Though my posting has been a bit sparse of late, there were several points that I had made in the last two weeks that appeared in papers around the world today. View them as a manifestation of my clairvoyance or perhaps simply as further evidence.
On 26/8, while discussing the dangers of using the Park 51 Islamic community center to gain political leverage, I said that the anti-Islamic rhetoric that has been mainly used by Republicans has resulted in a massive switch of political alliances among Muslims. Traditionally and culturally very Republican, Muslims were instrumental in bringing both Bushes into the White House, though the Democrats have recently been picking up Muslim support thanks to Republican rhetoric. A new poll has come out demonstrating these findings. Despite not really leaving Iraq, increasing the troops in Afghanistan and bowing to Israel over Palestine, Obama’s rating among Muslims is higher than any other religious group – around 78%.
[tweetmeme] On 14/8, I commented that attacking Iran would be unimaginably disastrous for the United States as it would slow global shipping through the closure of the Strait of Hormuz, risk the death of Americans across the world, end peace talks between Israel and Palestine and threaten what is left of US support in the Middle East. Jack Matlock reiterates many of these points while focusing on the Palestinian peace situation, saying:
I do not believe that Bibi Netanyahu is as deranged on this issue as Jeffrey Goldberg pictures him. He is a master manipulator, and I believe that he and his Likud-minded colleagues are using the issue to distract attention from Israeli policies that are making the peace process impossible: the continuation of settlement activity in the West Bank and the illegal isolation of the Gaza strip. These are policies that make a true settlement with the Palestinians impossible. They are policies that empower Iranian diplomacy in the area, even in Arab countries which traditionally fear Iranian influence.
The most serious existential threat to a Jewish state in Palestine comes from the policies of the existing Israeli government. All the bru-ha-ha about an alleged “existential threat” from Iran is most likely designed to deflect U.S. and world attention from that fundamental fact. (Bold in original)
Which leads us to Paul Krugman in the New York Times, writing about the creation and exploitation of rage, anger and hatred by the right in America; rather reminds me of what I wrote, again, surrounding Park 51 and the manufactured hatred by the Republican Party. Krugman writes about the rage expressed by the right and how this has been promoted and exploited by politicians and political pundits to the detriment of the country – going as far as to predict a government stoppage à la 1995.
Finally, I wrote my most recent piece on the need to engage Hamas on 28/8, arguing that a cease-fire with Israel that included the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and the complete lifting of the illegal blockade would be the best way to push towards peace. The argument, drawing on Daniel Bymann’s Foreign Affairs essay, was that peace is impossible without the consent of Hamas and that a cease-fire would force Hamas to choose between resistance and government. That same day, Ali Abunimah wrote an op-ed in the NYTimes, calling for…guess what…engagement with Hamas. Specifically, Abunimah tried to compare the role of the US in the resolution of the Northern Ireland conflict with its role in Palestine. It is a very good read and I was surprised and pleased to finally see a piece supporting the Palestinians in the Times, but I guess they are a-changin’.
Of course, not everyone can agree with me. A perfect example: in a quick review/unedited rant concerning Glenn Beck’s “Restoring the Honor” rally in Washington the other day, I wrote about how the undeniably political nature of the event fostered hatred and discord among Americans, leading many in attendance (mostly white and rich) to make bigoted and hateful remarks – particularly about Islam. Ross Douthat, in the NYTimes, on the other hand, saw nothing political about the rally. Indeed, he seems to think the rally was nothing more than a pro-America gathering, aimed at unity, religion and patriotism. While I respect Douthat’s opinion, I find myself wondering where he was and what rally he was watching. If he was unable to pick out the putrid smell or political partisanism and manufactured political opinions emanating from Washington, one has to wonder if he is qualified to be a political commentator.
Agreement on 4 of 5 isn’t so bad I guess, though it gets tiring being right all the time…
Photo from South Bay Mobilization