has performed his perfunctory best at pressing the “hate site” label onto Philip Weiss, half of the Mondoweiss founders. Philip keeps getting into Mr. Bernstein’s craw and it’s hard to remain level-headed when your craw is aching. I understand.

cartoon.sheldon.adelson

See also “antisemitism” and “anti-defamation” to learn less of the truth about Palestine and the Palestinian people, as refugees under occupation, as a people in exile for 68 years now.

I admit this: I am a comment reader, an observer of scary stuff that goes on in the worlds of Israel and her BFF. It festers as ever: Israel as promised land (“Because He promised. I swear He did”) Honey, milk, physical and spiritual perfection. A place where birthright yields more independence and recognition than birthplace.

birthright.birthplace

The whole construct relies upon holding fast to denial: the perfected society has skeletons in its closet (carpentered in 1948). PTSD is not unknown among IDF soldiers and veterans. They are breaking their silence.

Witness storied operations inspired by the sling of David, but remain unaware of the murderous occupation maintained for cleansing ethnicity.

Let’s say that your guess is as good as mine.

 

peace.and.conflict.politics

Similarly, a Twitter page for those wishing to band together and fight Arabic fascism.

zvi.lando.arab.fascism
Nothing facile about this logic. It’s from the gentle Zvi Lando.

 

 

Aleppo is Burning: Join the Worldwide Red Protest for Syria

In solidarity.

On Tuesday, May 3, protestors in London will gather to demand action be taken for the innocent civilians of Aleppo, who are being crushed by the brutal Syrian regime. If you live in the UK, join the Student Union of King’s College London at the Quad, Strand Campus, from 6 p.m. BST. For more details, visit the Facebook…

aleppo

Source: Aleppo is Burning: Join the Worldwide Red Protest for Syria

Africans without Europeans

uncolonized.africa.upside.down

What’s wrong with this map? What’s right? What’s just? Who decides? Who benefits?

Maps are important ways to perpetuate a Big Lie.  Here is Africa from a fresh perspective.

Alkebu-lan is Arabic for “Land of the Blacks.” The map above uses familiar color and shading schemes to name the distinct cultures and people. Human geography.

Zoom in and experience the fractal quality of intense diversity:

sokoto_etcetera
Sokoto Kuilafat surrounded by neighbors. Please read Big-think perspective

 

 

 

The unlabelled land mass at the bottom is the uninhabited realm of lands depopulated by an extinction level event such as Black Death: an alternate history suggested by Frank Jacobs elucidated here:

Africa, Uncolonized: A Detailed Look at an Alternate Continent

A few interesting land areas stand out: places we call Sinai, Levant, Sicily and Spain. Their unexpected presence gives pause.

Please look at this planet from the Other’s perspective, remembering that you too are the “Other.” Call me Ishmael.

The equator is the dashed line. To my eye that great lake in  Alkebu-lan looks like a chick’s eye. What a strikingly different way to look at this enormous continent. The solar system doesn’t have a top and bottom, so I can just imagine visitors from another star system mapping the southernmost continent as the top of the third planet out.

The Latin for the interior sea is Mediterranean: the sea at the middle of Earth. It’s natural but unfortunate to look at the world from where you name “us.” It could be New  York or the Middle Kingdom (China) or Middle Earth.

Anywhere, really.

America must not remain the center for geopolitical advantage studies.

The land of the fulsome and the home of the nice.

Proud to be an Imperialist, where at least…

Here are the paths the genomes took.

out.of.africa.route.ibm
From IBM recombinational analysis on the human genome. Source.

Simply stated, a map projection is a compromise achieved by forcing a sphere in three dimensions onto a two-dimensional surface. Only a globe presents accuracy to scale on behalf of the earth orb, but you can only see one side of the globe at one time. And it doesn’t fit well in your pocket.

When you have looked at the same combination of continents 100,000 times or so, it gradually takes on the ring of “truth.”

Consider the azimuthal equidistant projection for establishing a center point anywhere. It’s the polar opposite (figuratively and literally) of the mercator projection. Mercator places the North Pole at infinity. Azimuthal places Santa’s Workshop at the center of the world.

azimuthal.equidistant.north.pole
Source: David Rumsey Map Collection

Expect maps to push agendas hard. In 1978 the Palestinian-American scholar Edward Said produced the book Orientalism,in 1978. It explains the way an occupation force imposes its perspective on the occupied: imposition of language and Eurocentric concept of unchangeable truth.

cecil.rhodes.colossus
The wide stance of Cecil Rhodes as Colossus of Rhodes in this famous cartoon. Founder of the Rhodes Scholarship fund. Before Zimbabwe there was Rhodesia. Cecil left a legacy.

From Allen Webb, my source for Cecil Rhodes, a quote from gentle Cecil:

We must find new lands from which we can easily obtain raw materials and at the same time exploit the cheap slave labor that is available from the natives of the colonies. The colonies would also provide a dumping ground for the surplus goods produced in our factories.

The British imperial overlords used a straight-edge to define borders for the people they exploited before leaving former colonials to sort it all out. Once they left they didn’t look back. What’s past is passed. Let’s just say ‘we’re history.’

Consider the absurd British decision to create an East and a West Pakistan in the South Asia theater of interest and profit. It’s folly most insane. Lord Balfour had as much insight as the architects of East and West Pakistan when he crafted a  67-word statement in 1917.  Nakba is one result. Truth is one casualty.

partioning.colonies.middle.east.british.empire
Arbitrary borders possibly drawn by an idiot with a straight-edge

I mention alternate histories. Here is one such at DeviantArt.Net, a resource for speculative art.

alternate_history_map__1__central_power_victory_by_drawnzilla-d77hpbv

Keep a window open for Yanko Tsvetkov, the cartographer for the indispensable Atlas of Prejudice.

atlas.of.prejudice

Thanks for reading.

Ramallah Mix

Source: Ramallah Mix

I keep current with Palestine. I witness to counter the countless billions of dollars extinguished every day for the united status of quo. In a large enough way I am personally complicit: The State Department issued a passport that verifies my identity.

stone.cold.justice
This is abject primal fear, the kind that arrive when you are out of your mind frightened. It is not a simple detention. 

Palestinians on their own soil live everyday life in a police state every day. It’s just ironic that Israel is a front-runner in the race for fascism.

Video from December, 2015: holiday season.

Did you know that children throwing stones, reported throwing stones, thought to throw stones or not throwing stones are housed in Israeli prisons? The military uses GPS systems to locate a child’s bedroom for 2:00 A.M. visits.

Many Israelis enjoy the occasional guffaw. Who could even think of being offended by humor on a theme of Rachel Corrie pancakes. No one is suggesting that the society might be depraved, decadent or disgusting. Just wondering why I am so thin-skinned and sensitive. Why does that denim have a dark stain?

Thanks Thlwn for posting this video today on Twitter, and for being who you are. Grateful for the thankless task you serve, for your ability to garner humor in the face of evil most banal. It’s not an easy job.

I don’t read about this stuff in the New York Times. I don’t hear about this stuff on NPR. I don’t see this stuff on PBS.  So here I am reporting for duty.

Thanks for reading.