Monday, November 29, 2010

Nothing suprising in Wikileaks

Very little overall seems all that surprising in the recent leaks, except perhaps for some people. Ahmadinejad is convinced the whole thing is a conspiracy. I wonder what Mearsheimer and Walt think, given how much they have invested in the notion that it's American Jews pushing us to war.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

UNRWA chief on charm offensive

Note that the UNRWA is directly under the general assembly, which is run as a direct democracy of nations without any formal protections for minorities. The General Assembly discriminates heavily against Israel. Many feel the existence of the UNRWA, an organization exclusively for Palestinian refugees which defines Palestinian refugees differently from all other refugees and which does not aim to resettle them, is intended to prolong the conflict. (cf.) He is clearly being diplomatic and vague, but even the gesture is itself interesting. Where he is clear, it is remarkable.

In one appearance, he says,
Talking about sanctions and boycotts is not going to bring about anything positive
There's also an interview posted at Adi Schwartz (with much commentary from Schwartz, an Israeli journalist) which is somewhat critical of the UNRWA, itself, of Hamas, and of Gazan society.
“We shouldn’t exist after so many years”, says Ging, “and I perfectly understand the Israeli negative view towards my organization, because it is the manifestation of the political failure of the international community to resolve the conflict. Our 60th anniversary was not a moment of celebration but a commemoration of failure because we should not have had to exist after 60 years”.
If this is the manifestation of an underlying problem, then surely that problem is the widespread failure to recognize that Jews have the same rights to self determination as other peoples.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Israel, more average than you think

Israel is routinely characterized as "the worst [whatever] in the world" in order to justify singling it out for criticism or sanction. Except it's rarely never true. Though, like any society, and in particular like any post-colonial society, there are clearly problems, the exaggerated criticism is almost completely the product of antisemitism. For example, I've regularly seen the claim that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is the longest-lasting occupation in the world. People making such a claim must never have heard of Tibet or Western Sahara. That doesn't mean Israel's occupation shouldn't be criticized -it should- but those who criticize it should be aware of the problem and avoid exaggerated rhetoric. And if they have a singular focus on Israel, they should acknowledge that. Anyway, what I just heard on the radio:

The world's biggest buyer of arms is.... India.