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A Heartwarming Tale of People Coming Together:

One thing I noted about Anisa Abd el Fattah's statements is their repeated and seemingly amicable reference to "White nationalists" -- e.g., "We also believe that the Jewish Lobby has acted to create an environment in the US that is hostile to Muslims, Arabs, and others, including White nationalists, and Christians ...." This Web page describing a page on which Anisa Abd el Fattah appeared (curiously, alongside Noam Chomsky) suggests that Abd el Fattah is black, and of course we know that she is a Muslim. Why then the specific support for White nationalists? Perhaps from a laudable desire to make sure that free speech is protected for all, including even those who would likely hate her for her race and quite likely for her religion?

I asked Abd el Fattah about this, building on her framing of what exceptions the First Amendment would have (exceptions that she sets forth to justify supressing certain speech from "the Jewish Lobby"):

I notice some references in your message to "White nationalists," but I'm not sure I quite grasp their connection to your argument. I take it that White nationalists tend to try to undermine the equal rights and equal protection of some US citizens. If so, what is exactly your complaint with regard to attempts to create a hostile environment for White nationalists?

She was kind enough to answer:

The point is that every American has equal rights to free speech. That aspect of White nationalist behavior that includes fear mongering, name calling, and intimidation is wrong, yet they argue that their actions result from their frustration that they are stereotyped, and misrepresented by the media and made to appear as enemies of blacks and Jews, and others, when they simply want to preserve the white race, and its majority status. They feel that Jewish supremacism threatens their existence, and that Jewish activism is aimed at limiting their rights, and many Christians feel that same way.

Most of what we are talking about here is how we can colllectively preserve and protect the identies, and rights of groups in the US that have conflicting desires, and sensitivties, while preserving a sense of nationalism, or rather Americanism that can serve as a glue for our society that is strong enough to hold our country togther in spite of some of the stark differences that we represent in race, religion, political outlooks, socio-economic backgrounds etc.

In our opinion, the Bill of Rights is that glue, and a near perfect social contract. I'm not suggesting that we are going to resolve these issues tommorrow, but I am suggesting that we must start. I am praying that the complaint will serve as a first word in a dialogue that will embrace all of the various groups, and that will remove all unfair stigmas, and stereotypes, allowing every group to define itself, and also to set the tone and rules for everyone's co-existence, and participation. The public space is increasingly smaller in my view, making it essential that we begin a dialogue on how 300 million people of different faiths, colors, races, cultures, attitudes, histories, hopes, etc., will share that space as equally and fully entitled American citizens.

Now please correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like she actually thinks the White nationalists have a point. True, she says, "That aspect of White nationalist behavior that includes fear mongering, name calling, and intimidation is wrong."

But then she goes on to explain how she feels their pain: "[Y]et they argue that their actions result from their frustration that they are stereotyped, and misrepresented by the media and made to appear as enemies of blacks and Jews, and others, when they simply want to preserve the white race, and its majority status. They feel that Jewish supremacism threatens their existence, and that Jewish activism is aimed at limiting their rights, and many Christians feel that same way." (She literally just says what "they argue" and "feel," but in context it seems like an endorsement of at least the legitimacy of their arguments.)

How touching! A black Muslim seeing white Nationalists not just as evil racists, but as people who have understandable grievances and simple desires. After all, "they simply want to preserve the white race, and its majority status"; simply that, and what they get out of it is "stereotyp[ing]," and "misrepresent[ation] by the media ... as enemies of blacks and Jews." (See here for a similarly touching story.) Seems hardly fair to the poor White nationalists, and even black Muslims should realize it. I mean, aren't we all brothers and sisters? All good Americans? Shouldn't we all be on the same side? Fighting against "the Jewish Lobby," of course.

VFBVFB (mail):
Its interesting that she is referred to as Dr. Anisa Abd el Fattah. I find it unlikely that someone who has a serious academic background would write "academician" rather than "academic." None of her bios on-line state what subject she received her doctorate in, or at what school. Anyone care to wager that she bought her "degree" on the internet?
1.23.2007 3:10pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
"The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

You've a living example of the phrase right here.
1.23.2007 3:13pm
r78:
EV

Aren't you shooting fish in a barrel here?

I am certainly not defending this broad's nutty views - but it seems that the attention you ave given here exceeds her previous exposure.

Not that there is anything wrong with occasional target practice on rhetorical sitting ducks . . .
1.23.2007 3:35pm
Thief (mail) (www):

Aren't you shooting fish in a barrel here?


Quoth Orwell, "We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men."
1.23.2007 3:40pm
egeorge:
White Nationalists are unsympathetic because they are generally ignorant and tribal, a part of our heritage most educated white people find embarrassing and shameful. But they do seem to get singular criticism relative to other groups that are no less ignorant and tribal, but have the luxury of minority or disadvantaged status. Just today the Congressional Black Caucus reportedly wouldn't allow a white member because he was white. Shouldn't black groups, Hmong groups, or any other group that advocates for one ethnicity, race or culture over another be considered equally vile? White Nationalism is pathetic, but how often do we hear glowing praise for someone who works hard for "Mexican" Americans--insert European or White and it's taboo. So I think if you believe that Muslim Americans need special rights, it makes sense to believe that White Nationalists need special rights too. Kudos for consistency!

I'm not a White Nationalist and would never associate with them, but I do think there's a double standard that makes discussion of ethnic politics hypocritical, and White Nationalists are, in this sense, "picked on", as unsympathetic as they are.
1.23.2007 3:43pm
NickM (mail) (www):
It's too bad Sasha Baron Cohen, as Borat, didn't interview her.

Nick
1.23.2007 3:54pm
Anonymous03 (mail):
This woman's views truly frighten me. On a minor note, you'd think she would use spell-check.
1.23.2007 3:59pm
Specast:
Gee, I could swear I once read an EV post about how sarcasm was an especially unpersuasive mode of argument. Not sure if I remember who it was, but he surely would have disapproved of the last paragraph of Eugene's post.

Anyway, a black muslim arguing for the free speech rights of a white nationalist is no more sarcasm-worthy than, say, Alan Dershowitz arguing for the free speech rights of Holocaust deniers. (I'm pretty sure I saw a recent EV post quoting Dershowitz on this point.) Either person is, in my mind, demonstrating that his/her position is one of principle, not mere convenience.

You may disagree with the principle, at least as she's articulated it. You may disagree that the principle has been put in jeopardy, at least as she contends it has been. But, here, sarcasm is an especially unhelpful response.
1.23.2007 4:01pm
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
Specast wrote:
Anyway, a black muslim arguing for the free speech rights of a white nationalist is no more sarcasm-worthy than, say, Alan Dershowitz arguing for the free speech rights of Holocaust deniers.


Bad analogy. All indications are that she praises their free speech simply because they are in agreement with her -- they hate the Joooooos. Would you praise Dershowitz if he were to stand up for Holocaust deniers because, "Hey, at least the Nazis persecuted Commies"?
1.23.2007 4:19pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Specast: (1) On the substance, I agree with Mike G, which is exactly what I tried to argue in the nonsarcastic parts of the post.

(2) The post you likely have in mind about sarcasm is Orin's; and while I largely agree with it, I read it as counsel to generally avoid sarcasm, not to avoid it always.

Here the urge to be sarcastic was just too hard to resist. I'm sorry it didn't work for you, but I hope it entertained some of the other readers.
1.23.2007 4:29pm
NYU 2L:
Specast:


Anyway, a black muslim arguing for the free speech rights of a white nationalist is no more sarcasm-worthy than, say, Alan Dershowitz arguing for the free speech rights of Holocaust deniers.


No, it wouldn't be absent other facts. Here, though, the black Muslim is doing this as part of an attempt to stifle the free speech rights of Jews. It would be quite sarcasm-worthy if Dershowitz was arguing for the free speech rights of Holocaust deniers as part of plaintiff's counsel for a libel suit against, say, Deborah Lipstadt.
1.23.2007 4:31pm
Michael Benson (mail) (www):
The post you likely have in mind about sarcasm is Orin's; and while I largely agree with it, I read it as counsel to generally avoid sarcasm, not to avoid it always.

I think sarcasm is generally justified when replying with a counter argument seems too trivial to bother with. Her position, that white nationalists are often merely responding to preserve their heritage from the Jewish lobby, is so absurd that there isn't much need to argue against it systematically. Indeed, it's not really worthy of such a retort. In that case sarcasm works pretty well.

If she had a more plausible point sarcasm might not be enough. Here I think it's plenty.
1.23.2007 4:38pm
A.C.:
What the heck is a white nationalist anyway? Since when was being white a nation? I know of Italian and Scottish and Polish nationalists, but not of white nationalists.

I suppose it's an analogy to black nationalists, which really meant black AMERICAN nationalists and had nothing to do with people in Cameroon or Botswana.

Guess it probably refers to those white Americans of no particular ethnicity (which is to say British, but not recently) who occasionally try to deny the last century and a half of (mostly white) immigration. They ARE a minority, of course, and most white people think they're almost as loopy as the Islamists. But since when have they been silenced? They make a great deal of noise, in my experience, but most of us ignore them.
1.23.2007 4:55pm
The General:
I think she really desies that Islam and Muslins can no longer be associated with the acts of Islamic terrorism. So long as they can be associated with one another, the policial desires of Muslims in America will be seen as suspicious and/or not-quite American, which in turn would prevent them from relizing those political desires.

Unfortunately for her, the acts of the 9/11 hijackers and suicide bombers have done more to give Islam a bad name than anything the "Jewish Lobby" has said or done.
1.23.2007 5:05pm
pmorem (mail):
I think you're being overly generous here, Eugene.

"White Nationalilsts" is another name for Neo-Nazis. It sounds to me very much like she is appealing for an alliance of everyone against "The Jews". Its been tried before.
1.23.2007 5:28pm
Steve:
White Nationalists are unsympathetic because they are generally ignorant and tribal, a part of our heritage most educated white people find embarrassing and shameful. But they do seem to get singular criticism relative to other groups that are no less ignorant and tribal, but have the luxury of minority or disadvantaged status. Just today the Congressional Black Caucus...

Why, this comment could merit a post of its own.
1.23.2007 5:32pm
tvk:
The fight here -- law professor v. fringe politician, subject: the First Amendment, audience: law geeks -- is definitely not fair.

On whether pervasive social criticism can become censorship, this is a question that has tons of ink spilled over it in the legal academy. While we tend to think of state action as a requirement for censorship; let me raise an extreme counterexample. Suppose a civil rights activist in the Jim Crow South was privately retaliated against by pervasive social sanctions short of physical violence. Is this not censorship? It might not violate the First Amendment, but would government intervention necessarily be a bad idea?
1.23.2007 5:32pm
e:
If someone favors limiting illegal immigration and she is white, does that make her a white nationalist? I cannot always pick out the jews from catholics in a crowd, so is it possible that someone can be a white nationalist and a member of that jewish conspiracy to rule the nation (and world)?
1.23.2007 5:42pm
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
The fight here -- law professor v. fringe politician, subject: the First Amendment, audience: law geeks -- is definitely not fair.

What would make it "fair" to you? Would Prof. Volokh have to take some drug that inhibited his memory and lowered his IQ 60 points?

On whether pervasive social criticism can become censorship, this is a question that has tons of ink spilled over it in the legal academy.

Ah, so it is a legitimate topic for discussion, after all.

While we tend to think of state action as a requirement for censorship; let me raise an extreme counterexample. Suppose a civil rights activist in the Jim Crow South was privately retaliated against by pervasive social sanctions short of physical violence. Is this not censorship?

This is not censorship. Suppose actor Michael Richards said something racist and demonstrably offensive and not funny to his audience, and suppose that he had been so strongly criticized that he felt forced to disavow his remarks and make a public apology for them. This is not censorship either.

It might not violate the First Amendment, but would government intervention necessarily be a bad idea?

IMHO it would be a terrible idea. Why would you think otherwise?
1.23.2007 5:47pm
tvk:


It might not violate the First Amendment, but would government intervention necessarily be a bad idea?

IMHO it would be a terrible idea. Why would you think otherwise?


For the same reason that tides of criticism from the Muslim community has shut out the Danish cartoons with unflattering depictions of Islam. For the same reason that an author must think twice before writing books that may offend. To be sure, much of this may be due to the threat of physical violence, but that is only the extreme logical end point to this truth: there are many types of intimidation and coercion that does not require state sponsorship.
1.23.2007 6:02pm
Waldensian (mail):

What would make it "fair" to you? Would Prof. Volokh have to take some drug that inhibited his memory and lowered his IQ 60 points?

An interesting question. What would one have to do to Prof. V to lower him, mentally, to the level of this deranged paranoid freak?

I think you would have to pair serious pharmacology with a program of repeated hammer blows to his head, possibly combined with repeated viewing of Three's Company re-runs.

For the record, I am not advocating that we try this.
1.23.2007 6:08pm
Specast:
Mike G, NYU 2L, and Eugene:

"All indications" are that she agrees with the white nationalist views? Come on, guys. Eugene doesn't really believe that. ("She literally just says what 'they argue' and 'feel,' but in context it seems like an endorsement of at least the legitimacy of their arguments"). She, as a black muslim, clearly does NOT agree with WN views about preserving their majority status or that WNs have been inaccurately "made to appear as enemies of blacks and Jews." She's actually bending over backwards to show that her free speech position is one that should apply to a group that is otherwise odious to her and even though the group will air views/feelings that she strongly disagrees with.

Which is why Eugene's oh-how-touching sarcasm was an especially inapt response. Let's not forget that Eugene was the one who ASKED her to explain the reference to WNs in the NAMAW statement on free speech. She did so ("kindly" and earnestly, you must admit) and Eugene's response was: "Well, isn't that special! Boo hoo!" It was the kind of response I'd expect from a Lou Dobbs or Bill O'Reilly or [can't think of a lefty -- Al Sharpton?].

And, NYU 2L, I don't read her complaint as asking that Jewish free speech rights be "stile[d]." (And, honestly, if I missed that part let me know.) I read it as arguing that efforts of Jewish organizations have stifled the free speech rights of others. I also read her/NAMAW's statement on the First Amendment the same way. Yes, she no doubt would love it if Jews would just shut up. But, then again, Dershowitz (and I, and probably you) would no doubt love it if Holocaust deniers would shut up.

Oh, how I hate to be defending someone who appears to be anti-Semitic, much less the likes of David Dukes or other white nationalists. I'm a garden variety moderate-lefty who detests the paranoid bigotry. But one of the things I like about the VC is that Eugene et al usually address issues with reason and fairness. That's why this last post stuck out.
1.23.2007 6:15pm
CaDan (mail):
Is there any indication that the National Association of Muslim American Women has more than one member?
1.23.2007 6:23pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
I predict when EV faces some real intellectual competition on issues of Israeli policies, he doesn't fare as well as he does here. Playing down -- even suggesting one takes stupid pills to lower their i.q. -- generally dulls your skills, while playing up -- scoring your points against real competition -- makes you sharper.

I think we're cherrypicking -- the tougher questions that seem to get raised in the comments are not responded to -- so that the intellectual "victory" seems bigger than it is. Then to dump on the "Jew jokes" really reinforced the minority "everyone hates me" viewpoint.

I'm glad that the victimization mindset among most American Jews -- maybe I just don't get the hatred level in the regions referenced in the joke -- seems to be dwindling. It's not good for any minority to think that everyone (Christians, Muslims, etc.) is always out to get them. That can't be a healthy way to live life or raise children, and again I warn against dulling your intellectual skills playing down to lesser competition. You tend to become "overrated" and sometimes don't even notice it yourself until the competition steps it up a bit, and you're left dithering about nonsense issues. Small victories, but ultimately meaningless in the big picture. Except for entertainment of course. But I do suspect one day we'll look back and wish we'd been concentrating less on the entertaining in these days, and more on the tackling of serious issues and follow up. Diversion of the serious is good, but not at the price of ignoring what is happening around you that has more serious consequence.

*Apologies if anyone considers this a true threat, that sharia law might be imposed on them, or that America's First Amendment is in any true danger here.*
1.23.2007 6:48pm
Yankev (mail):

The fight here -- law professor v. fringe politician, subject: the First Amendment, audience: law geeks -- is definitely not fair.

It is true that the professor has entered a battle of wits with an apparently unarmed opponent. But experience shows that if a lie is repeated often enough without objection, people start to believe the lie. Kudos to professor Volokh for not allowing the "doctor" to get away with it.

If you are bothered by the fairness, how about a fight between a bound American journalist and a group of Islamists on the subject of whether, as an American and a Jew, he has the right to continue living, in front of an audience of other Islamists?
1.23.2007 6:55pm
Kazinski:
Anisa Abd el Fattah's statements about White Nationalists is a perfect example of Blair's Law:

1. Blair's law

Coined by Australian journalist, Tim Blair as -

"the ongoing process by which the world's multiple idiocies are becoming one giant, useless force."

1. The alliance between the radical Left and extremist Islamists is an example of Blair's Law.
2. The fact that white supremicists like David Duke supported 'Mother' Sheehan's sit-in at Crawford, TX is an example of Blair's law.


That said there is a double standard about what is acceptable discourse for whites discussing other races and vice versa. Believe me I know, I am the sole white in a multi-racial household. But as a white male I don't have any racial insecurities, so its OK.
1.23.2007 6:56pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
But experience shows that if a lie is repeated often enough without objection, people start to believe the lie.

I don't know. This is kind of insulting to your fellow Americans if you really believe it, no?

Do you think there is a big danger of everyone listening to these kinds of "arguments" and suddenly becoming like EV reference in the joke following the post? Is this woman really a credible threat, her viewpoint, to our country? Or might the danger be in overreacting to her, and assuming her attitudes are hidden in the rest of the population?

Most people I know are strong supporters of the First Amendment, and they're not like the people in the Borat movie either (I've heard of scenes, but saved my money on that form of "entertainment". I wonder if you see enough of that, and really start to believe it, what that would do to your head though.)
1.23.2007 7:10pm
NYU 2L:
Specast:


I don't read her complaint as asking that Jewish free speech rights be "stile[d]." (And, honestly, if I missed that part let me know.) I read it as arguing that efforts of Jewish organizations have stifled the free speech rights of others.


Hey, I spelled "stifle" correctly! But anyways:

From the complaint: She asked the Justice Department to "take the necessary steps to end" practices such as:


2. These organizations have used their financial resources and also their formidable political influence to purposefully poison public opinion against Muslims, Arabs, and Islam in an attempt to demonize and vilify the same for political purposes, and to create an environment conducive to the deprivation of and denial of Muslim and Arab constitutional rights and repression of religious freedoms in respect to Islam.


So, she's asking the Justice Department to prevent the "Jewish Lobby" from "poisoning public opinion against Muslims", but is defending the free speech rights of Neo-Nazis to poison public opinion against Jews. I don't see another way to read the complaint and the above comment.
1.23.2007 7:33pm
SoCalJustice (mail):

Most of what we are talking about here is how we can colllectively preserve and protect the identies...



In our opinion, the Bill of Rights is that glue...


I get the feeling that by "we" and "our" she really just means "I" and "my" - and is just hoping that one day her organization will actually gain one or two like-minded Muslim women - if they even exist.
1.23.2007 8:03pm
SoCalJustice (mail):
I'm also guessing one reason she's so quick to respond and engage in dialogue with Prof. Volokh is that she probably has no one to talk to these days, now that UASR is closed for business and its former Exec. Dir. is Ismail Haniyeh's top aide in Gaza - even CAIR felt the need to distance themselves from her.

The "NAMAW" is probably an organization of one.
1.23.2007 8:09pm
Roy Haddad (mail):
"Suppose a civil rights activist in the Jim Crow South was privately retaliated against by pervasive social sanctions short of physical violence. Is this not censorship? It might not violate the First Amendment, but would government intervention necessarily be a bad idea?"

YES, because if sentiment against this person is pervasive, then any government intervention (assuming democracy) is going to reflect that sentiment, making it even *worse* for the civil rights activist.
1.23.2007 9:46pm
Cenrand:
ReVonna,

I admire your skillful ability to use innuendo to subtly insult those you disagree with.
1.23.2007 10:14pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Where did you find this nut? And why do you keep indulging her?
1.23.2007 10:18pm
Bleepless (mail):
There is nothing new about this crap. The keynote speaker at the 1961 annual convention of the Black Muslims was George Lincoln Rockwell, Commander of the American Nazi Party. Some callow youth in the balcony were rather vocal in their disapproval and were later denounced in print by the grand guru (or whatever), Elijah Muhammed.
1.23.2007 11:54pm
Ahmed (mail):
Of course it is insulting to fellow Americans to assume they will believe things they hear repeatedly that are unchallenged. What other possible conclusion could I come to?

And whether it's insulting or not -it's true. KKK? Black Panthers? Neo-Nazis? Branch Davidians? Scientology? Americans believe the stupid and radical and ridiculous all the time and have for centuries (just like those of all other lands).

The ONLY reason to tolerate free speech at all is because dumb ideas are valuable to debate against. John Stuart Mill did not advocate free speech just because he liked freedom - he felt, as we all ought, that bad ideas should be publicly discussed.

America has been split in the middle for quite some time. That means about at least half of us are wrong. Wanting the best for a country does not mean ignoring that a lot of Americans are wrong or even less then brilliant.
1.24.2007 12:03am
Ken Arromdee:
Is this woman really a credible threat, her viewpoint, to our country? Or might the danger be in overreacting to her, and assuming her attitudes are hidden in the rest of the population?

She's not a credible threat in the sense that someone will hear her and instantly decide to ally with neo-Nazis. But she's one point on a continuum, and someone could easily listen to her and be pulled a little bit towards her end of the political spectrum, simply because "moderate" means more extreme than it would mean if she wasn't around. The cumulative effect of a lot of little pulls can be quite bad.
1.24.2007 12:32am
ReVonna LaSchatze:
America has been split in the middle for quite some time.

Not about Hitler and the Holocaust, last time I checked. And not about whether Jews control too much speech either, so we need First Amendment restrictions. Unless they're just keeping it real, real quiet so the split doesn't show.

And whether it's insulting or not -it's true. KKK? Black Panthers? Neo-Nazis? Branch Davidians? Scientology?

Hyping a threat might be worse though. (Branch Davidians in Waco? Black Panthers in Chicago?) Unless you really are afraid and think this woman represents a true threat? In that case, I question your judgment.
1.24.2007 12:34am
Elliot123 (mail):
Ahmed,

A split in opinion does not mean either side is wrong. It may mean one side will prevail and another will not, but it tells us nothing else. Two sides may each present very reasonable and workable alternatives to handling a given situation. The fact that one is chosen by even a slim majority simply tells us we have learned to manage our differences.
1.24.2007 1:06am
ReVonna LaSchatze:
From today's news, tangentially related to the abstract discussion about fears, threat, reality, and hype:

Palestinians Beaten at Guilford College
By SAMUEL SPIES
Associated Press Writer

RALEIGH, N.C. — Three football players at Guilford College, a school with a Quaker background, face assault and ethnic intimidation charges after an attack on three Palestinian students, authorities said.

The victims were beaten with fists, feet and brass knuckles early Saturday by attackers who called them "terrorists" and used racial slurs, the News &Record of Greensboro reported Tuesday.

School officials believe about 12 people were involved in the altercation, Nic Brown, spokesman for the college in Greensboro, told The Associated Press. Administrators were still trying to determine whether some were fighting or trying to break it up, Brown said.

"We've had a very, very unfortunate event, unfortunate conflict among students who actually knew each other, and who had lived and interacted in the same residence hall with no conflict among themselves," Brown said.

Authorities charged Michael Bates, 19, of Reidsville; Michael Robert Six, 20, of Greensboro; and Christopher Barnette, 21, of Semora, with ethnic intimidation and assault and battery, according to court documents. They were released Monday on $2,000 bail.
1.24.2007 1:21am
Yankev (mail):

I don't know. This is kind of insulting to your fellow Americans if you really believe it, no?

Revonna, it is not insulting to my fellow Americans to believe that human nature is human nature. And I have seen it happen. How many Americans have swallowed the following lies, all of which can be DOCUMENTED as untrue, simply because they were repeated enough without challenge:
-UN Resolution 242 requires Israel to pull back immediately and unconditionally to the 1949 armistice lines.
- The 1949 armistice lines are internationally recognized borders.
-Abbas is a "moderate" who does not support attacks on Israelis and has not advocated the destruction of Israel.
-WMDs were the Bush administration's only -- or at least primary -- proferred justification for attacking Iraq?
-Iraq never committed acts of war against the US?
-The PLO renounced -- or never had -- the goal of destroying Israel.
-The settlements on the other side of the Green Line are the reason there is no peace between Israel and the Arabs?
-"Palestinians" are a distinct, historic ethnic group in the Middle East, with an ethnic identity that long predates the establishment of Israel?
-The Old City of Jerusalem is "historically Arab"?

I could go on, but why bother.
1.24.2007 10:29am
ReVonna LaSchatze:
I could go on, but why bother.

Off topic, but after reading the papers today, just can't help but wonder if there's any truth to reports of a deal between Israel and Syria. That would explain the sudden distrust of Americans and our loyal support: when you are acting behind someone's back, it sometimes comes out in that you have lowered expectations of your allies -- justifying that they'd treat you just as disloyally as you're going to treat them first. Pre-emptively perhaps.
1.24.2007 12:13pm
Spartacus (www):
tvk: "tides of criticism from the Muslim community has shut out the Danish cartoons"

I don't think it was the "tides of criticism" so much as the widespread threats and acts of violence.
1.24.2007 1:14pm
Spartacus (www):
RVLS: "America has been split in the middle for quite some time.

. . . not about whether Jews control too much speech"

So, is America united in agreeing that Jews do control too much speech, or that they do not? I certainly do not think so, though I have met some who do. Which of us is not part of the united America on this issue?
1.24.2007 1:18pm
Yankev (mail):

just can't help but wonder if there's any truth to reports of a deal between Israel and Syria. That would explain the sudden distrust of Americans and our loyal support: when you are acting behind someone's back, it sometimes comes out in that you have lowered expectations of your allies -- justifying that they'd treat you just as disloyally as you're going to treat them first. Pre-emptively perhaps.


U-huh; Israel is selling the US down the river? Gotta love you, Revonna, after all the time you've spent arguing that Israel is betraying US interests by NOT negotiating with the Arabs, now you're accusing Israel of disloyalty for negotiating with them. Ah, those pefidious Jews Israelis.

Not to mention all the times that the US has pulled the rug out from under Israel, or threatened Israel into risking its very existence. Even the present administration, which has been better than many, has fallen down in this regard.
1.24.2007 1:33pm
Spartacus (www):
tvk: "To be sure, much of this may be due to the threat of physical violence, but that is only the extreme logical end point to this truth"

Yes, and murder is "only the exteme logical end point" to telling someone you hate them. The point being? That we should always be nice, or we are on a slippery slope to violence? Or that Muslim violent reaction to the Danish cartoons was only the "extreme logical end point" or equivalent of, say, public shaming (like the one Anisa is here held up to)?
1.24.2007 2:25pm
Pantapon Rose (mail):
White nationalists are key to Islamists because of the OK City bombing. Anytime racial profiling is brought up, invariably OK City will be brought up. Anytime Islamists (or the left) argue that radical Christians are the real threat, OK City will be brought up, etc.
1.24.2007 2:29pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
I certainly do not think so, though I have met some who do.

I too suspect those who do are in the minority and pose us no credible threat.
1.24.2007 8:54pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
Not to mention all the times that the US has pulled the rug out from under Israel, or threatened Israel into risking its very existence. Even the present administration, which has been better than many, has fallen down in this regard.

Poor Yankev.
Poor poor Yankev.
I can't imagine how such distrust and insecurity affect your life. Hopefully you don't have to live in the United States and spend your days worrying how Americans threaten you. It really is sad this mindset, one reason I wish such minor "threats" weren't overly hyped.
1.24.2007 8:57pm
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
*Apologies if anyone considers this a true threat, that sharia law might be imposed on them, or that America's First Amendment is in any true danger here.*

That is of course absurd -- as absurd as the proposition that the life of a woman wearing revealing clothing on the street might be at risk in parts of France of all places, or the proposition that criticising elements of a certain religion might become illegal in so enlightened a land as, say, Britain. Or as absurd as the idea that "Congress shall make no law" would eventually be interpreted to mean that "Congress shall make any law it damn well pleases" with the justification that the to-be-prohibited act might offend someone, somewhere, or might conceivably affect interstate commerce.

Yes, that was an example of that sarcasm thingie. But it also reflects my suspicion that if Anisa Abd el Fattah's attempts to stifle free speech are not countered, then some judge, somewhere, just might agree with her.
1.24.2007 11:19pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
Yes, that was an example of that sarcasm thingie. But it also reflects my suspicion that if Anisa Abd el Fattah's attempts to stifle free speech are not countered, then some judge, somewhere, just might agree with her.

It's so hard to comprehend fear these days.
Don't worry.
No sharia law. No throwing Jews in wells.
Hope you slept well anyway. Maybe stop reading horror stories before bed, Mike G?
1.25.2007 6:45am
Yankev (mail):
No sharia law. No throwing Jews in wells.
Hope you slept well anyway. Maybe stop reading horror stories before bed,



I'm sure you think not, ReVonna. The fact is that it IS going on elsewhere in the world, and like it or not, it CAN happen here. Then again, in the 1930s the New York Times editorialized that Herr Hitler (y"sh) would never really do all the things he said he wanted to do to Germany's Jews -- the world wouldn't stand for it, said the Times, and besides the economic cost to Germany would be too high.

People like you believed the Times, and ridiculed people who didn't -- even when first-hand reports were smuggled out of Europe. And millions of people died unnecessarily as a result. And an entire culture was wiped out.

I do not think you would throw a Jew down a well, ReVonna. But I have every confidence, based on history and your own statements, that you would stand by as it happens, and prevent any action that might prevent it.

It's so hard to comprehend fear these days.

Yes, that is if you ignore history, current events and human nature.
1.25.2007 9:47am
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
No sharia law. No throwing Jews in wells.

Hey ReVonna --

Want to get together in France over a friendly bottle of wine? There's a picturesque little banlieue over there that I just know you'll love ... and I'm sure the residents of Clichy-sous-Bois will love you to pieces.
1.25.2007 2:32pm