Posts Tagged Iran

Fear of new immigrants: just part of the process?

I had a thought today related to an argument that I have often seen against hysteria around Muslim immigrants. Here is Lainie Anderson giving an example:

There’s no such thing as the bogeyman, just a scapegoat | Article | The Punch.

Australia has a bogeyman. His face changes every few decades: once he was Russian, then he was Asian.

Right now he’s Muslim, probably a queue jumper with bags of cash to pay people smugglers, but definitely a new arrival.

The argument is that the previous waves of migrants (Irish, Italians, Jews, Asians) were all subjects of some kind of hysteria too and they turned out ok, so we should give the Muslims the benefit of the doubt because they will also turn out ok.

What if that is missing a part of the picture? It could be that these groups are now “ok” (read: assimilated into Australia) not in spite of this widespread fear and suspicion, but because of it.

What if the demands from the public to “prove” that they were “really Australian” compelled the community to accept Australian culture and expedited the assimilation process, so that they could put the fear to bed?

Is this whole process a method that our society has developed for self-correcting when a group arrives with clashing values?

I’m not convinced, but it seems like an interesting idea. I would welcome any thoughts one way or the other.


Note: I am aware of how offensive this may sound to some people, so I probably need to disclaim that it is just a thought exercise and does not reflect any opinion that I hold.

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[Video] Hilarious Peter Berg Israel interview

Peter Berg, director of the new movie ‘Battleships’, was interviewed on Israeli Channel 10 recently.

During the interview, he decided to talk about “more important” things than his movie: like how difficult Bibi and Barak’s decision is on Iran. The highlight is definitely when he starts having a go at the “refusenik” interviewer. Watch it below:

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So calling Iran “liars” is not politically correct

Lee Smith on the anti-nuclear “Fatwah” that no one seems to be able to find anywhere, but must exist somewhere, right?


Ayatollah Khamenei’s Alleged Anti-Nuclear Fatwa May Not Actually Exist – Tablet Magazine.

Consider, for instance, the New York Times account of the anti-nuclear fatwa: “[S]ome analysts say that Ayatollah Khamenei’s denial of Iranian nuclear ambitions has to be seen as part of a Shiite historical concept called taqiyya, or religious dissembling. For centuries an oppressed minority within Islam, Shiites learned to conceal their sectarian identity to survive, and so there is a precedent for lying to protect the Shiite community.”

Yes, taqiyya—or deceiving nonbelievers in order to protect yourself—is a significant concept in Shia Islam, but so what? If, say, a Shia burglar is caught with stolen goods in Brooklyn, and he tells the NYPD that he actually just found the TV and toaster, is he practicing taqiyya, or is he simply lying? When we’re dealing with Muslims and the Middle East, Americans have proven virtually incapable of seeing matters clearly. There’s always some exotic interpretation on offer when the more mundane explanation seems politically incorrect.

In effect, this country’s intellectual and political elite—including policymakers from the Bush and Obama Administrations—consistently entertain Orientalist conceits. The Muslim world, in their view, is a region of surpassing strangeness that can only be comprehended, and even then only dimly, by familiarizing ourselves with alien concepts, like taqiyya and fatwas.

Similarly, we seem incapable of grasping how Muslim leaders are motivated by the sort of mundane desires that consume their Western counterparts, like power and wealth. No, that’s banal, and insufficiently Oriental. The Iranians don’t really care about becoming the hegemon in the oil-rich Persian Gulf and lording it over their Sunni Arab neighbors; all they’re really interested in is the return of the 12th imam. After all, they’re so different from us; they write fatwas!


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Olmert Rebukes J Street at their own Conference

Anyone else who just watched Ehud Olmert addressing J Street saw a great performance from the former Israeli Prime Minister. I have a feeling that it was not quite what the organisers of the conference had envisioned when they organised for him to give the keynote address at their conference.

Olmert did criticise the current Israeli Government (he is from the opposition party after all) and he did laud J Street as a legitimate pro-Israel organisation, but he made a lot of points that run counter to J Street’s narrative and policy platforms.

For instance, he spoke about the Iranian threat to Israel and made it clear that the military option, while a last resort, is on the table in order to prevent a nuclear Iran. Also, after speaking at length about the need to make peace and how the current Israeli Government is not moving towards peace (which I don’t entirely disagree with), he very bluntly stated that Palestinians have responsibilities and they do not always meet those responsibilities — proceeding to detail the generous proposal he made to Mahmoud Abbas and how this was walked away from.

(I will note that he spent a while heaping praise on Abbas and explaining that Abbas does not support terrorism and is a partner for peace. My feeling is that this may be true, but Abbas faces a lot of internal opposition in Fatah.)

Most importantly, he said that he will not ask J Street to go to their government and ask them to pressure the government of Israel. As he said, “is this an American problem?” This is exactly the argument I have been using against J Street’s methodology. Israeli government policy is an Israeli problem, it is not America’s place to pressure them one way or the other and doing so often backfires — creating resentment for America in Israel, winning sympathy for the more extreme elements of Israeli society and generally hardening the Israeli mindset against America’s agenda.

Barukh Binah, the deputy chief of mission at Israel’s Washington embassy, made a similar point when he addressed the conference. I hope (but don’t expect) that J Street’s leaders will take this on board and start re-evaluating their raison d’etre. There are a lot of more productive uses of their time than lobbying Congress.

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Criticising an organisation you do not understand: J Street and AIPAC

To my readers: I’m sorry that this week has been completely focussed on Israel and Toulouse. Hopefully regular blogging will resume soon.

Myriam Miedzian says AIPAC’s policy is making American Jews less liberal on Israel. Her solution, naturally, is to plug J Street.

Myriam Miedzian: How the Split on the Jewish Left Helps AIPAC and What Can Be Done About It.

according to a 2011 poll commissioned by J Street 67 percent of American Jews would support U.S. leadership in helping to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict even if it meant “publicly stating its disagreements” with Israelis and Arabs. This is contrary to AIPAC’s position of pressuring our government into supporting Israel’s conservative leaders.

… Most American Jews remain exceptionally liberal  … It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that AIPAC influences U.S. Jews to be less liberal on Israel than on other issues.

I am completely sick of reading this kind of thing. I noticed that Miedzian hyperlinked references to most of what she said, but not to the bolded sentence. The reason why she didn’t? That is not AIPAC’s position.

J Street and its supporters everywhere have been dismantling a straw man for the past two years, completely missing what AIPAC in fact Read the rest of this entry »

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Roxon right on Sharia

I have to confess to being a little underwhelmed when I heard that Nicola Roxon had been appointed Attorney-General instead of Robert McClelland – a solid if unremarkable A-G. This, of course, is the same Nicola Roxon who, as then health minister, once referred to herself as “Nanny Nicola”. From what I could tell, she was definitely cast from my least favourite political mould – the “I know what’s best for you and I’m going to make sure you do that whether you want to or not” kind of politician. I am a big boy now, thanks, and I very much resent this attitude.

That said, it seems I may have underestimated Ms Roxon to a degree. I was very happy to read this headline over the weekend:

Roxon baulks at role for sharia by Australian Muslims | The Australian.

“There is no place for sharia law in Australian society and the government strongly rejects any proposal for its introduction, including in relation to wills and succession,” Ms Roxon said.

“The Australian government is committed to protecting the right of all people to practise their religion without intimidation or harassment, but always within the framework of Australian law.”

Note: I will forgive Roxon this, but “sharia” means “Islamic law” – calling it “sharia law” is a tautology.

Roxon was speaking in the context of a woman who wanted to obey the “sharia” with regards to inheritance for her children, which means that her sons inherit double the share inherited by their sister. It is very important to be aware of these kinds of rules within sharia, because many people from Roxon’s side of politics will defend the right of Muslims to their own sharia courts on the basis of moral relativity in various guises, such as “ethnic diversity” or “cultural sensitivity”.

The inheritance law is not the only aspect of family sharia that is inimical to Australia’s (and the West’s) values. For instance, as anyone who has seen Academy Award-winning Iranian film A Separation will know, sharia also mandates that in a divorce, the husband has the right to decide: a) if his wife is even permitted to divorce him and b) who keeps the children. Note that this is not dissimilar form the Orthodox Jewish concept of a “Get” – one that I strongly oppose and one that most Orthodox communities try desperately to find loopholes around (such as effectively excommunicating husbands who refuse to divorce their wives).

I will pause at this point to note that, Read the rest of this entry »

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All these drums, where’s the fife?

Apparently the “drums of war”  keep beating for Iran:

U.S., Iran, Israel should cool the rhetoric –

In 2012, hard-nosed rhetoric from the United States and Israel has accompanied an ever louder drumbeat for a possible “military option” to combat Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran’s nuclear adventure | The Australian.

THE war drums are beating and people everywhere should be speaking out against this latest plan for aggression masquerading as justifiable pre-emptive strategy.

But it’s not a true war march without the fife. Here’s how a  real nation goes to war:


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Iran’s amateur assassins could take some tennis tips from Mossad

Now that video footage has been released of the Iranian bombers in Thailand, it is obvious why so many people have been talking about how pathetic their intelligence act has been lately. In Mossad’s mostly successful assassination of a Hamas operative in Dubai a couple of years ago, Emerati police released video footage of the Mossad assassins. Yes, it’s bad that they were caught, but this happened well after the plot had worked (i.e. they killed the bad guy) and no one blew their own legs off.

Why is this? Well, check how suave the Israeli agents looked in their disguises:

See? They blend seamlessly into the background, just like all the other pornstars in Dubai shooting a tennis-themed porno. The Iranians did have the dark glasses and the moustaches, but they forgot the tennis gear! Look at this video (should start at 0:10).

See what I mean? Amateurs!

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Best Responses To Bin Laden’s Death

1. The Jews Did It

And that picture proves it.

Bin Laden – the conspiracy? – Israel News, Ynetnews.

The website compared satellite footage and imagery of the area with Israel’s outline and concluded that the main house – where bin Laden was captured and killed – is located where Jerusalem can be found on a map of Israel. The compound’s gate parallels the location of Tel Aviv, its dumping ground matches the location of Tiberias, and another building matched the location of Haifa.

2. He was a Jew anyway

At least according to the Iranian government.

Iranian MP: Bin Laden was Zionist puppet – Israel News, Ynetnews

“He was just a puppet controlled by the Zionist regime in order to present a violent image of Islam after the September 11 attacks,” he said, adding that the al-Qaeda leaders assassination proves he had “an expiration date” forcing the US to kill him. “Bin Ladens death reflects the passing of a temporary US pawn, and symbolizes the end of one era and the beginning of another in American policy in the region,” Kosari said.

3. I guess he’s a cat person…

Some Palestinian preacher.

At Al-Aqsa Mosque, Preacher Eulogizes Bin Laden| MEMRI.

Preacher: “Today, the dogs of the West are rejoicing at the killing of one of the lions of Islam. Today, the West rejoices at the killing of one of the lions of Islam. We say to them, from the Al-Aqsa Mosque, from the heart of the Caliphate, which, Allah willing, is soon to come: Dogs should not rejoice at the killing of lions. A country of dogs will always remain a country of dogs, while a lion remains a lion even after it is killed.

“We will not forget all the crimes being committed by these American dogs in all the Muslim countries.

“Even if a lion is killed, the nation of one billion Muslims will give birth to hundreds of millions of lions.

“We say [to President Obama]: You said yourself that you personally gave the order to kill Muslims. Know that the day will soon come when you find yourself hanging from the gallows, next to little Bush, and next to all your cronies involved in the killing of Muslims.”

4. The Jews loved it

Well, at least one Young Adult Chabbad rabbi did.
Is It Okay to Celebrate Bin Laden’s Death? – The Big Picture

What is so terrible, after all, about celebrating the death of a wicked evildoer? Why would you even think it decrepit to rejoice that a man who himself rejoiced over the demise of thousands of others, and connived ingeniously to bring destruction and terror across the globe, should now be removed from it? Is it so horrible to feel happy that the world has just become a better, safer and happier place?

No, it’s not. That’s perfectly legit. On the contrary, someone who is not celebrating at this time is apparently not so concerned by the presence of evil upon our lovely planet. Those who are outraged by evil are carrying now smiles upon their face. The apathetic don’t give a hoot.

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Hizballah World – Fun for the whole family

Fun for all the family

Reports came out last year of a bizarre theme park created by Hizballah, but now some genius from Vice Magazine has photographed it and provided some pretty funny commentary.

I took the liberty of thinking up some rides for their expansion:

  • Beauty and The Bomb – Live On Stage
  • Cinderella’s Crater
  • Honey I Shot The Kids
  • The Many Adventures of Whinnie The Prophet (peace be upon Him)
  • Beirut Lightyear: Space Ranger Spin
  • Slaying Private Ryan
  • Space Madrassa
  • Flaying Nemo – The Musical
  • Harry Potter and the Adulterers Stoned
  • Pirates of the Gulf of Aden
  • Rock ‘N Rollerkatushya – Strring Aerosmith
  • It’s A Shiite World After All(ah)
  • Snow Shiite’s Terrifying Adventures

Click here to see the actual park:


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