Comments: Yeeouch

Also, of course, De Gaulle *did* put it in the plural (paix des braves).

Knowing this would require the ability to speak French, which is to neocons what spectacles were to the Khmer Rouge.

Posted by Alex at March 22, 2007 09:29 AM

Power also turns some people into self-enriching thieves. Read "How Arafat Destroyed Palestine" in the September 2005 issue of the Atlantic Monthly.

Posted by donescobar at March 22, 2007 12:10 PM

Perhaps someday the Atlantic will run a story on the financial antics of the Sharon family.

Posted by William Burns at March 22, 2007 02:07 PM

Knowing this would require the ability to speak French, which is to neocons what spectacles were to the Khmer Rouge.

Sweet mother of Jesus, there's a lot of history and nuance packed into that little sentence.

Well played, sir.

Posted by patrick at March 22, 2007 02:43 PM

William Burns

Fine with me, but you're not comparing the effect of Arafat's thievery on Palestine with the Sharon antics on Israel, are you?
Then again, compare away. When it comes to Israel, anything goes with the Israel haters; when it comes to Palestine/Arabs, anything goes with the Arab haters. (Look at Counterpunch for the former, Little Green Football for the latter.)

Posted by donescobar at March 22, 2007 03:08 PM

Alex,

I didn't know that -- thanks for pointing that out. Maybe it's plural in the language(s) Morris & Barak heard it, too.

donescobar,

The usefulness of that article can be judged by the opening paragraph:

The war for Jerusalem that began after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's failed peace offer at Camp David in the summer of 2000 has become the subject of legends and fables, each one of which is colored in the distinctive shades of the political spectrum from which it emerged: Yasir Arafat tried to control the violence. Arafat was behind the violence. Arafat was the target of the violence, which he deflected onto the Israelis. Depending on which day of the week it was, any combination of these statements might have been true.

How interesting that "the violence" came only and always from the Palestinians. I wonder how thousands of them ended up so dead? So sad, particularly after that wonderful peace offer from Barak.

William Burns,

I think we can look forward to that as soon as 2450.

In any case, articles like one in Atlantic about the thievery of the PA miss the point, on purpose. Israel assumed Arafat & co. would play the role of Palestine's comprador class. They would get all kinds of privileges and a little bit of power in return for running things for Israel. They were seen as far preferable to the leadership that had emerged during the first intifada and hadn't been in exile for decades. And indeed the PA did seem willing to just rip off and beat up regular Palestines...for a while. But then Arafat stopped taking orders quite as well, and so you started getting these kinds of stories. But this kind of stuff was known on all sides all along.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at March 22, 2007 03:08 PM

William Burns

Fine with me, but you're not comparing the effect of Arafat's thievery on Palestine with the Sharon antics on Israel, are you?
Then again, compare away. When it comes to Israel, anything goes with the Israel haters; when it comes to Palestine/Arabs, anything goes with the Arab haters. (Look at Counterpunch for the former, Little Green Footballs for the latter.)

Posted by donescobar at March 22, 2007 03:09 PM

For me, the usefulness of the article was in the facts and figures after the opening paragraph. But usefulness, too, is in the eye of the beholder.

Posted by donescobar at March 22, 2007 03:15 PM
But usefulness, too, is in the eye of the beholder.

Right. And the usefulness for the Atlantic of the piece is exactly the usefulness that the Bush administration found in all the stories weeping bitter tears about Saddam Hussein Gassing His Own People (uh, fifteen years after it happened...with our support). Everything accurate in the Atlantic article was well known to anyone who cared to be aware of such things a decade before it was written. But it wasn't written then, just as all the weepy stories about Saddam weren't written when it was actually happening. It wasn't useful then.

In addition the opening paragraphs, I also enjoyed this:

For the diplomats of the European Union, whose dream of creating a new kind of political organization that would rival the United States for global influence was burdened by the historical guilt of colonialism and the Holocaust, the image of the Jew as oppressor that Arafat offered the world was both novel and liberating; the State of Israel would become the Other of a utopian new world order that would be cleansed of destructive national, religious, and particularistic passions.

Someone please make this guy read "Politics and the English Language."

Then there's this:

Nofal first heard Arafat give orders that led directly to violence, he says, before the riots that erupted over the excavation of the Hasmonean tunnel, near the Haram al-Sharif, in 1996.

"Orders that led directly to violence." Gee, I'm glad the article doesn't actually say who committed the violence and who ended up dead. We're all far better off not filling our heads with such irrelevant information. The important thing is that the violence was due to Arafat's "orders."

Also good is the speculation that Arafat died of AIDS and the description of him as a "white-bearded lunatic."

I just hope the Atlantic finds space to tell me more about how our Official Enemies are bad people and we have no responsibility for anything. It really makes me feel good!

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at March 22, 2007 05:13 PM

When you said
"It takes a special kind of historian and politician to be unaware of a well-known historical, political reference—and then build, upon this"

I was reminded of Orwell's essay "Notes on Nationalism":

"The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them. For quite six years the English admirers of Hitler contrived not to learn of the existence of Dachau and Buchenwald. And those who are loudest in denouncing the German concentration camps are often quite unaware, or only very dimly aware, that there are also concentration camps in Russia."

http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/nationalism/english/e_nat

It's a great essay, well worth reading.

Posted by me at March 22, 2007 05:53 PM

When you said
"It takes a special kind of historian and politician to be unaware of a well-known historical, political reference—and then build, upon this"

I was reminded of Orwell's essay "Notes on Nationalism":

"The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them. For quite six years the English admirers of Hitler contrived not to learn of the existence of Dachau and Buchenwald. And those who are loudest in denouncing the German concentration camps are often quite unaware, or only very dimly aware, that there are also concentration camps in Russia."

http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/nationalism/english/e_nat

It's a great essay, well worth reading.

Posted by me at March 22, 2007 05:54 PM

"...the image of the Jew as oppressor that Arafat offered the world was both novel and liberating..."
Gosh golly, folks, isn't that the lifeblood of the Left by now? Without that image, what--sad to say--does the Left offer us? Unable to talk to the former working class "heroes," no union icons, no socialist leaders in the USA, somebody or something to hate. An oppressor. And, by dingo and by bingo, we done found him. The old victim of Hitler and Stalin turns out to be--by gum--just like everybody else in the ole developed world. Let's throw them tomatoes.
Please. Please. Tell me there's more. A program? A vision? The "decent Left" Michale Walzer of Dissent Magazine hoped to rediscover. Anybody out there?

Posted by donescobar at March 22, 2007 08:03 PM

Pattrick

Carry on! Hoch die Fahnen der Revolution!
At least, in the den or faculty lounge, mit plenty of Guinness and Whole Foods goodies.
As the man said, Yeeouch.

Posted by donescobar at March 22, 2007 09:07 PM

Ummm, donescobar, that quote was from the article you are supposed to be so enamored of.

Go beat yourself for your anti-semitism.

Posted by Ed Marshall at March 22, 2007 11:14 PM

Regarding anti-Semitism:

Both Jews and Arabs are Semites.

If we insist on throwing this term anti-Semitism about without any regard for the actual historical meaning of the term, we end up with nonsensical name calling such as follows:

"Both bin Laden and Daniel Pipes, for instance, are classic anti-Semites, as is Ehud Barak. In fact, Barak must be a self-hating Semitic anti-Semite. Funnily enough, Hamas are also self-hating Semitic anti-Semites..."

The term is meaningless when discussing the Palestinian-Israeli question (although Ed, I do agree with the spirit of your comment to donescobar).

Posted by floopmeister at March 22, 2007 11:43 PM

I don't get this whole "Arafat's thievery" thing. The final years of his life this alleged thief (with, allegedly, billions in his personal bank accounts) spent in the basement of a half-destroyed compound in Ramallah, expecting to be assassinated by an Israeli missile (or by some other means) at any moment. He refused to leave the West Bank because had he left, he wouldn't be allowed to come back to his basement. And he was 70+ years old. Somehow this just doesn't square with my impression of what the word 'thievery' usually implies.

I mean, I'm sure you do know that these days Israel refuses to give the Palestinian government its own tax money; US, European and most of the other aid has been cut; Palestinian officials have to smuggle cash to Gaza in suitcases. Don't you think having all those secret banks accounts wasn't such a bad idea after all?

Posted by abb1 at March 23, 2007 05:22 AM

I'm not "enamored" of the article. It does present a (yet) unchallenged picture of Saint Arafat as a thief and exploiter of his people.
As far as the A word goes, who loves it?
1. Foxman and some of the Jewish poobahs in the USA. Yeeouch.
2. Who shouts it and practices it on an almost daily basis? Quite a segment of the Arab/Muslim media and leadership,the "Arab street," as well as a faction of the Left in the West. Yeeouch.
3.Even in publications and on websites where the discussion of socio-economic topics is quite rational and often cogent, this topic gets into frothing frenzy very, very quickly. One side trots out the myth of the founding of Israel ( a la "Exodus"), the other side the myth of Israel/Jews as the source of the world's evil.
Why is that? More Yeeouch.
Neither side has empathy or compassion, and surely is not trying to understand why both the Jews of Israel and the Palestinians are acting crazy. Both are. Look at the (very long, for the Jews, briefer for the Palestinians) history--that could be a beginning. Instead, both sides seek refuge in myths and slogans. The Yeeouch of all Yeeouches.

Posted by donescobar at March 23, 2007 07:51 AM

Donescobar, isn't it true, though, that one side is the indigenous population of the region while the other side is mostly people who came there from far away? Also, that one side is enormously more powerful than the other? How can you say that they're all just "acting crazy"?

Btw, I read Exodus many years ago. One of a few episodes that I remember is the one where Zionist militiamen spread rumors among the local Arab population that bombs exploded near their villages were in fact nuclear bombs and the area is now contaminated. I read it when was about 20 years old and back then this seemed funny, but not so much anymore.

Posted by abb1 at March 23, 2007 09:34 AM

abb1

Yes. As far away as "we" Americans.
Still, crazy after all these years. But why?
When the Prime Minister of Canada, during the Holocaust, was asked how many Jews his country might be willing to take in, he replied "None is too many."
That is the mindset on which Zionism was built, in Europe primarily, and elsewhere. The Palestinians were sacrificed for the sins of Europeans. Typical, but no less painful and good reason to become as crazyas those sent to encroach on you. Being shat upon, expelled and killed does not, alas, ennoble the soul.It didn't do it for the Jews, it hasn't done it for the Palestinians. It makes you mean and crazy and not giving a shit about "the other."
How to "stop the cycle?" Hell, the cycle R us.

Posted by donescobar at March 23, 2007 10:29 AM

Donescobar, I agree with your 10:29 post, but up to that point in this thread you seemed to be setting fire to strawmen. Yeah, there are plenty of anti-Semites in the world (using the term in the usual sense, with apologies to floopmeister), but what was repulsive about the Atlantic quote cited above was the implication that disgust over Israeli crimes is motivated by a need to excuse the Holocaust in some fashion. You seemed to be saying something similar in your 8:03 PM post.

Also, I don't think I'd pick Michael Walzer as my guide in search of decent leftists. I also wouldn't make a blanket statement that Counterpunch is the equivalent of Little Green Footballs. I have seen one or two writers at Counterpunch who deserve that comparison--people who say suicide bombing is a justifiable form of resistance. That's disgusting, though I still read those writers because they are a sort of interesting mirror image of the people who justify Israeli or American war crimes. (Let me add my endorsement to Orwell's essay "Notes on Nationalism".) But other writers there are guilty of nothing more than writing about Zionism from the viewpoint of how it looks to the people who were displaced by it.

Posted by Donald Johnson at March 23, 2007 10:45 AM

Donald Johnson

As usual, you are fair and circumspect. What I tried to say in the 8:03 post was that I read a visceral quality in some (not all) of the views on Israel and its trickle-down effect on feelings about Jews. It seems to me that something in those views, as when a professor refers to AIPAC not as the Israel Lobby but as the Jewish Lobby, has indeed been liberated--a burden from the Holocaust (and the history of Jews prior) that can finally be tossed aside.
Take a look at Landau's piece from Syria in today's Counterpunch, and his comparison of Syrian antisemitic propaganda with the best of Goebbels or Streicher. Israel, Shmisrael, it's the Jewish plot to take over the world, to control America, to mastermind 9-11, to push the USA into wars...
Even Counterpunch reprinted the fantasies about the Israelis on the white van and the Israeli art students. Evidence? Nichts. Why the appeal of this stuff to Cockburn et al?
Hannah Arendt was right. Without Israeli-Palestinian/Arab cooperation the Zionist dream (get us out of this European hell) would be doomed. How to get that at this stage--beats me. We had Rabin and Sadat, and we know how they ended up. Now we got a careerist doing violence out of Israel (inc. to his own people) and thugs doing violence out of Gaza, incl. to their own people. Ain't progress grand?

Posted by donescobar at March 23, 2007 11:07 AM

Why not print about the Israelis on the white van? I don't understand. This is what journalism is all about. If you're looking for Antisemitism everywhere, you're bound to find it.

Posted by abb1 at March 23, 2007 01:52 PM

Carry on! Hoch die Fahnen der Revolution!
At least, in the den or faculty lounge, mit plenty of Guinness and Whole Foods goodies.

I have no idea what you're talking about. Fortunately, it appears that you don't either.

Seriously, what the fuck does that mean? I am beginning to suspect that you are either projecting insanely or that you are simply an asshole. Or both.

Posted by patrick at March 24, 2007 10:57 AM

patrick

"Seriously, what the fuck does that mean?"

If you had stopped there, I would have answered.

Posted by donescobar at March 24, 2007 11:35 AM

Eh. Don't do many any favors.

Posted by patrick at March 24, 2007 04:16 PM

If you had stopped there, I would have answered.

If he had stopped at you are an asshole it would have covered it.

Posted by Ed Marshall at March 25, 2007 09:15 AM


"So vast is art, so narrow hunman wit."

Posted by donescobar at March 25, 2007 10:49 AM

Well, "human wit."

Cheers.

Posted by donescobar at March 25, 2007 10:50 AM

AIPAC isn't *the* Israeli lobby, it's *an* Israeli lobby. A right-wing one which pushes a neoconservative-friendly foreign poicy for the US. Rich and powerful, certainly, but not the only one and often not representative of most Israeli's views AFAICT.

Some of the other Israeli lobbies are listed here:
http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/3270 I refer to this article because it talks about them. I've not read it yet.

And I don't think the article mentions anti-Zionist Jewish groups. They do exist.

Posted by me at March 27, 2007 09:27 PM