Sunday, September 14, 2008

Who celebrated on 9/11?

Of course, all those Palestinians in the street did. And no, it wasn't a doctored video, nor were they images from an event that had happened years before. On the day of the destruction of the Twin Towers, the Palestinians (some Palestinians, anyway) celebrated and handed out candy and there's no disputing that (well, actually I'm not sure about the candy, but candy handout allegations are a staple of reports on Palestinians celebrating atrocities).

But apart from them, did anyone else celebrate?

Well, I can think of quite a few people. In my country, Argentina, many people reacted with feelings that ranged from approval to outright exultation upon seeing the towers fall. I was perplexed to watch the newscasts that afternoon and learn about the "deep grief" of the Argentinian people at the news, and their solidarity with the Americans. My foot. But then I remembered that Argentina is a civilized country where the truth is conditioned by political correctness. That's why there was no candy handout, and not a word on the newscasts about the Argentinians' true opinions about the attack -- opinions anyone who listened to conversations in bars could have reported.

But more to the point, there were Israelis who were very happy that the World Trade Center had been attacked.

Although it may sound like one more conspiracy theory to claim that five Israelis were seen filming the burning towers and celebrating, in this particular case it looks like it really happened. Two of the Israelis were suspected of being spies. One of them, Sivan Kurzberg, was photographed by his colleagues smiling with the towers in flames in the background and holding a lit lighter in his hand, as is customary in pop music concerts when a performance is particularly enjoyed.

Of course they were private individuals; no one's claiming that they were sent by the Israeli government to record the incident. But the question remains, how could any Israeli be happy that Israel's foremost ally was attacked? What explanation could there be?

Enter Binyamin Netanyahu, former PM of Israel and a firm candidate in the upcoming elections. On 12 Sep 2001, he had this to say on page A22 of the New York Times:

Asked tonight what the attack meant for relations between the United States and Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, replied, “It’s very good.”

Living, like me, in the hypocritical civilized world, Netanyahu immediately understood the potentially catastrophic consequences of his Freudian slip in terms of PR. So that the NYT story goes on to inform us:

Then he edited himself: "Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy." He predicted that the attack would "strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we've experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror."

He elaborated on the idea a bit more unabashedly in April 2008, when talking not to the Western press, but to Israeli students, before whom PC is not so conditioning:

The Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv on Wednesday reported that Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu told an audience at Bar Ilan university that the September 11, 2001 terror attacks had been beneficial for Israel.

"We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq," Ma'ariv quoted the former prime minister as saying. He reportedly added that these events "swung American public opinion in our favor."

So that we have a few irrelevant Palestinians in the street celebrating 9/11, and a very relevant Israeli politician also celebrating 9/11, but you've always heard about the former in the US media, and never about the latter (except in the chaotic first week, in which Netanyahu's words slipped into the NYT's print edition). After dismissing the antisemitic theory that the Zionists have any control of any kind over what the press reports, I'm left wondering what the reason could be for the unequal treatment of equally jubilant reactions to the fall of the Twin Towers.

27 comments:

Yitzchak Goodman said...

People are much more interested in (and apalled by) celebration which comes from solidarity with the terrorists and joy that the Big Satan has been hit as opposed to Israeli feelings that "Now people will understand what we face." There are also stupid student "fire is cool" reactions, which is what the film you mention may be showing.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Others would point out the cynicism of admitting that Israel benefits from the 9/11 tragedy and the US quagmire in Iraq. Especially when it's a top politician who makes the statement, not an unknown man in the street.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

Others would point out the cynicism of admitting that Israel benefits from the 9/11 tragedy and the US quagmire in Iraq.

Israel benefitted from 9/11 in a silver-lining sort of way, but the escalation of world Islamic terror to the point that 9/11 happened has ominous implications for Israel. The US "quagmire in Iraq" may actualy hurt Israel. Point out the cynicism all you want. It's a far cry from feeling solidarity with Bin Laden. That's a pretty obvious distinction.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Why would an Argentinian be against Jewish self-determination? It would be like me, a South African, being against Bangladeshi seld-determination.

It's just bizarre.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Why would an Argentinian be against Jewish self-determination?

I don't know for sure. My Jewish friend says it's because I'm an antisemite (which would appear to be supported by the fact that I cite my having a Jewish friend in the first place). But I need to ask my shrink for a second opinion.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, what do you have against Jewish self-determination?

David L said...

'What do you have against Jewish self-determination?'
In someone else's land?
As a result of ethnic cleansing?
Accompanied by oppression of those indiginous people who weren't ethnically cleansed?
In violation of international law and human rights?
Plenty

But seriously, if Zionists were to colonise an actually empty land - Antarctica for instance, they probably would produce a state every bit as unpleasent and racist as Israel. But at least it wouldn't bother anyone else.

Anonymous said...

But the majority of Israelis are descendents of Jewish Arabs ethnically cleansed from their respective Arab countries. These refugees lost, just in terms of land, 100,000 sq km which is 4 times the size of Israel.

David L said...

Ah it's the old 'the Nakba wasn't so bad, the Jews experienced their own Nakba after all' argument.

Ok, apart from the fact that this argument is bogus - makey-up figures about land lost, ignoring the fact that half of Jewish Israelis are of European origin, that many Arab Jews left voluntarily, that many were airlifted by Israel desperate to fill up its emptied state and so on - so what?

There were Jews kicked out by Arab dictatorships. We agree this is bad, yes?

Then also we can agree that the planned ethnic cleansing of most Palestinians was bad? That not letting them back is bad? That racist denial of Palestinian rights is, well, bad?

Or do rights only apply to non-Palestinians?

Anonymous said...

Ok, apart from the fact that this argument is bogus

Bogus! There's nothing bogus about it.

There were Jews kicked out by Arab dictatorships.

Oh so that makes it ok then. I see.

Then also we can agree that the planned ethnic cleansing of most Palestinians was bad?

There was no such plan according to the "revisionist" historian Benny Morris.

That not letting them back is bad?

When the Czechs let the Sudeten Germans return, when Pakistan invites the Hindu Punjabis to return and India invites back the Moslems, when Turkey invites the Greeks to return to Anatolia, when the Greeks invite the Turks back to Athens and Cyprus, when the ethnic Japanese expelled from Korea and China are invited back, and when the United States agrees to allow all descendents of Tory Loyalists to reclaim lands in New England – then Israel should consider whether the Palestinians have any “Right of Return” to Israel.

Thanks.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

when Turkey invites the Greeks to return to Anatolia

Thought we were talking Jews and Arabs, not Greeks and Turks.

So, if we stick to the issue of the Arab refugees and the Jewish "refugees," it must be noted that Morocco has formally invited all the Jews who emigrated from there to return, and so has Lybia.

Since these two countries account for well above half of all the Arab Jews who immigrated to Israel, it follows that your requirement has been largely satisfied and Israel should invite at least half of all displaced Palestinians back into Israel.

Anonymous said...

Thought we were talking Jews and Arabs, not Greeks and Turks.

There were probably tens of millions of refugees from 1940's and 1950's who never got and will never get the chance return to their homes - including the Jewish Arabs. Israel is NOT responsible for both sets of refugees.

Btw I've got no problem with a one state solution if that's what BOTH sides want - but since neither side does it's a non sequitor.

Since these two countries (Libya and Morocco) account for well above half of all the Arab Jews who immigrated to Israel

Those two countries accounted for approximately one third of the refugees not "well above half".

How many Israelis have taken them up on their offer? None as far as I'm aware.

Would you exchange a liberal democracy for Dictatorship snd potential dhimmitude in an Islamic theocracy? I think not.

David L said...

Interesting news about Morocco and Libya - hadn't realise that. But in response 'anonymous' is using yet another Hasbara trick - 'whataboutery'.

What about the Tibetans, the Sudeten Germans, the polar bears facing climate change? Aren't these Muslim states terrible! isn't the world a terrible place - let's talk about anything other than the Palestinians. Because then we have to face the central issue of their disposession.

It's sad that the genuine suffering of other people is displayed - not to do something about it - but simply to hide the suffering that Palestinians are enduring.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

let's talk about anything other than the Palestinians

The mistreatment of Jews in Arab lands is relevant to the Palestinian question. The mistreatment of those Jews was done in the name of the Palestinians by the allies of the Palestinians (and at the instigation of the Palestinians in some cases). The Arab world helped itself to retribution and compensation for 1948 in ample measure and then forced many Palestinians and their descendants to live as refugees in countries where Arab nationalism triumphed and where Islam prevails. The Jewish Arabs were not just absorbed by Israel, they became Israel to a large extent, transforming Israel's identity. This is the new reality, just as the existence of other countries is the new reality post-WW II. Ibrahim just wrote, in his new "antisemitism" post, that he wants to deny self-determination to Middle Eastern Arabs if they happen to practice the wrong religion, in this case Judaism. The "pro-Hasbara" position, if you will, is that some solution should be worked out so that every significant population of people born in their country of residence has self-determination.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

half of Jewish Israelis are of European origin

Abut half of the ancestry in the Jewish population of Israel is European, but there has been a lot of intermarriage. Half of the Israelis are not of purely European origin anymore. Anyway, I'm an American-born Jew of Eastern European origin. Am I a native-born American or a foreign imperialist usurper interloper?

David L said...

Category error here Yitzhak - the use of the word 'Arab' to obscure the specific plight of Palestinians.

The mistreatment of Jews in Morocco was done by Moroccans, of Jews in Iraq, by Iraqis (or rather the Iraqi dictatorship). It was bad but it wasn't ethnic cleansing, as you probably know anyway.

Your attempt to pretend that it was instigated by Palestinians is classic brazen Hasbara-speak. A bit like claiming that the Palestinians were behind the Holocaust. (and yes, I know that's done too)

In contrast to Libya and Morocco, in contrast to Iran's policies towards Jews, Israel doesn't let Palestinians return. Yes, this denial of human rights is done to maintain a Jewish state, something you seem to believe is a good thing.

And here we differ.

It is not simply that Israel is racist but that it is built on the continuing denial of human rights to Palestinians. You seem to believe that a racist state should be planted in Palestine, by evicting Palestinians (remember, the category is Palestinians, not Arabs or Asians or inhabitants of planet earth). And so you shrug your shoulders when Palestinian rights are mentioned.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

of Jews in Iraq, by Iraqis (or rather the Iraqi dictatorship). It was bad but it wasn't ethnic cleansing, as you probably know anyway.

Your attempt to pretend that it was instigated by Palestinians is classic brazen Hasbara-speak.


I said it was in some cases. I think that's called history. Look up the Mufti's adventures in Iraq in 1941 and get back to me.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

Category error here Yitzhak - the use of the word 'Arab' to obscure the specific plight of Palestinians.

So how should I refer to the Arab Higher Committee, the Arab League, the Arab Liberation Army, and the United Arab Republic? Those entities have had something to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

David L said...

I see Yitzhak still is refusing to use the P word. Waving his hands about and shouting ARAB ARAB ARAB. As probably only himself and myself are visiting this comments section, I'll end now.

Actually I'll end with two simple questions which will probably produce a convuluted non-reply.

Was the ethnic cleansing of PALESTINIANS from their land wrong?

Do these PALESTINIANS have the same rights as everyone else, including the right to return home?

A simple yes/no - or preferably yes/yes - will suffice.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

I see Yitzhak still is refusing to use the P word. Waving his hands about and shouting ARAB ARAB ARAB.

More specifically, I responded to your accusation that I was using the word "Arab" inappropriately.

Was the ethnic cleansing of PALESTINIANS from their land wrong?

Meaning that Israel needs to apologize for winning the 1948 war? No. If there was a general compensation program for all people who lost property unjustly in the Israeli-Arab conflict, would Palestinians be entitled to some of the money? Yes.

Do these PALESTINIANS have the same rights as everyone else, including the right to return home?

Everyone else doesn't have the right to demand a reversal of demographic changes that occurred generations ago, especially when only the grievances of one side are being addressed. Palestinians do have the same rights as any other human beings.

andrew r said...

Yitzchak, does Israel need to apologize for starting the 1948 war? Or maybe I shouldn't say Israel, but rather Haganah, Irgun and Stern.

Everyone else doesn't have the right to demand a reversal of demographic changes that occurred generations ago

100 years ago, South Africa became an independent country. Until 1994, blacks couldn't be citizens in most of the country, only designated homelands. Apartheid was abolished, and those whose ancestors were forced into the Bantustans were allowed to live throughout South Africa.

That's a reversal of demographic change, bub. One that (*shocker*) the opposition was demanding.

andrew r said...

anonymous said: There were probably tens of millions of refugees from 1940's and 1950's who never got and will never get the chance return to their homes - including the Jewish Arabs. Israel is NOT responsible for both sets of refugees.

There's a dimension you're not considering, a couple of them in fact. Greece and Turkey, India and Pakistan, Germany and Poland, have the option of repatriating all refugees and remain intact as states.

Israel can not permit refugees to return and be a Jewish state. And it can't fortify against said refugees without generous military grants. The point? Israel is not keeping them refugees single-handedly. American - and probably EU - tax dollars enable them.

Also unlike most lingering refugee problems, Israel is still in the process of making refugees. It's not even content with the 1948 conquest, it must settle the remainder of Palestine and chase out as many Arabs as possible. This effectively makes the whole Palestine one state for Jews and a divided entity for Arabs.

Both sides won't choose one state? It's a done deal. Israel implemented it when you weren't looking. The only question is whether Arabs are going to have full civil rights or if they're subject to more ethnic cleansing.

And full civil rights means everyone ethnically cleansed from Palestine can live there.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

does Israel need to apologize for starting the 1948 war? Or maybe I shouldn't say Israel, but rather Haganah, Irgun and Stern.

The Arabs started the 1948 war. Anyone with a one-volume desk-top encyclopedia with a moderate amount of termite damage can tell you that. Anti-Hasbarists usually try to argue that the Arabs were justified in starting the 1948 war.

That's a reversal of demographic change, bub.

The changes in South Africa empowered the majority and freed them from the domination of a small minority. You are proposing transferring large numbers of people across international borders in order to disempower the current majority population. And I only allow close freinds to call me "bub."

andrew r said...

The way I see it, the Arab states entered a war that was already going on (it really started on 29/11/1947, didn't it). They weren't justified because they were more interested in taking what they could of Palestine than preventing the Nakba, but they may have saved even more people from being expelled.

"International borders" - therein lies the rub. According to apartheid's own logic, if you were in a bantustan, you were not in South Africa. Israel's borders are not something you can just look up on a map ~ many maps don't agree on that issue. But if everyone in the territory controlled by Israel had the same civil rights, including citizenship, it would lose its alleged Jewish majority real quick.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

they may have saved even more people from being expelled

Probably the opposite. The expulsions happened under war conditions. Probably fewer Palestinians would have been displaced without the Arab invasion.

if everyone in the territory controlled by Israel had the same civil rights, including citizenship, it would lose its alleged Jewish majority real quick.

Without Gaza, and with no big Palestinian "return"? I don't think so. Jews have a pretty solid majority and a good birthrate. Many supporters of the Palestinians pretend to advocate that Israel should simply be a state for its inhabitants, but when pressed on this issue, they often admit that they wouldn't support it without a "right of return." That's been my experience, anyway.

My Blog said...

But the question remains, how could any Israeli be happy that Israel's foremost ally was attacked!

muebles en arganda del rey said...

Well, I do not really believe this will have success.