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November 16, 2005

Left Is Right And Right Is Left

Rice-Hillary1

With all the powerful political images coming out of the Middle East this past week, I was interested in focusing on Condi and Hillary, both jointly and separately.

A couple weeks ago, there was a some buzz that in the ’sphere fantasizing about a Hillary – Condi presidential match-up.  Whether there was any sense to the scenario, what it crystallized was the truly iconic stature of each woman, and the natural tendency to draw associations between the two.   In this light, it was something of a treat to that they both showed up (and visually overlapped) the day before yesterday at the memorial ceremony marking the tenth anniversary of the death of Yitzhak Rabin.

Although afforded the "better seats" due to the Clinton Administration’s involvement with Rabin and the peace process, Hillary looks pretty set in the alpha postion relative to both Bill and Condi.  Style-wise, she seems to both mirror, and hold her own with Condi.  To Condi’s credit, however, there is an interesting power symmetry in her pairing with Sharon as a counterweight to the always formidable Hill and Bill combo.

What I was most interested in, however, were the contrasting agendas of the two trips, and how the politics informed the images.  If anything, you could say that Condi and Hillary were involved in a kind of role reversal.

On Hillary’s part, she was doing groundwork
for her Senatorial re-election and the seemingly inevitable White House
run. Underpinning her trip was her now notorious shift to the right, as
well as the effort to solidify her N.Y. Jewish support. To do that, she
seemed determined to make up for her last trip here (for which she was
attacked by N.Y. Republicans in her Senate campaign) for being
photographed kissing Yasir Arafat’s wife, and seeming to overly embrace
the Palestinian cause.

Hillary-Wall-Map1

Of course, she was also photographed
doing the compulsory prayer at the Wailing Wall. Going out of her way
to pay respect to the most hardline Israeli position (and innoculate
herself against further attacks from right), however, Hillary posed for
this picture next to a map of the Israeli security wall. Notice the
especially big smile, the designation of the wall as a "fence" and the
dotted lines around settlements. When asked if she supported the wall
running through Palestinian land in the West Bank, Clinton simply
avoided the question.

If Hillary was doing a wide right swing, however, Condi was
doing the opposite. Perhaps she was motivated by the possibility of
scoring the first Mid-East diplomatic accomplishment of the Bush
Administration. Maybe she was showing some independence from the
neocons. Perhaps she felt the Administration needed to finally
demonstrate some act of competence somewhere. Maybe she was just
determined to prove she wasn’t a complete poster child for the Peter
Principle. For whatever reason, however, Condi hung around the region
long enough to achieve an understanding giving Palestinians more
freedom of movement and economic control in, out and over Gaza.

Rice-Sharon1

Consider this image of Condi, Sharon and Peres at a dinner forum
(at which Hillary actually gave the keynote address). If one didn’t
know better, it might look like Rice was pandering. In light of the agreement,
however, it seems that Condi was just wearing Sharon down. If the
images are any indication, Rice was on Sharon like glue with the two
sitting together at the Haim Saban Forum dinner on the 13th, attending
the Rabin service together after having met individually on the 14th,
and then nailing down the Gaza arrangement on the 15th.

Not that women can’t be bigger hawks than men, but after five
years of Bush testosterone, it seems refreshing to see female
politicians grab a bigger share of the stage — even as they work it
from both sides.

(image 1: Israel Hadari/Reuters.
Jerusalem. November 14, 2005. Via YahooNews. image 2: Tony
Gentile/Reuters. November 13, 2005. Jerusalem. Via YahooNews. image 3:
Uriel Sinai/Reuters. Jerusalem November 13, 2005. Via YahooNews.)

  • Lisa

    Having seen the fence, I c an say it is a fence in most places. However, there are places where the fence becomes a wall, for example along highway 6. There it reminded me of nothing so much as the walls that surround highways in the U.S. as you travel through urban areas.
    I can also say, having been there during a part of the fence’s construction, it worked to my great surprise. I thought it was a stupid idea; I was wrong. There were large numbers of successful suicide bombings before the fence went up and as sections completed, there were fewer and fewer successful ones. There were still daily alerts about a possible attack in different regions, there were still roadblocks before cities which had an alert (something NO one ever mentions when complaining about the road blocks within the West Bank… you can’t enter Eilat without passing a road block). In fact, in one two week period, there were three seperate attempted attacks on high schools, all foiled thanks to the hard work of security forces and the fence.

  • http://ban-sidhe.com/blog/ Mathieu

    That siege fortifications enhance the security of those inside them is hard to dispute, this still begs the question of the impact the siege mentality has on the prospects for peace.
    If any :(
    It’s very dissapointing, but perhaps not very surprising, to see a politician strike suggestive poses without making a clear stand on such substantive issues, but I guess Hillary has nothing to gain and everything to lose in doing otherwise.

  • MonsieurGonzo

    the fact that EITHER of these American ladies can somehow submerge their personal and professional dignity to be seen / photographed with a known WAR CRIMINAL = Ariel Sharon; and even visit, if only “for official purposes” this sick, Zionist Theocracy… is DISGUSTING.
    “Anti-Terror Fence” …bullshit !
    the West Bank and Gaza Strip are fucking ghettos, man ~ and Hillary and/or Rice posing in front of maps of or, the actual, ghastly walls themselves is not unlike seeing Leni Riefenstahl smiling for the cameras in downtown Warsaw, circa ~1942 : utterly shameless.

  • electra

    I think Condi is pandering. Did anyone see that clip of her having a public conversation with King Abdullah?
    On another note: Condi’s choice of clothing to both Jordan and Saudi Arabia is very interesting. Black – the color choice for fundamentalist women, particularly in Saudi Arabia. The other interesting thing is her pants – it is the first time I can remember seeing her in a pant suit. Obviously she is covering her legs in light of what is acceptable to more conservative elements.
    But! Here pants are quite short – they show a lot of ankle – that looks like a bit of a rebellion to me.
    When Madalyn Albright visited the King of SA in 1997, when she was photoed during her audience with King Fahd, she was wearing an Abaya over her shoulders – the black coat or cape (there are a number of different styles) that all women in SA must wear in the presence of men (along with the head scarf and veil). Condi was photoed with the current King Abdullah – who is more religious than Fahd was – and was not wearing an Abaya. I was frankly horrified that Albright agreed to wear it in ‘97, and am glad that Condi didn’t.
    Bare ankles is power dressing in Saudi Arabia though.

  • Lisa

    Ghettos? Maybe you have forgotten about the very nice homes Israel built for Palestinians still living in the camps after 20 some years of occupation by Jordan and Egypt. you know, the ones Arafat killed people for moving into before he eventually destroyed them. Maybe you have forgotten about the very nice jobs Palestinians had in Israel, how the borders between Israel, the West Bank and Gaza were open and trade and people moved freely. What could have happened? Oh yeah, I forgot, Palestinians decided it was a good idea to start killing innocent people.
    To compare the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to WWII and the Holocaust is not only insensitive and irrational but it is also highly anti-Semitic. Israel is in the territories because of the action of the Palestinians, Jordanians and Egyptians. Believe me, they would have been much happier if the Arabs would have accepted their presence in 48 but those darn Jews apparently aren’t good enough to have a homeland like everyone else.

  • lemondloulou54

    What I see in all three photos is NOT LISTENING. At the Rabin memorial service, Condi doesn’t appear to be wearing a headset. Is she fluent in Hebrew as well as Russian? Obviously Sharon doesn’t have to wear one, but why not her? Not interested?
    Hillary’s definitely not listening, or seeing either, for that matter, whilst she stands in front of the map.
    At the dinner, Condi’s not talking to Sharon, Peres is. Condi’s blabbing to someone else (BIll C.?) whom we can’t see at the table.

  • The BAG

    Geez Gonz,
    I think you just burned a hole in The BAG.
    …Does this mean I shouldn’t send that invitation to my kid’s Bar Mitzvah?

  • readytoblowagasket

    Hmmm, what’s that strange sound? I can’t tell if it’s ground breaking, news breaking, or rules breaking.

  • Lisa

    I think Condi has her headphones on…. they just blend in well with her clothes. Sharon looks like he is asleep. Who would have ever thought that Sharon of all people would lead Israel out of Gaza?

  • ummabdulla

    Well, MonsierGonzo, I wouldn’t have put it that way, but I had the same reaction to that picture of Condi schmoozing with Ariel Sharon. It makes me want to throw up.
    Electra, there is no nationwide rule in Saudi that women have to wear abayas. I read that line in every article about Saudi women, but sorry, it’s simply not true. Have you ever been to the Dammam/Dhahran/Khobar area? You can see women without hijabs and without abayas, out at the mall or wherever.
    electra: “I was frankly horrified that Albright agreed to wear it in ‘97, and am glad that Condi didn’t.”
    And does it bother you that every American male politician feels obligated to make pilgrimages to Israel and wear yarmulkes?
    In fact, can anyone imagine the reaction of the American public if American politicians – especially potential Presidential candidates – were required to pay visits to, and pander to the interests of, any other foreign country?
    Lisa, you must have loved the Berlin Wall, huh? Or should I say “Berlin Fence”?

  • lytom

    Bag,
    I must disagree with your last sentence…
    …”Not that women can’t be bigger hawks than men, but after five years of Bush testosterone, it seems refreshing to see female politicians grab a bigger share of the stage — even as they work it from both sides.”
    I just cannot comprehend what that means to you.
    Is this it?:
    Isn’t it great that females are equal to men? Right on, and it ain’t important if they support/do evil??
    The wall should come down. Both of these females, so admired, support it standing up. More ghettos please! More Green Zones! More repression!
    Is this what democracy looks like?

  • http://ruinsofempire.blogspot.com/ Rafael

    To Lisa:
    Nice houses, never seen the.And what about the many houses demolished by Israeli bulldozers as retaliation, for terror actions plus why did Sharon insists that the Palestinians have no right to return while he invited millions of Russian Jews to live in subsidized housing (payed by the Israeli taxpayers) on occupied territory.
    They used violence becuase they are a people without a home, without a state and ultimatley without freedom. Would you have accepted the payoff or would you fight to live on your own terms as a free person?

  • readytoblowagasket

    Apparently the Jews and Palestinians are a more important topic than Condi and Hillary. I find this circular detour tedious and crushingly disappointing. Just goes to show that even in this forum women are not really important enough to discuss seriously, and that we can’t move beyond — let alone see — our double standards for them.
    But thank you umabdulla and lytom, for attempting to move the discussion out of the quicksand.

  • Lisa

    Rafael,
    We bulldoze crack houses in the U.S.. The homes that are bulldozed in Gaza/West Bank fit either one of two conditions, either they obscure the entrance into a weapons smuggling tunnel or they belong to suicide bombers and would likely be turned into shrines to celebrate a mass murderer. The Palestinians have no right to Israel. Those who chose to stay are Israeli citizens. Those who left are not. Much of the land that is Israel was purchased long before ‘48.
    “They used violence becuase they are a people without a home, without a state and ultimatley without freedom. Would you have accepted the payoff or would you fight to live on your own terms as a free person?”
    Why don’t you ask Ghandi? The argument that violence is caused because they are a people fighting for their freedom is a fallacy when they continually, intentionally target civilians, when they continue to attack despite Israel’s considerable gesture in leaving Gaza. Never mind the fact that they weren’t bombing people when they were occupied by Egypt and Jordan, Britain or the Ottoman Empire. (Of course, if you think it is acceptable to go so far back as before the Ottoman Empire to justify that the Israel belongs to the Palestinians, then how can you deny the Jewish heritage of the land, especially Jerusalem?)
    Terrorist groups have a policy that even children are acceptable targets since one day they will grow up and serve in the army. That is unacceptable no matter whose children they are. I could certainly take up arms against a soldier to save my home but not against a child, not against random people riding the bus and not against schools. I don’t think you would either.
    As for the immigration of Russians of Jewish ancestry (most are NOT Jews as religion was not allowed for so very long in Russia), like any country, Israel has the right to determine who, if any, they allow to immigrate. In fact, Israel has allowed several groups of citizens in danger in their homeland to immigrate to Israel irregardless of their religion or race. Unlike many countries, Israel has social services in place to assist immigrants in making the transition (like housing assistance and language classes).
    How about the Jews who were forced out of nearly every Arab country in the 40’s? When will they be compensated?
    Or how about this, what is going to happen to the Jews whose families have lived in Hebron for hundreds of years when Palestine becomes a reality? Will they be allowed to stay? Will they be killed or run out? (As MANY Palestinian Christians have had happen to them)

  • readytoblowagasket

    The BAG: I’m betting this is why Gonzo said what he did.

  • mad

    Gonzo raises a worthy topic that should be much in the news, and eventually it will be: War Criminals.
    What is definition of War Criminal?
    Do we see war criminals in these photos? They look pretty happy, smiling and talking just like normal folk.
    Sharon as war criminal, responsible for an assault that killed hundred or more civilians a couple of decades ago?
    What about Rice? She promoted the war and she continues to help the Bush Administration prosecute what is truly an illegal and immoral war. Is Rice a war criminal?
    What about Bush? Cheney? Rumsfeld? Powell? Blair?
    What is a War Criminal? Should they be happy and smiling? Their victims aren’t.

  • http://ruinsofempire.blogspot.com/ Rafael

    The Palestinians have no right to Israel.
    Indeed they don’t.
    They have a right to Palestine.
    As for those who occupied the area before, they may have ruled the Palestinians, but they did not expatriate them. Even then, the Arabs fought for independence against the Ottoman Empire helped by one Lawrence of Arabia. They belived that the British (and to a lesser extend the French) would honor the promises made to them. Instead they occupied them. And the Arabs (especially in Iraq, but in other places as well) did offer resistance although suicide bombings where not the prefer method of resistance.
    Talking about peaceful vs. violent resistance, yes Ghandi had it right. But implicit in peaceful resistance is that your opressor will use hatefull, destructive methods (attack dogs, waterhoses, incarceration, torture, mass retaliation) to supress them. If history teaches us anything is that as the more oppresor becomes frustrated with ressistance, the more he oppression intensifies. Tell me, is it fair to punish the family of a suicide bomber by demolishing his home and building a settlement over it?
    It takes supreme courage and fortitude NOT to resort to violence when faced with such harsh methods. Men and women like Ghandi, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King jr. are rare indeed.
    Intifada I worked because it was boys with rocks standing up to Israeli with armored vehicles and rubber bullets. The reaction by the Israelis seemed so disproportionate to the threat that they lost the battle for public opinion inside and outside of Israel. Rabin learned this lesson and applied it. He was the first Israeli PM to extend an olive branch and earned the trust of both Israelis and Palestinians.
    His death was the death of peace….
    That was compounded by Arafat who launched Intifada II, this time using the old PLO methods. Instead he played right into the hands of the right-wing Likud leaders such as Sharon. Not only that he undermined his own authority by opening the can of worms that is HAMAS. That has lead to vicious cycle of attack and retaliation by both sides. Once they were willing to talk and even hope to trusts and live side by side. Now HAMAS and Likud are locked in a strugle that boils down to use of terrorist acts to goad the other side to retaliate which in turn sows distrust, fear and hatred on the other side. In the middle are both Palestinians and Israelis that if given a chance may yet be willing to forge a lasting peace.
    Free from fear, free from hatred, free from war.
    Because without freedom there can be no peace….

  • MonsieurGonzo

    “…insensitive and irrational but it is also highly anti-Semitic
    this is the most fun-est part of criticizing anything having to do with a genuine Theocractic State : whatever is said anti-israel is boiled down to anti-semitic semantics.
    Does this mean I shouldn’t send that invitation to my kid’s Bar Mitzvah ?
    lovely.
    National Fundamentalism is apparently just as seductive, onerous and mind-bendingly difficult to deal with rationally whether it be Judeo- / Christian or Islamic {sigh}
    imho, the only difference in this case : is that the Kool-Aid you’ve drunk is Kosher :-/

  • readytoblowagasket

    Gonzo said: “this is the most fun-est part”
    So I guessed right.
    But I have to say, the fun is limited, if it can even be called fun in the end. Certainly it’s boring and tedious. A Pavlovian chain-reaction response, as you know. And you risk getting invited to bar mitzvahs.

  • Lisa

    “…insensitive and irrational but it is also highly anti-Semitic”
    ‘this is the most fun-est part of criticizing anything having to do with a genuine Theocractic State : whatever is said anti-israel is boiled down to anti-semitic semantics.’
    Actually, it was your insensitive comparisions between the death of 6 million Jews because they were Jews and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Criticize Israel’s government all you want but when you criticize its existance, you are saying only the Jews (who are both religion and race unlike any other group that I am aware of) deserve to be without a homeland and that sir, is anti-Semitic.

  • readytoblowagasket

    Lisa: HE’S JERKING YOUR CHAIN. AND YOU FALL FOR IT EVERY TIME.

  • http://stophernow.blogspot.com jami

    the wall is not a long-term solution. if los angeles was constantly being hit by suicide bombers from mexico, it would be retarded not to keep unknown mexicans the hell out until the bombings stopped, even if that meant building a fence. it would also be retarded to randomly bomb mexico, but it seems like israel has finally stopped doing that to palestinians.
    you can be pro-palestine and pro-israel if you realize that the majority on both sides just want the violence to stop.

  • electra

    ummabdulla:
    “Electra, there is no nationwide rule in Saudi that women have to wear abayas. I read that line in every article about Saudi women, but sorry, it’s simply not true. Have you ever been to the Dammam/Dhahran/Khobar area? You can see women without hijabs and without abayas, out at the mall or wherever.”
    I have been to the Dammam/Dharan/Khobar area – many times. I lived in Saudi Arabia in the late 90’s – taught English. I never in all my time there – and I travelled around quite alot – saw one single woman without an Abaya. In fact, if the Abaya was not long enough, or if a woman looked like an Arab woman, the Matawa (the Religious Police) would arrest you for not covering her face – including her eyes. Before the 1st Gulf War in the early 90’s – Christian women were supposedly exempt as long as they wore long baggy clothing. I have red hair and blue eyes, and at the end of my stay – I was regularly being hit (tapped) with the Matawa’s sticks you yelled at me in English “woman, cover your hair.” When American service women wore “civies” to the malls (while I was there from 96- early 98) they ALWAYS wore abayas. I believe it was military policy – also a safety measure since all women, western or otherwise always wore the abaya and it would’ve been dangerous for them to stand out.
    I don’t have a problem with men wearing yamulkas in Israel at religious events, such as a memorial service. Likewise, I have no problem covering my head to enter a mosque, which I have done many time in many countries as a sign of respect. But it is shameful that a woman diplomat (this only has happened in Saudi Arabia as far as I know) must conform to a dress code – i.e., wear an Abaya. On a similar note, Saudi men cannot wear western style business suits while they are in the kingdom and NEVER do. Yet it is not expected that male diplomats wear a thobe – the long white gown that Saudi men wear.

  • ummabdulla

    You must have been in another city, electra, because I never went to that area (and I’ve been there 10-15 times, including those years between ‘96 and ‘98) without seeing Western women at Al-Rashid Mall, for example, or Tamimi supermarket, wearing jeans with no hijab and no abaya. And I never saw religious police in that area.
    I remember coming back from Makkah one time, standing in the airport in Jeddah, and there was an Arab woman checking in who was wearing a -red, Western style suit with a knee-length skirt, and no hijab. (And there are tons of police in the airport.) I was shocked, but my husband told me that wasn’t so unusual around Jeddah.
    I’ll leave it at that, because people can either believe you or me, but I certainly know what’s the reality.

  • ummabdulla

    By the way, electra, do you have a link where I can see Madeleine Albright wearing an abaya in Saudi? I don’t remember that, and I’d like to see it if it really happened.

  • electra

    ummabdulla, I don’t have a link because I saw it on the frontpage of the english language edition of “The Riyahd Daily” during the summer of 1997.
    There is one place you will see lots of women in malls and shopping centers in western dress and that is in the special compounds built to house western workers. In eastern SA, they can be huge – like little cities (with movie theaters, swimming pools and shopping centers) and they are off limits to the matawa. But leave them and ALL women wear the abaya at all times. And you know it when a henna bearded matawa goes after you with a stick.

  • electra

    ummabdulla, your husband is right about Jeddah. It is “looser”. Saudi women can leave the house without covering their eyes (though they must were the abaya, the head scarf and cover the rest of their face) – which they HATE beause it is very hard to see well through the black veil. In the airport you will see Saudi women in western garb, but that is it. But when you fly into Riyadh, the women are completely veiled by the time the plane lands.
    I worked with Saudi women as a private tutor and teacher on a daily basis. I really do know what I am talking about here.

  • ummabdulla

    Electra: “On a similar note, Saudi men cannot wear western style business suits while they are in the kingdom and NEVER do.”
    So what? That’s their national dress, and they normally wear it in the Gulf, and normally don’t wear it outside the Gulf. Are you going to tell me there’s a law about that, too? And Western men wearing those would actually be offensive. But Western men do refrain from wearing shorts in public in Saudi.
    Dressing modestly is not about wearing a country’s national dress; it’s about respecting the culture and covering parts of the body that Muslims believe should be covered.
    To everyone else, I apologize for going off on this tangent. I just get so sick of seeing the same old false stereotypes over and over again…

  • electra

    Also ummabdulla, there are 2 catagories of police in SA. The civil police who wear police uniforms and the matawa, whose only mission is to enforce the tenets of Islam. For example, they will go through a neighborhood at prayer time and make sure all the men show up at the local mosques (which women are never allowed to enter) at the 5 prayer times, make sure that stores close down, to make sure that women are properly “covered” or not in the company with an improper man etc, etc. The matawa are not allowed in airports, hotels, or the walled compounds in which most foreign workers live. They are also not allowed into the Diplomatic quarters which house all the foreign embassies and residences. But step out onto the ‘real’ streest and they are everywhere. In cities like Riyadh, the compounds are much smaller and people must leave them to go shopping. Saudi women told me that Makkah and Medina are the only cities where Muslim women are not required to cover their faces at all times, likely because of the huge number of pilgrims from countries where it is not customary for women to cover to such an extreme degree. I wouldn’t know since as a non-Muslim, I would not have been allowed into either city.

  • electra

    Actually yes,ummabdulla, I am saying that it is against the law for a Saudi man to dress in a western style suit in Saudi Arabia. That said, I wouldn’t think they would want to wear one since becuause of the climate, the thobe make a hell of a lot more since. Temps easily reach 110 – 120 degrees F. during the summer….
    And no, western men do not wear shorts on the streets. They would get arrested if they did!

  • momly

    When I first saw the top picture, I thought, “Wow, Hilary has nice hair.”
    Then I thought, ” The woman next to her looks skeptical.”
    Then I thought, “Is the empty seat next to Sharon for Elijah?”
    Then I thought, “Condi looks squished between those two guys.”
    Then I thought, “Clinton is going bald in a strange way.” Then I realized he’s wearing a yarmulke.
    My two (X 5) cents.

  • ummabdulla

    electra, I’ve never been on a compound or in a diplomatic mission in Saudi. Al-Rashid Mall and Tamimi supermarkets are regular places out in public.
    I’ve lived in Kuwait for 14 years. I came as a non-Muslim to work, ended up becoming Muslim and eventually getting married here. For the first few years, I worked in a government ministry (with Kuwaitis) and lived in a normal apartment (no compounds), and had Kuwaiti friends, but after I became Muslim, it opened up a whole other depth of understanding, and after I married into a Kuwaiti family, even more.
    When I go to Saudi, I don’t go as an American who comes for the tax-free salary, lives on a compound, has disdain for the people, and only runs into Saudis who are trying to be like Westerners.
    I’ve been in various parts of Saudi, and the bit about women having to cover their faces everywhere is not true, either. (You already said that Jeddah was looser.) In Abha, which is a very conservative area in the southwest (towards Yemen), my sister-in-law wore a hijab and button-down abaya, with no face cover. She’s Kuwaiti but half her family is Saudi, so there’s no reason the mutawwa wouldn’t think she was Saudi. We saw the mutawwa all the time there (unlike around Khobar), and they never paid any attention to her.
    Your information is secondhand and wrong. Almost all Saudi women cover their faces, but it’s not correct to assume that they’re all dying to uncover. And other Muslim women from other Arab countries, Asia, etc., typically don’t cover their faces in most areas, not just Makkah and Madinah.

  • ummabdulla

    By the way, I’ve prayed in mosques all over Saudi Arabia. Again, it’s simply not true that women aren’t allowed to enter the mosques.

  • jt in B.C.

    ummabdulla, your comments on stereotyping and related matters, I find informative and most valuable, they may not be as far off topic as you think, apologies are unnecessary for me.

  • nitro

    it’s the james baker, stupid…

  • gleex

    Hillary looks like a dork in that “wall” map photo-op. But then I guess there is no Palistinian voting block, and certainly not in a swing state.
    I think Hillary is ~ OK, but this is no better than the Bush photo op’s I have dissed. She does look pretty cool in the picture next to 42, Bubba – some of the best shades I have seen on a politician.
    I have never seen a picture of Condi that I like. She always seems mean, or condecending, or stern, or some negative thing. I think she over does the toughness, but perhaps thats just her, or her strategy. She is going to be in a pickle is she runs and finds that she has to soften her image late in the game. Actually to me the day I heard Condi was shopping for $2,000 shoes while New Orleans drowned I counted her out of the picture. Same was a Frist went down when his blind trust picked up a hammer (or stock tip) and saw.
    Sharon looks way to much like a fat pig. I wonder if he will go down in the new elections in Feb-March now that Labor is pulling out of his coalition.
    In that picture Condi is looking at someone across the room, perhaps because she is trying to make a point and no one is looking at her or talking to her at that moment. I wonder if she helped the border talks, or just hung around as long as it took to pick up a win. I have no idea, I hope for our sake that she did put a little extra into the negotiation.

  • readytoblowagasket

    Like jt in B.C., I thoroughly appreciate the hammering out of the complex information between ummabdulla and electra. Without their back-and-forth, the rest of us could not learn as much as we have. In fact, I’d like to connect the idea of stereotypes from their discussion to the photo of Hillary and Condi.
    When The BAG said, “but after five years of Bush testosterone, it seems refreshing to see female politicians grab a bigger share of the stage,” I’d wanted someone to say, “What ‘grab’?”
    Though both Condi and Hillary have plenty of “testosterone” on their own, they can’t “grab” any real power for themselves without lots of help from men. Hillary, appropriately, has Bill on her left; Condi, appropriately, has James Baker on her right (thank you, nitro, for finally mentioning him). Both of these men can open doors for these two ambitious women, and that’s, in fact, what these men are for. So it seems to me Condi and Hillary are not quite as “free” in reality as the stereotype of free Western women we apply to them. They must, as Gonzo said, “submerge their personal and professional dignity” to kiss ass.

  • http://www.wzbc.org Malooga

    Right, Condi is sitting next to James Baker, who was one of her mentors. This is interesting because Baker is allied with 41 and Condi with 43–and the two Bushes are reputed to not even be on speaking terms. I would like to be a fly on the wall for that conversation.
    *************************************
    the Jews (who are both religion and race unlike any other group that I am aware of)
    Lisa, would you please define your use of the medically and antropologically discredited term “race”, and explain how it applies to the Jews. Jews, due to intermarriage, take on the appearance of the surrounding populace within a few generations: Blonde, blue eyed Litvaks, and swarthy, hirsute Iraqi and Iranian Jews. Not to mention the black Falashas or Lembas. What exactly is a “race” and how is the “Jewish Race” so much more different from all others?
    Again, with your concept of “religion”: How is the “Jewish” religion unlike any other you are aware of? Is it closer to the animism practiced in parts of Africa, or the Hinduism of India, or perhaps the Buddhism, Toaism, and Shintoism of the Orient, or might one say, as many religious scholars have, that Judaism has more in common, as far as its roots and beliefs, to Islam? By the way, what exactly, besides monotheism, does the entirety of the Jewish religion, including Reconstructionists, Reforms, Renewalists, and Conservatives, believe in? And are these common beliefs unique to Judaism? Perhaps you do not accept these sects as Jewish, as a number of their Rabbis have claimed to be Atheists and Agnostics and do not believe in following the original 512 laws. Could you clarify for me your understanding of the beliefs that comprise the Jewish religion, and just, exactly, how they are unique and different.
    One thing I like about living in America is that Jews and Muslims are supposed to have equal rights to Christians. Too bad that is not true in Israel, where the Arabs do not have equal rights de jure, nor de facto, due to the same lack of funding that effectively kept Blacks in America from having equal rights for 100+ years.
    Anyway, you might want to look at a map of the wall and the steadily increasing land and population figures for the Jewish settlements in the West Bank. As Jimmy Carter said, the wall would be legal if it were built on the UN agreed upon border, not cutting off Palestinian towns and roadways. Also you, and anyone else who truly wanted to educate themselves, would do well to look at a detailed map of the West Bank check points, and also one of the scarce water resources which, by miraculous chance, happen to aggregate beneath the illeagal Israeli settlements. Or you could continue to perpetuate the myth that the Palestinians are different from us in that they engage in irrational violence, which we could never be accused of engaging in, as in Iraq.
    I look forward to your reply, as I wouldn’t want anyone to think after reading this post that you might be racist, or believe in a type of religious fundamentalism that espouses Jewish superiority in any form. There are many religions (Zoroastrianism, for example) that do not have their own states, and many ethnic groups (Native American Indian, for example) that do not have their own states. Are you proposing that the world have varying standards, with the Jews deserving of treatment that other human beings are not? Or perhaps you could shed just a little more clarity on your worldview and how you would accord the same treatment that you accord the Jews to other minorities in the world, and just how you would redraw the map of the globe to accomplish this.
    Hint: Before you say that the Jews are different because 50% of them were killed in WWII, I would like to remind you that by 1890, between 97-99% of Native Americans were killed, a far worse genocide in both actual, and relative, numbers.
    Hint II: Before you accuse me of anti-semitism, I should let you know that I am a practicing Jew, born Jewish, and a respected member of my congregation, where my views are of the mainstream.
    If I didn’t know better, I might think

  • fotonique

    Ummabdulla said:

    By the way, electra, do you have a link where I can see Madeleine Albright wearing an abaya in Saudi? I don’t remember that, and I’d like to see it if it really happened.

    Not to answer for electra, but apparently Albright did not wear an abaya in Saudi Arabia.
    In 2002, Congress passed the Abaya Suspension Bill, HR 4714 (press release here) in an effort to prevent American servicewomen from being required to wear abayas while stationed in Arabic countries. The bill was introduced by Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), who stated that Albright did not wear an abaya:

    …the [U.S.] State Department does not require or encourage any of its employees to wear the abaya. It does not require its employees to wear abayas while on duty precisely because they are representing the United States. Not even the spouses and dependents of the State Department staff wear the abayas, nor did Mrs. Cheney or former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during their visits to Saudi Arabia.

    During her 1999 audience with King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, Albright wore a fairly plain black dress with a blue scarf around her neck, but her head was uncovered. Some Iranian web sites have displayed obviously photoshopped images of Albright wearing an abaya.

  • ummabdulla

    OK, well I’m glad someone is getting something out of this. (And now you’ve got me started… lol)
    Here’s the thing: Saudi Arabia is a country full of regular people who work and go to school and have children and go to weddings and funerals, and buy groceries, etc. But most people talk about Saudis in stereotypes which portray women especially as a bunch of black lumps with no minds and no voices. Saudi has its problems (doesn’t every country?) and Saudi women have their problems (don’t women in every country?), but again, they’re not portrayed realistically.
    It’s like in Afghanistan – Afghanistan is a very poor country with many people (women and men) living in remote areas without access to health care, high rates of illiteracy (maybe higher for women, but still very high for men, too), etc. But when the Western media and feminist groups discovered Afghanistan, they only saw the burqa and decided that was the problem. In fact, women there have worn the burqa for a long time (long before the Taliban existed) and they’ll be wearing it for a long time to come. And if you asked them their problems (which no one much did – they only speak to certain secular groups who were actually Communist-based and had no support among regular people), they would talk about poverty, lack of educational and employment opportunities, poor health care, etc. Wearing a burqa or not wearing a burqa has no effect on this.
    Anyway, to get back to Saudi, the women’s basic concerns also include normal things like jobs and education. They’re not all yearning to wear shorts, and they resent the way they’re made fun of in the West. I don’t know if anyone heard about this, but some months ago, Oprah did a show featuring information about various countries in the world, and there was touristy information for other countries, but when she got to the segment in Saudi, it featured a woman who had been beaten by her husband, and she said something like “Thank God I was born in America!”. (Conveniently forgetting that she had a horrible childhood in American, during which she was sexually abused from the ages of 9 to 14 and delivered a baby as a result, who died at birth.)
    Well, Oprah is shown on an Arabic satellite station, and actually she was quite popular among the women here. They were absolutely furious whe they saw that show! There was a flurry of blog posts and letters to the editors and it was a huge topic of discussion among Saudi and other Arab women.
    I mean, these women are not deaf and dumb, not people to be pitied by their Western sisters. Most of what’s written about them is incredibly condescending and arrogant, even though many of the writers have good intentions in their own minds.
    Electra certainly has the right to write about her own experiences, but not to pretend that her assumptions are fact and that she understands Saudi because she occasionally ventured off the compound (where women are swimming in bikinis and there are illegal pubs operating) to buy something.
    Western reporters that come to these countries usually check into their 5-star hotels and have a series of interviews with a certain sector of the population which inevitably consists of what they refer to as “intellectuals” or “elites” (secular liberals) – which implies that anyone who doesn’t agree with them (i.e., religious people) are some kind of uneducated, ignorant underclass. These are the people who were educated in the West and speak English fluently, and who have contacts with these reporters, and who say the things they want to hear. They are not at all representative and are often seen as laughingstocks among the actual population.
    In the runup to the Iranian elections, for example, all of the Western media was interviewing these rich, Western wannabe Iranians in north Tehran – the women who have nose jobs and tons of makeup and have their bleached hair sticking out from their scarves and drink and have loud parties – and they were all sure that the reformists were going to win, because these people were against the religious leaders and wanted their freedoms, etc. And from out of nowhere came this Ahmedinejad, and the reformists didn’t even make the runoff. Because those people are actually a very small group, but they got all the attention.
    OK, I know I’m wound up, but one more example… when I was young (during the Cold War), all we saw of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe was grey and unsmiling and just generally miserable. When the Soviet Union broke up, all the sudden the TV was showing all these young, beautiful Russian women and pretty scenery and Ithough, “Where did all this come from?” As if they hadn’t existed before, and all women were created as 60-year old grandmothers.
    When I came to Kuwait, people talked about having gone to Czechoslavakia and various Eastern European coutries for vacation or for spas and pyhsical therapy, etc., and I thought, “Who would want to go to those ugly, miserable places?” And once I was visiting with a friend who was a travel agent, and I saw this brochure with beautiful green landscapes and castles, and I was amazed to see that it was Bulgaria or Romania or something, because in my mind, these countries were full of unhappy people in grey apartment blocks under grey, overcast skies.
    And the same thing happened with the Soviet portrayal of America. It consisted of documentaries about the poor and the slums and high crime areas, etc. All of this – on both sides – may have been factually accurate, but it certainly didn’t give an accurate picture overall. And that’s what we usually get with coverage of the Middle East and the Muslim world (although much of it is not even factually accurate to begin with).
    So if people are just aware of this and question what they see and hear about this region, then I’ll be happy. And I guess that does sort of tie in with the point of this blog, doesn’t it?

  • ummabdulla

    Thanks, fotonique. That’s what I thought, too.

  • electra

    As I said, I lived in Saudi Arabia in the late 90’s and can only speak from my own experience.
    #1 – I did not live in a ex-pat compound in Saudi. On and off over the past 30 years, I have lived in a number of places around the world (including Iran in the 70’s) and I avoid american compounds like the plague. I shared a house in a normal neighborhood in Riyadh with a married couple who were old friends from another part of the world. It was a rather dicey arrangement, but the husband was sponsored by one of the Sudeiri Seven, so I was able to pull it off.
    #2 – Someone claimed M Albright’s photo with King Fahd was photoshoped. Well, that would not surprise me, but in 97 photoshop was not something we were all aware of. I have a clear memory of the outrage the photo evoked amongst ex-pat women – there was a fair amount of buzz about it. On the other hand, to have the King sitting in an equal position with a female foreign diplomat was not something the more extreme elements of the population would look kindly on so perhaps the photoshop (if that is true) was a creative solution to the dilemna.
    #3 – I was not aware of the bill passed in 2002 regarding abayas and US servicewomen. When I was there in 97, they *had* to wear them. It wouldn’t have been an issue if there weren’t US bases in SA. I (and many many other americans living in SA) thought that the decision to put permanent bases in SA was one of the stupidest things ever done by the US (right up there with US policy in Israel) and well, the rest is history …
    #4 – It is true that Saudi women to not want to wear shorts in public. But many would like to have more freedom than they do. I taught english to middle class (their fathers were generally mid-level officials in various Saudi ministries or university professors). They did not hold back from expressing their opinions – they were well educated and HATED the restrictions imposed upon them, particularly with regard to mobility. If you are not wealthy enough to be able to hire a full time driver, getting around can be a major hassle. As a western woman, I had the option of taking taxis, unaccompanied. Saudi women do not generally have that option, at least not in Riyadh. I had one student who along with her mother and sister began an exercise regime of daily walks (mother had a pre-diabetic condition that she was trying to deal with) – after a few weeks they were picked up by the matawa and charged with prostitution. Her father was able to get them out of jail within a day by pulling some strings at the ministry of the interior where he worked, but the walks were over.
    #5 – Most western workers in SA never set foot inside a Saudi household, particularly men. Because I was able to work as a private tutor, I went to my students and was able to interact with a fairly interesting cross-section of Saudi women who were as curious about me as I was of them. I was never an “insider” though, and I would never pretend to be.

  • electra

    I just looked at the photoshopped images of M Albright. That is NOT the picture I saw on the front page of the Riyadh Daily in 97. That photo showed Albright sitting next to the King with the Abaya over her shoulders and her hair uncovered.
    A clarification: an abaya is not a head covering, it is a loose black coat or cloak (there are all sorts of styles and fashions) which is worn over a woman’s clothes and covers her from ankles to wrists to neck. Over that is worn a long veil which covers the head and the face. It is usually in two peices. So when I say that western women had to wear the abaya, I am talking about the long black cloak.
    During the last 6 months of my stay in SA, I also wore a head scarf which covered my hair, (as increaslingly many other western women began to do as well) becuase it the harrasment by the mutawa was simply becoming too unpleasant. As a non-Muslim, technically, I should not have had to wear either the abaya or a head scarf (as was the case up until about the time of the 1st Gulf War), but the wahabbis were on a real rampage. The continued presence of the US bases was incredibly inflmatory, and should never have been built.
    To put some of this into perspective, about 1/4 of the population of SA are foreign nationals. North Americans and Europeans make up a relatively small porportion. Most foreign workers are low-paid laborers and mid-range technology workers (computers etc) from Asia and Africa.

  • Falling Leaves

    Fascinating series.
    I am struck by the similar expressions and proximity to powerful men shared by the two women, who are both Scorpios.

  • Lisa

    Malooga,
    There is much to criticize about Isreali society and government; certainly it is legitimate to do so.
    Let’s take a look at racism in Israeli society. Here is one simple example: I went to the movies with an Arab friend. During intermission, we saw a woman wearing a rather unique and lovely skirt and commented on it to each other. Her boyfriend flipped out demanding to know what we were saying and I explained how much we admired the skirt but he was still very angry and suspicious and was eventually pulled away by the woman in the skirt. Is this a minor example of a much larger problem? Yes. Is racism despicable? Yes. Could this have easily happened had I been with a black woman in parts of the U.S? Absolutely.
    On the other hand, Arabic is a national language in Israel; signs and money are all in Arabic. There are four school systems: secular, religious, Arab and private. (And yes, I know how odd this sounds to Americans; the main distinction between the Arab and secular schools as I understand it is the secular schools teach in Hebrew and the Arabic schools teach in Arabic though students in both systems learn both languages.) Arab children have the right to attend school in the school system of their parent’s choice just like Jewish or Christian children. Arab teachers can and do teach outside the Arab system. Arabs can join the army though many choose not to; unfortunately, anyone who does not serve in the army (without a clear, obvious reason like being in a wheelchair) tends to experience discrimination in looking for a job as military service is highly respected.
    There are some funding issues with the Israeli government. The ultra-orthodox receive a much higher amount of public funds than any other group despite their relatively small size. Part of that is the historical facts of the country. Israel was formed shortly after the Holocaust and a large percentage of European Jews who had studied Torah had been killed. Religious study was heavily financed to help replace those lost; unfortunately, due to the way the MKs are elected, this minority tends to be the final group to make the government and therefore have an disproportional amount of power.
    How about the fence? I am deeply disturbed by the label many have applied to it… the apartheid wall. If you disagree with the boundaries, fine. I would be happy to discuss that with you but the wall is unfortunately a necessity. Even more importantly, when Palestinians have filed suit against the government, the Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that the route should be modified to cause as little impact as possible and the route was changed but the court recognized the right of the state to protect its citizens.
    But so many who criticize Israel, criticize its existence which is anti-Semitic. Policy is always open to debate.

  • readytoblowagasket

    Lisa: Actually, your definition of anti-Semitism is open to debate.

  • jt from B.C.

    lisa, I have been following with keen interest your interaction with Malooga. I was particularly looking forward to your respond to questions she raised in her first two paragraphs. Did you overlook these in your last posting.?
    Perhaps you or Malooga might wish to comment on the following:
    The son of famous Jewish violinist Yehudi Menuhin lost his job in Germany. He reportedly referred to “an international lobby of influential people and associations that put Germans under pressure for their own purposes.”He said Germans are under “endless blackmail” because of the Holocaust, and that “a people that allows itself to be intimidated 60 years after the end of the war with the events of that time is not healthy.”
    How many future generations of Germans should be reminded of this act of barbarism.
    Should modern day Spaniards be obliged to remember the Conquistadors and their extermination practises on October 23 (for events that occurred 513 years ago) when Columbus discover the ‘New World’…..
    I could have include many other Empires, but I just picked this one out a hat as a hypothetical example.
    I am not a Jew thus vulnerable to be labelled anti-semitic, my father was killed fighting in Germany so its unlikely I’m a fascist.

  • mad

    The photo of Madeleine Albright on the “The Iranian” website that fotonique linked to…… it’s an April Fool’s Joke. She looks like a ghost.

  • Lisa

    JT,
    Germans should not be held hostage to their past, no more than Americans should be held hostage to our horrendous treatment of Native Americans in this country (even they hold soveriegnty over their land). However, neither should either people forget what was done in the past. Nor should we be allowed to bury our heads in the sand about what we are doing in Iraq; it is shameful.
    But unlike either case, Israelis by the nature of their required severice understand deeply what is being done in the name of their security. Like any democratic society, there are those who disagree and those who agree. Most Israelis that I know would happily leave the West Bank as they left Gaza; they do not like the settlers who recieve an enormous amount of resources per person. At the same time, security is all important; guards stand at the gates of schools, at malls, at the Post Office and even at grocery stores and restaurants.
    What I am about to say is not to lay guilt on any group but so that those who are not familiar with Israel to understand it a little better. The Jewish people (and they are a people, not just a religion) faced extermination not just at the hands of the Nazis but at the hands of many across centuries. There is an undercurrent in Israel that it is the last sanctuary for the Jews and that without it, the Jewish people could be exterminated. At the same time, Israel since its formal birth in 48 has faced existential threat after existential threat. They have taken many chances in an attempt to gain peace. With the exception perhaps for Jerusalem, they would have returned the West Bank to Jordan and Gaza to Egypt happily in exchange for peace. They have traded the Sinai for peace with Egypt, they have made peace with Jordan. Every time they have balanced their fear of the loss of Israel and the possible loss of the Jewish people with their hope (Speaking of hope, the Israeli national anthem, “Ha Tikva” or the Hope is lovely.)
    I will leave you with two quotes.
    “A world that closed its doors to Jews who sought escape from Hitler’s ovens lacks the moral standing to complain about Israel’s giving preference to Jews,” Alan Dershowitz.
    “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism.” Martin Luther King

  • readytoblowagasket

    Lisa: Please. That you quote Dr. Martin Luther Ling Jr. in the same post as your sympathetic comment about Israeli military service is appalling and, to my mind, disturbing. Despite the violence and harrassment King witnessed and endured while he was still alive, he maintained his conviction that NONVIOLENT civil disobedience was the way to fight social injustice, racial inequality, and segregation. You have so far expressed the complete opposite belief: that violence and separation are necessary for “protection” of one “people” from other “peoples” (in this case the protection of Jews because of their special historical circumstances), and that their defensive violence is justified. You can admire King all you want, but HE certainly would not agree with your solutions nor would he agree with most of your one-sided (dare I say “racist”) tenets.

  • jt from B.C.

    lisa,
    I could have a field day with the Dershowitz and King quotes but I find that the HNN blog is better suited for in depth discussion of Alan Dershowitz work. History Professors and Colleagues peer review each others articles in a somewhat intense no holds barred academic manner. If history interests you that’s a site to visit.
    Rather than end with quotes I offer these:
    “There is no such thing as Palestinians, they never existed” Golda Maier, Israel Prime Minister, June 15 1969
    “The thesis that the danger of genocide was hanging over us in June 1967 and that Israel was fighting for its physical existence is only a bluff, which was born and developed after the war” Israel General Matityahu Peled, 19 March 1972,
    I could offer contemporary quotes from Ariel Sharon and Rabbi Yaacov Perrinare but I will pass as they denote excessive greed or extreme racism.
    I wonder what Dr. King would make of Prof Merkleys remark. Would he understand and support the political and religious beliefs which the Christian Zionists are pursing in America and in Israel. Would he see such efforts as helpful toward finding a peaceful solution?
    According to Prof. Charles Merkley from Carleton University, Christian Zionism strengthened significantly after the 1967 Six Day War, and many Dispensationalist Christians, especially in the United States, now strongly support Jewish Zionism. Today, Christian Zionists greatly outnumber Jewish Zionists. [1]. Wikipedia
    And might this article in a MSM publication in 2004 give Dr. King pause
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0707/p15s01-lire.html
    With regards to That Monstrous Wall I guess objectivity is determined by, on which side of it you stand. Was it that recently deceased but highly distinguished Professor of Middle East Studies at Harvard Dr. Said who said “That Palestinians were victims of victims.”
    Hopefully neither of us is a racist, but simply challenged to do more homework in broadening our individual understanding of the history of this region.

  • Lisa

    Ready to blow a gasket: ” You have so far expressed the complete opposite belief: that violence and separation are necessary for “protection” of one “people” from other “peoples” (in this case the protection of Jews because of their special historical circumstances)”
    Actually, they deserve protection because the violence is not a cycle of violance but one sided violence, Palestinians. The PA since its inception has absolutely refused to police its people and to stop terrorism. Before the Intifadas, the borders were open and the two peoples were not seperated by fences. Israelis shopped in Gaza and the West Bank, ate in their restaurants. Palestinians worked in Israel, shopped in Israel. It is not their ’special historical circumstance’ that gives them the right to protect themselves and to seperate themselves from those who want to push them into the sea.
    When the Palestinians once again value the lives of their children more than the deaths of Jews (and if you think that is just a stereotype, you need to go to MEMRI. They teach their children songs about killing Jews at school and on the media), there will be peace again.

  • Lisa

    “”There is no such thing as Palestinians, they never existed” Golda Maier, Israel Prime Minister, June 15 1969″
    There is that school of though. Palestine has never been an independent country; Jordan was partitioned from the same land and meant to be the homeland of the Arab populations. West Bank Palestinians were Jordanian citizens for years. I am not sure I agree with that school of thought and I am not sure it is relevant.
    Even if there were never Palestinians before, there clearly are now. They deserve their homeland and I hope they will achieve it but let’s be honest, they don’t seem ready. Millions of dollars of international aid have been embezzled by Palestinian leaders. They refuse to disarm the terrorists; I think this is mostly because the political parties are offshoots of the terrorist groups (our guns are for use on Israel only). They claim a ceasefire and yet continue daily attempts to attack Israel. Israel left Gaza and Israel is leaving the border control so that Palestinians will have control of their border with Egypt Yet, has anything changed within Palestinian society?
    The IDF is not perfect. They make mistakes and innocent people are hurt. However, they do not intentionally target the innocent and when they do make a mistake, there are hearings and trials.
    “The thesis that the danger of genocide was hanging over us in June 1967 and that Israel was fighting for its physical existence is only a bluff, which was born and developed after the war” Israel General Matityahu Peled, 19 March 1972″
    There is a constant under-current in Israel of an existential threat. Gas masks, emergency shelters for large buildings and neighborhoods, bomb blast doors on school windows. This is not propaganda. It was not all that long ago that missiles flew into Israel (Gulf War I). Just last month, Iran made his outrageous claim.
    “According to Prof. Charles Merkley from Carleton University, Christian Zionism strengthened significantly after the 1967 Six Day War, and many Dispensationalist Christians, especially in the United States, now strongly support Jewish Zionism. Today, Christian Zionists greatly outnumber Jewish Zionists. [1]. Wikipedia”
    Wikipedia? Interesting; I am not sure I would use them as a source as they are open to editing by anyone. There are nuts out there; some seem to think that then end of the world will come because of Israel. These same kind of nuts are also behind the settlements. Did you know many (and usually the most extreme) settlers are Americans? I have had no interaction with settlers myself but those Israelis I do know have described them as rude, crazy and dangerous. They should go.
    “With regards to That Monstrous Wall I guess objectivity is determined by, on which side of it you stand. Was it that recently deceased but highly distinguished Professor of Middle East Studies at Harvard Dr. Said who said “That Palestinians were victims of victims.”"
    I would have said that those Palestinians who are victimized by the wall are also victims of their own people. I think the way that terrorist groups hide behind children and indoctrinate them is child abuse. However, unlike the Israelis who have no court to redress their greviences with the Palestinians, the Palestinians can and have successfully petitioned the Isreali courts to change the fence’s route. The fence is a passive defense must less likely to cause death than soldiers protecting the border and Israel has the right to protect her border like any other country. I would like it closer to the green line in places and the route is open to debate but the fence is necessary right now and frankly, it much kinder to the Palestinians than any other military solution would be. It has saved many lives on both sides.
    “Hopefully neither of us is a racist, but simply challenged to do more homework in broadening our individual understanding of the history of this region.”
    If I haven’t made myself clear, let me reiterate. Palestinians deserve their homeland. Israelis deserve security. I think the Israelis have done more towards a mutual peace than the Palestinians. I don’t think we are ready for a political solution. Israel has left Gaza, Israel is removing itself from border control between Israel and Gaza, Israel is allowing Gazan produce to be sold in Israel to help their economy despite knowing some bombs will get through with the trucks. Israel has offered a state to the Palestinians before and Israel allowed the creation of the Palestinian Authority. Israel has long been willing to give up this land in exchange for peace.
    What have the Palestinians done? The various cease fires have been in name only; attacks and arms smuggling continued and still do today. Terrorist groups have not been disbanded; security forces have said that they will not try. They need to stop the bombs. It is not too much to ask of them. (Frankly, I think it is bigotry to assume it is too much for the Palestinians to police themselves as if somehow they are lesser people than we are. )
    My deepest fear is that once Hamas has control of the Palestinian government (and this is a strong possibility), they will still continue to fire rockets into Israel. What will happen then with the ruling party is attacking Israel? Is it still a terrorist attack or an act of war?
    My greatest hope (and it is the hope of the Israelis I know) is that the Palestinians will set aside their bombs and guns; that borders can be drawn on paper and that in five years time, there is no need for the fence.
    My expectation is that the bombs will continue and Israel will decide to set its own borders unilaterally. I do not think that will help the Palestinians in any way; they won’t be happy with the borders and they won’t be happy with their poor government but they will have a country.

  • readytoblowagasket

    Lisa: Yes, I think I already fully understand your point of view, and I would rather not discuss it unless you are able to have anything other than a knee-jerk reaction to the topic.
    If you are going to quote Martin Luther King Jr., however, you should know that while he acknowledged and condemned the historical record of discrimination and violence against Jews, and equated their experience to the experience of American blacks, he would be energetically CRITICAL of Ariel Sharon and would not condone retaliatory violence by the Israeli government today. It’s important to understand that point about King, and you would do well to pay him that respect at least.
    He believed — as many believe — that peace is not an end goal alone (or, as you have said, “there will be peace again”); peace can only exist when the means to achieve it are peaceful. In other words, when both sides lay down their arms. No ifs, ands, or buts.
    King said it thus: “One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means.”
    A simpler way of saying it: “There is no way to peace; peace is the way.” — A.J. Muste
    So, when are you going to lay down your arms?

  • jt from B.C.

    Lisa
    I have closely followed the cherry picking of MEMI in particular..you contribution to Wikipedia might advance the knowledge base there..your information would be welcomed and scrutinized, as you may know caveats are placed on the reliabilty or authenticity of submissions unlike MEMI where no buyer beware notices are offered ..but I will stop here for
    I am familiar with your position and arguments, I feel little purposes is to be gained in carrying on this discussion for either of us.
    “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?” Mahatma Gandhi
    (words such as a National Homeland, State Terrorism or Suicide Bombers are but a few terms which could be easily substituted in this quote)
    Shalom

  • http://orwellsgrave.blogspot.com Stephen McArthur

    Let’s not forget, however, that sitting next to Condi is that multitasking, Republican pitbull, James Baker, who led the Bush team in 2000 that bullied its way into the White House. The contrast between Bill Clinton, who looks deflated, and James Baker is, by far, the more interesting element in the photo. Doesn’t Hillary always look that way next to Bill, almost as if she wished he wasn’t there?

  • http://www.la-mancha.net Ian Welsh

    So the Jews deserve a homeland eh? I guess everyone deserves one then? Or are you saying that the Jews are better than other people? Let’s assume not. I guess you’ll be giving each of the Indian nations a homeland, as the Basques should certainly get one, and the Kurds, and the…. well, hundreds of ethnic groups that don’t have one.
    The Zionists walked into another people home and took it from them with violence and terrorism. The UN resolution that created Israel was opposed by every Arab nation in existence at the time, but they still put it down.
    Israel is a colonial nation. Nothing any more wrong with that than the creation of, oh the US or Canada, but it’s tiresome to see people pretend that Israel’s existence is based on anything more than violence and western guilt.
    If you think the holocaust entitled Jews to a nation, then you should have taken it from Germany – not a bunch of uninvolved Palestinians, just because your holy books talk about it as being your land over two thousand years ago.
    That said, now that Israel exists, I support its right to continue existing. I don’t support its right to continue to keep most of its populations in bantustants and to deny them the right to vote however.
    But the problem will solve itself. Eventually, just as South African Apartheid fell, so will Israels. By being unwilling to give the Palestinians independence in a viable state, the Jewish state of Israel has doomed itself. There may be an Israel in 50 years, but it won’t be a Jewish state, it’ll be a democratic one where the majority of citizens aren’t Jewish. Or it won’t exist at all.
    That’s not what I want – but it is the path Israelis have chosen for themselves. So be it. The world has bigger problems than the struggles of a colonial state to keep almost half its population subjugated.

  • http://bagnewsnotes.typepad.com/bagnews/2005/11/left_is_right_a.html#comment-11427301 BrickSykes

    Why is James A. Baker III sitting beside Condi? Looking for pointers or keeping his foot in?

  • Bajram Azizi

    People of Kosovo will never forget Albright , she will be in history of kosovo forever ,of course like a person who helped to stop the war in Kosovo and like a person who is pro Independent for Kosovo.

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