Monthly Archives: January 2009

An American Industry On the Rise

1. The ISI:

One major theme that readers have observed on this blog is that the Middle East landscape in general, and the quagmire of Israel and the Palestinians in particular, are usually captured through Israeli lenses and then framed and interpreted largely through an Israeli perspective in what is all too often inaccurately described as the “American” main-stream media.

This blog will also develop another closely related but nonetheless very different theme, a theme that so far has not been directly stated. An “American” industry has prospered in the United States in a sort of symbiotic relationship with the requirement that the Arab world must be viewed through the eyes of largely Ashkenazi Jews from Russia and Europe. This industry pervades American popular culture and helps create the backdrop into which the main-stream media can then drop pictures of unharmed Israeli civilians onto their front pages and their readers can then see why killing Palestinian children is necessary. This industry seeks to portray virtually any aspect of Islam as evil, perverted and ultimately out to destroy all that is good in the world. It has a host of purveyors and pimps in the media, publishing, in Hollywood, and in academia. They range from far-right so-called “patriots” to liberals to former Trotskyite Israeli-firsters imbedded in the US governmental fabric. Leading figures in what I call the ISI, the Islam Sucks Industry, are the likes of Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, Steve Emerson, and Craig Winn. But there are plenty out there because the industry has an excellent market and by joining it one is much more likely to get published and possibly prosper than by going against the grain which requires much more research and overcoming of obstacles.

2. False-Framing:  Operationus Interruptus is Honor Lost

The book Honor Lost (sold outside the United States as Forbidden Love) by Norma Khouri was marketed as a true story depicting the brutality of the Arabs in Jordan who engage in honor killings and who just can’t help treating their women like shit.Norma, a good Christian girl, and her Muslim female friend, Dalia, opened up a unisex hair Salon in Jordan’s capital, Amman.  Dalia, the oppressed Muslim woman, fell in love with a Christian named Michael and got stabbed to death as a result by her father. Michael helped smuggle poor little Norma out of Jordan, no doubt saving her life in the process.

Sound like a sure-fire formula for success? Sure does and it was as she sold over 250 thousand copies (and possibly more).  She managed to get Random House to publish the book. Predictably, initial reviews were glowing such as this one at the National Review lovingly entitled “Death by Shari’ah.” Seth Mydans of the New York Times gave it a fawning review in an utterly obsequious interview which reveals every bit as much about him as it does her. I tell you, I’m in the wrong business.

Her book was a classic false-framing operation. Make up a story – doesn’t matter how ridiculous it is – and make sure it fits any and every conceivable stereotype about Arabs and Muslims and you’ll get accolades from the left and the right. No one even did any basic fact checking on this book at Random House. How can that be? Because they knew they could make money in the Islam Sucks Industry. Ask Kiefer Sutherland, it works.

As I suspected the first time I saw the book, the book is a complete fake. See here for more. It is not just that book was filled with errors – a women’s organization in Jordan found 73 of them and sent the documentation to Random House – it is rather that everything about her and her book is a lie and could have been easily detected by having anyone who knows anything about Jordan (and who isn’t part of the ISI) read it. Almost everything she was saying about herself,  just about every single thing, was a lie. She did not grow up in Jordan, she grew up in Chicago having moved there from Jordan when she was three years old. She didn’t flee Jordan with her life at stake, she grew up like a very abnormal person in the Windy City. She also has a most interesting criminal background. More on that here. She even tried to cheat her own mother out of her mother’s house. It appears that by 1999 she was in so much trouble with the FBI that she and her likely criminal husband and her two children left the US (see previous links but don’t forget this one too.) Oh, did I mention that she said she had to leave Jordan because there was a fatwa calling for her head? Yes indeed, no Islam Sucks hoax is complete without at least one expression of fatwa-fetishism.But since she was just playing the game of Islam Sucks, no one cared to check.

But a women’s group in Jordan (no doubt mainy made up of Muslims) did. And so did Malcom Knox of the Sidney Morning Herald. He could not figure out why a woman who said she grew up in Jordan spoke English with a mid-western American accent and seemed to know almost no Arabic. So he poked around and found another fraud from Chicago. The links to his stories are in the paragraphs above.

There are plenty of Norma Khouri’s around. Readers of this blog know some of them.

Coming up next: False Framing in Tel Aviv. George Mitchell’s address to the (Israeli) Institute of National Securities Studies.

Ass-Kicked Indyk

Here’s a 1-2 punch for today:

  1. Okay, now for a brief change of pace. Boxing is considered by many to be a pretty cruel sport. This is because it is a pretty cruel sport. However, in boxing the fighters are normally at least of similar weight and there is a referee to stop things immediately if one fighter is too hurt to continue. Now here’s a link to a very brief fight – 19 seconds. A real ass-kicking.
  2. Okay, I can see you all going, hey Mantiq, this is really for the birds. “We come to your site to see pictures of pretty birds, see if you have any funny new links, and to see if you are still bitching and moaning about the Middle East.” O ye of little faith. Here is yet another tale about a very recent much more devastating ass kicking. And it is Middle East related. Very much so. Really, a lot.

In one corner is England-born, Australian raised, kibbutz inhabiting, Israeli advising (Yizthak Shamir no less) , AIPAC lobbyist, Washington Institute for Near East Policy co-founder (the place where Dennis Ross has recently been a “counselor” and a fellow), naturalized US citizen under circumstances which remain vague to this day, Bill Clinton administration National Security Council Middle East adviser, twice US ambassador to Israel (losing his security clearance in the process) and now Haim Saban Center for Middle East Studies Executive Director. (He was also Hillary Clinton’s Middle East advisor during her campaign.) As faithful Mantiq readers can no doubt guess, this is the guy who got his ass kicked, much to Mantiq’s delight.

In the other corner is well-known and out of a job academic, Jewish intellectual gadfly, holocaust industry critic, former DePaul University faculty member, Alan Dershowitz hater and victim (I don’t care what your stand is on anything regarding the Middle East, if you hate Alan Dershowitz, just how bad can you be?), and very smart guy, Norman Finkelstein.

The fight venue was Democracy Now! In a matter of minutes Indyk looked like he was a Gazan victim of an Israeli bombing raid of a residential neighborhood. Finkelstein was merciless as he just beat the hell out of Indyk exposing him for the lying Israeli-firster war mongering Zionist that he is. Here are some highlights of the fight, refereed by Amy Goodman. Areas in red are my emphasis. Additional Mantiq comments are also sometimes inserted. They are not in italics.

MARTIN INDYK: Good morning, Amy. Thanks very much for having me on the show. I feel a little bit sandbagged here.

Let me translate: this means he was unaware that he would be in a fair fight. He thought he was just coming on the show to bloat and gloat about his latest book. Goodman probably should have made it clear to him. Poor, poor baby.


I was not told that I was going to be in some kind of debate with Norman Finkelstein. I’m not interested in doing that. I’m also not here as a spokesman for Israel.

Yes you are. That is exactly what you are. Liar.

But I will try to answer your questions as best I can.

I think that what happened here was that there was a ceasefire, an informal ceasefire, between Hamas and Israel that had lasted for about five months. Hamas decided to break that ceasefire with a prolonged series of rocket attacks on Israeli civilians in southern Israel.


And the Israeli government responded with overwhelming force, designed, as they have said, to try to reestablish deterrence, to prevent Hamas from doing that again, and to try to get a ceasefire in place that would prevent Hamas from smuggling in offensive weapons into Gaza, the better to attack Israel.

His big fat lie to start right off left Finkelstein with an opening of sufficient size to fly an Apache helicopter through while firing at Palestinian children in the streets. Ready for the kill,  Finkelstein responds with “overwhelming force.”

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Well, the record is fairly clear. You can find it on the Israeli website, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. Mr. Indyk is correct that Hamas had adhered to the ceasefire from June 17th until November 4th. On November 4th, here Mr. Indyk, I think, goes awry. The record is clear: Israel broke the ceasefire by going into the Gaza and killing six or seven Palestinian militants. At that point—and now I’m quoting the official Israeli website—Hamas retaliated or, in retaliation for the Israeli attack, then launched the missiles.

Now, as to the reason why, the record is fairly clear as well. According to Ha’aretz, Defense Minister Barak began plans for this invasion before the ceasefire even began. In fact, according to yesterday’s Ha’aretz, the plans for the invasion began in March. . . .

Show co-host Juan Gonzalez asks if there has been a change in HAMAS position recently with respect to peace with Israel. Indyk, seemingly incapable of answering any questions without tossing in huge and unnecessary lies, answers in part:


I think the change that’s taken place is a change on the ground. Hamas, having won the PA elections and then—we don’t need to go into the details of that, but essentially what happened was, as a result of a competition between Hamas and Fatah over who would rule, Hamas took control of Gaza by force in what was, in effect, a putsch against the Palestinian Authority. It therefore moved from being a terrorist organization to a terrorist government, responsible for controlling territory in Gaza and responsible for meeting the needs of one-and-a-half million Palestinians in Gaza. . . .

The area in red is standard Zionist propaganda about what happened in Gaza. Any official Israeli spokesman would have said the same thing. Finkelstein replies by dropping huge phosphorus bomb on Indyk’s ass.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Well, I think the problem of Mr. Indyk’s presentation is he constantly reverses cause and effect. Just as he said a moment ago that it was Hamas which broke the ceasefire, although he well knows it was Israel that broke the ceasefire on November 4th, he now reverses cause and effect as to how the present impasse came about. In January 2006, as he writes in his book, Hamas came to power in a free and fair election. I think those are his words. He then claims on your program and he claims in his book that Hamas committed a “putsch”—his word—in order to eliminate the Palestinian Authority. And as I’m sure Mr. Indyk well knows and as was documented in the April 2008 issue of Vanity Fair by the writer David Rose, basing himself on internal US documents, it was the United States in cahoots with the Palestinian Authority and Israel which were attempting a putsch on Hamas, and Hamas preempted the putsch. That, too, is no longer debatable or no longer a controversial claim.

Sorry, just had to highlight the whole paragraph. The rest of his response is just as good. A bit later on he adds:

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: . . . . We have the Arab League, all twenty-two members of the Arab League, favoring a two-state settlement on the June 1967 border. We have the Palestinian Authority favoring that two-state settlement on the June 1967 border. We now have Hamas favoring that two-state settlement on the June 1967 border. The one and only obstacle is Israel, backed by the United States. That’s the problem.


Now it gets even better:


AMY GOODMAN: So, Ambassador Indyk, why doesn’t Israel accept this ceasefire?

MARTIN INDYK: Look, Amy, I was invited on to talk about my book and the Gaza situation. I was not invited on to debate with Norman Finkelstein, and I’m not prepared to do that. So if you want to talk about the situation, I’m happy to do that, but I’m not here to be the representative of the government of Israel. You can easily invite somebody on to—

His ass is still on fire and it’s there for everyone to see.

AMY GOODMAN: No, of course not. No, we’re asking your opinion. I don’t see you as the representative of Israel. But let me get your—

MARTIN INDYK: Well, why don’t we focus on some other issues, like the American role in this or something that—

AMY GOODMAN: Very good point.

Amy wimps out.

MARTIN INDYK: can get us out of this ridiculous debate, in which he’s just a propaganda spokesman for Hamas, you know.

The ridiculous part of this debate is Indyk’s sheer cowardice when confronted with his lies. Like Joe Lous going after Max Schmeling in their second fight, Finkelstein never lets up.

Then the show is basically handed over to Indyk to continue talking about his book lying for a good couple of minutes or more. No need to quote him here, as Finkelstein is allowed to respond to the lies.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Well, the record shows that Hamas wanted to continue the ceasefire, but only on condition that Israel eases the blockade. As your viewers surely know, long before Hamas began the retaliatory rocket attacks on Israel, Palestinians were facing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza because of the blockade. The former High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, described what was going on in Gaza as a destruction of a civilization. This was during the ceasefire period.

Now, I think it’s important to keep in mind Mr. Indyk wants to talk about the book. Well, I think we should talk about the book. In fact, I stayed up ’til 1:30 a.m. to complete the book, made sure I read up to page 415, read every word of the book. The problem is, with his book, as with his presentation here, is he systematically misrepresents the record of the peace process. He’s lying not only to his readers, but to the American people. He keeps putting the burden of responsibility for the impasse in the peace process on the Palestinians.

A moment ago, he referred to the “rejectionists” who are trying to block a settlement of the conflict. What does the record show? The record shows, I said a moment ago, for the past twenty or more years, the entire international community has sought to settle the conflict in the June 1967 border with a just resolution of the refugee question. Are all 164 nations of the United Nations the rejectionists? And are the only people in favor of peace the United States, Israel, Nauru, Palau, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Australia? Who are the rejectionists? Who’s opposing a peace?

According to Mr. Indyk’s account of the negotiations that culminated in the Camp David and Taba meetings, he says it was the Palestinians that were blocking a settlement. What does the record show? The record shows that in every crucial issue raised at Camp David, then under the Clinton parameters, and then in Taba, at every single point, all the concessions came from the Palestinians. Israel didn’t make any concessions. Every concession came from the Palestinians. The Palestinians have repeatedly expressed a willingness to settle the conflict in accordance with international law.

The law is very clear. July 2004, the highest judicial body in the world, the International Court of Justice, ruled Israel has no title to any of the West Bank and any of Gaza. They have no title to Jerusalem. Arab East Jerusalem, according to the highest judicial body in the world, is occupied Palestinian territory. The International Court of Justice ruled all the settlements, all the settlements in the West Bank, are illegal under international law.

Now, the important point is, on all those questions, the Palestinians were willing to make concessions. They were willing to allow Israel to keep 60 percent of the settlements, 80 percent of the settlers. They were willing to compromise on Jerusalem. They were willing to give up basically on the right of return. They made all the concessions. Israel didn’t make any concessions. How is this rendered in Martin Indyk’s book? It’s rendered as, quote, “Barak’s bold and courageous initiatives for peace” and “Arafat and the PLO rejecting the bold and courageous initiatives of Barak.” Constantly, he turns reality on its head.

AMY GOODMAN: Ambassador Indyk, your response to that?

MARTIN INDYK: I told you, Amy, I’m not here to debate Norman Finkelstein. That was not the ground rules that you set—

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: I’m talking about your book.

And showing what a piece of crap it is.

Finkelstein gets in the last word. A coup de grace.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN . . . And the main challenge for all of us as Americans is to see through the lies. And regrettably, those lies are again being propagated by Martin Indyk in his book with his pretense that it’s the Palestinians, and not Israel and the United States, which are the main obstacles to peace.

Now I want Any Goodman to invite Finkelstein to face off with Dennis Ross.

Americans Getting Another Ross Deal

After failing miserably to bring peace between the Israelis and Palestinians during eight years of the Clinton administration, Zionist hawk and Israel-firster Dennis Ross is being sent to the State Department to handle, in ways which remain vague, the Middle East and Iran portfolio there. I think the main reason he is there is to make absolutely sure that Hillary Clinton toes the Israeli line.

Dennis Ross should not be given any sensitive position in the US government as his life’s work demonstrates that he is clearly an agent of a foreign government and that his loyalties are to that government and not to these United States.  I want to take a few minutes here though to look at a little-discussed aspect of his life’s work to highlight the fact that he cannot possibly be trusted to keep America’s interests first.

At present, he is Chairman of the Board, of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute (JPPPI) which was established by the Jewish Agency for Israel and is headquartered in Jerusalem. He is also a “counselor” and Ziegler Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) founded by three former AIPAC officials and which functions as an intellectual arm for the Israeli Lobby. When not actively working for these two Zionist organs he sometimes teaches college classes, writes for newspapers and appears on Fox news.

WINEP is legendary and will be the subject of a later post. The JPPPI is not. But it is Israeli through and through and it is impossible for Ross to serve as its Board Chairman and not have close, long lasting, and no doubt very troubling ties to high officials in the Israeli government.  JPPPI’s website makes it obvious to anyone with half a brain that its members care first and foremost about only two things: Jews and Israel. I want US government officials who care about America first and foremost. But with Ross this is impossible.

The JPPPI’s home page makes its loyalties clear. (Red highlighting in mine.)

The mission of the Institute is to promote the thriving of the Jewish people via professional strategic thinking and planning on issues of primary concern to world Jewry. JPPPI’s work is based on deep commitment to the future of the Jewish people with Israel as its core state.

Ross is chairman of the board of an organization whose “core state” is Israel.  That alone should disqualify him from holding yet another sensitive position in our government.

Here are some of the activities of this organization whose core state is Israel. (Red highlighting is mine.)

  • I. JPPPI makes an annual presentation to the Israeli Cabinet as a whole on main developments in the Jewish world, offering its assessments and policy recommendations, some of which are already being implemented.
  • VI. JPPPI’s recommendations on expanding child care and other forms of assistance to Israeli families who desire a larger number of children were approved by former Prime Minister Sharon and will be discussed with Prime Minister Olmert.
  • VII. JPPPI’s recommendation to set up a Global Jewish People Crisis Management System to deal with terror attacks and natural disasters has been adopted by major Jewish communities and a global “Jewish People Crisis Management Forum” has been established.

Nice to see that Ross’ organization, founded by a foreign entity, briefs the very government at the highest levels that his organization considers its core state.

One would expect the board of the JPPPI to be filled with members from the core state and indeed it is.  Here they are (obvious Israelis in red):

Major-Gen Yaacov Amidror

Former head of Israel’s Military Defense College.

Prof. Uzi Arad

Former advisor to Israel’s Prime Minister and currently head the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Herzeliya Interdisciplinary Center.

Prof. Irwin Cotler

Member of the Canadian Parliament, Professor of Law and Director of the Human Rights Program at McGill University, Canada.

Major-Gen Uzi Dayan

Former Israel’s Deputy Chief of Staff and head of Israel’s National Security Council.

Mr. Sami Friedrich

Senior business consultant and former Director-General of Israel’s Ministry of Economics and Planning.

Prof. Ruth Gavison

Professor of Human Rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Mr. Steve Hoffman

President and CEO of the United Jewish Communities.

Prof. Suzanne Last Stone

Professor of Law at Cardozo School of Law and Director of its Program in Jewish Law and Interdisciplinary Studies.

Ms. Morlie Levin

Executive Director of National Hadassah since 2005. Formerly, she was a senior analyst at the RAND Corporation.

Prof. Judith Liwerant

Professor of Political Science at the University of Mexico, Mexico City.

Mr. Isaac Molcho

Former Israel’s Chief Negotiator with the Palestinian National Authority

Mr. Steve Nasatir

President of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago

Prof. Ya’akov Ne’eman

Former Israel’s Minister of Finance and Minister of Justice

Mr. John Ruskay

Executive Vice President of the UJA Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York.

Mr. Aharon Yadlin

Former Israel’s Minister of Education

Hmmm. Where do your loyalties lie Mr. Ross?

Ross’ letter from the JPPPI homepage is also revealing (red highlights are mine):

“Following a retreat in Caesarea, I began to think differently about the effort. I began to believe that the necessity of doing policy planning for the Jewish people might, in fact, be feasible. I began to see, together with other collaborators in this effort, that we could identify priorities to be addressed. It became clear that among thinkers from Israel and around the world of international Jewry, there was a consensus about certain issues that required not just analysis, but also policy recommendations.

Demographics, both in Israel and the Diaspora, needed careful consideration, particularly if Israel was to remain at the center of Jewish life. The rise of a new kind of antisemitism, one less geared to discrimination against the individual and more toward attempts to criminalize Israeli behavior, required recognition and strategies for contending with a dangerous new phenomenon. Identifying areas around the world where Jewish populations might be at risk, and responding to these possible threats seemed to take on new urgency with new economic realities in places like Argentina. There was a recognition that different strains of Judaism need to develop a compact for civil discourse, especially if in an era of greater challenge some of the broader and more worrisome demographic trends are to be dealt with. (Indeed, many of us agreed that the principle of Tikkun Olam – mending the world – could be very important in providing a sense of purpose for international Jewry at a time of globalization with its largely amoral compass.)

Israeli criminal behavior is not the problem in Ross’ eyes. The problem is anyone’s attempt to reign in that criminal behavior. This is the man who will be telling Hillary Clinton what do on the Middle East.

With Rahm Emanuel running Barrack Obama’s White House and Dennis Ross running Hillary Clinton, the Israeli occupation of the Executive branch will continue under Obama just as it was under Clinton and Bush.

Palestinians should be afraid, very afraid.

And so should Americans.