I want to quickly comment on a couple of brief articles that caught my eye recently. All four of which have to do with the idiocy of politics and how, perhaps – just perhaps – the people of America, Israel and Palestine should all consider questioning the more or less ‘boneheadedness’ of their governments.
The first article considers the decision making in the United States. Everyone has heard of, if not actively followed, the intense debate surrounding the Mosque/Cultural Center that was planned for Manhattan. Ben Smith, via MJ Rosenberg, has caught on to the recent wheelings and dealings of those most suited to find a solution to the controversial Park 51: Elie Weisel and David Axelrod. The two men are clearly the most qualified to take on such a religiously driven controversy, not because it is an interfaith duo who understands the religious sensitivities of Muslims, Jews and Christians as well as the rights afforded to American Muslims to congregate and pray in Manhattan, but rather because both are Jewish.
Of course, that is not to say that Jewish folk can’t have a say in the sensitivities of Americans, but one would think that the dynamic duo would at least consult a Muslim, any Muslim before deciding that Park 51 should be evolved into an interfaith center for Christians, Muslims and Jews. There is certainly nothing wrong with an interfaith center – something that should be more encouraged – but Rosenberg has fun with the story anyway:
It’s so delightfully colonial. Two Jewish guys decide among themselves on the future of a place of worship for Muslims working in lower Manhattan. Maybe next time two Muslim guys will decide to substitute an “interfaith center” for New York’s Temple Emanuel.
Bottom line: these two have no standing on this question. Period. Wiesel, in particular, may be well-known as a humanitarian. But he is notoriously cold hearted when it comes to Muslims. Most recently he took out an ad in the Washington Post telling Obama that Jerusalem belongs to Jews, and only Jews. In his life, he has never criticized the Israeli government on humanitarian grounds for anything and proudly says he never will. His index finger only points outward.
No one should pay any attention to Elie Wiesel on any matter that touches on Muslims. Period. He is only a humanitarian on issues that do not involve his own group. He should confine himself to issues where his own views are not governed by bigotry. I explain Wiesel’s “humanitarianism on the cheap” in this column.
[tweetmeme] I like the idea of two Muslims deciding the fate of a Jewish temple. The American establishment seriously could not find someone other than Wiesel to chime in on this topic? If nothing else, it demonstrates the absurdity of American views towards Muslims and the systematic take down of the First Amendment of the Constitution and the second article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The second piece goes to the Jewish leadership. Like Park 51, everyone has probably come across the botched assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh (well, they did kill him…), but now more details have come out concerning the illegal use of foreign passports to gain access to Dubai for Israel’s Mossad agents. The Arabist points to a Wall Street Journal article that highlights the path to Dubai of one Christopher Lockwood, or Yahuda Lustig. Apparently, Lockwood – a citizen of the UK who had changed his name to Lockwood in 1994, using the Lockwood name to attain British citizenship and passport. Problem is that according to Israeli records (and numerous monuments around Israel) Lustig died in the Sinai during the 1973 war.
So which is it? Did Lockwood/Lustig die or not? Either a Mossad agent assumed the identity of a dead Israeli soldier or Lustig never died at all. Either way, the WSJ revelations shine more like on the liberal Israeli use of passports. Currently there is no concrete evidence linking Israel to the international assassination, but the Dubai police chief once stated that he was 99% sure the Mossad was behind the killing, citing a video footage and results from the ongoing investigation.
The whole episode is turning into a James Bondesque scene as all trails investigators once had seemingly dried up. The one thing that investigators are sure of is that Israel is pretty damn good at forging passports from other countries (19 of the 44 forged passports used by the assassins were British). While Lockwood/Lustig’s passport was a real British passport, he has mysteriously vanished. It appears as though Israel – if it was behind the assassination – has gotten away with the murder, though not the passport fraud.
Finally, let’s talk about those Palestinians. One must remember that two things about the current Palestinian leadership: first, the government – headed by President Abbas – is illegitimate taking control of the West Bank after Hamas won the internationally recognized free and fair elections in 2006 and, secondly, Abbas has made a habit of resigning – or rather threatening to resign. In 2009 Abbas and most senior members of the PA threatened to resign and made it clear that they would not participate in the January 2010 elections (they were cancelled anyway). In September of this year Abbas repeated the threat, saying he would step down if the peace talks failed. Abbas, needless to say, is still at the helm.
Recently, it has come out that Abbas is once again waving the resignation card. At some point someone must call his bluff here. The theory is simply that if Abbas resigns, the entire PA will collapse and the West Bank will be either turned over to complete Israeli administration (would that really be a problem for the settler movement?) or that the area would be open to Hamas. Not only is it unlikely that Abbas will resign, but it is just as unlikely that the Palestinian leadership would allow the West Bank to fall to Israel or Hamas.
My prediction? Talks will fall apart over the settlement issue (or America will concede 60% of Palestine to Israel only to see talks fail later) and Abbas will still be sitting in charge of a government that was not elected.
And there you have it. Three articles describing three governmental actions that should have people in the US, Israel and Palestine shaking their heads. As if the situation in the Middle East and the standing of Muslims in the US isn’t complex enough. We have these people leading the charge to further complicate things.
Photo from Inside Furniture