France24 has launched The Observers, a new, bilingual citizen journalism initiative. At the behest of staff writer Roi Ben-Yehuda, I became an Observer last week, and gave my thoughts on a new Israeli government drive to encourage teens to do their obligatory military duty.
As someone who, when they came of age in 1985, did not do their service, I explain why, as well as criticize a new state-produced video designed to prevent kids from doing the same. Check it out. The following response, by the anonymous Yael, is worth the price of admission alone.
Later on this week, Roi will be running a piece on the first Tel Aviv Sex Festival, which was held a little over a week ago. I'll be reprising my Observer role as part of the proceedings.
Attributed to progressives sympathetic to Islamist criticisms of Israel and Zionism, this genre of anti-Semitism is the least understood form of prejudice against Jewry. Viewed as opportunist in its support of Islamic and right-wing Arab views of Jews and Zionism, as a means of disguising racism as anti-colonialism, left-wing anti-Semites are treated almost as though they are false progressives, who don the multicultural mantle of the left in order to be openly prejudiced.
Jews are incited against not because they profess an inferior culture or religion, but because the object of their faith is a state that discriminates against non-Jews, specifically, Muslims. Because their concept of the state is so integral to their religious identity, Jews are viewed as being inherently biased against non-Jews. Whether they are Diaspora or Israeli Jews, the foundational importance of the Zionist state, as an exclusively Jewish state, is supposed to be similarly viewed by progressives and by Islamists as an iconographic instance of the core politics of Jewish identity.
In short, Judaism is a synonym for racism because behind it hides Israel. Progressives aren't supposed to like Judaism, first, because Israel stands for the indivisibility of religion and state, and second, in the form of the Israeli state, for the official practice of discrimination against Palestinians on the basis of their ethnicity. Though Judaism is found to be deeply problematic, both historically and theologically, the notion of returning to the promised land that Zionism prescribes is less important than how it is understood to function as a cultural cover for the West's theft of Arab lands.
When I first heard San Antonio's Fearless Iranians from Hell, I thought they were terrible. Just another thrash band, with predictably bad metal leanings. But, twenty years later, the project's singularity is painfully obvious.
Faux-Middle Eastern hardcore, featuring the bass playing of an ex-member of the Butthole Surfers on the late, great Boner label, I played this hilarious 1986 EP back to back this morning with Muslimgauze, and it made a whole lot more sense.
While I'd argue that the concept is definitely stronger than the execution, one of the great things about punk has always been that as a form of critique, given the right context, sometimes a good idea is all that's really required.
The killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002 was of particular importance in reinforcing this understanding of Pakistan. A Jewish-American reporter engaged in a multiethnic marriage, Pearl's murder by Islamic militants was promoted as an iconographic instance of the clash of civilizations thesis, transposed to America’s relationship with Pakistan. The ideological tensions inherent in emphasizing Pearl as though he were the US - multicultural, liberal, interfaith - to Pakistan as uncivilized, violent, politically corrupt and religiously intolerant - ought to be clear.
Pearl represented America, and its actualization of the ideals it was promoting on the War on Terror, which Pakistan, with its tribes, its madrassas, and its fundamentalists was in conflict with. This made Pearl a martyr-equivalent to domestic neoconservatives. If Americans wanted more nuance in news coverage of the country than Pearl’s remembrance allowed, they had to seek it out from foreign news sources such as the BBC and The Guardian.
- From a report I recently wrote about south Asian news coveragein the US
It was a hard decision to make, but I had to do so. For the last twelve months, I desisted from doing any freelance work in order to reserve all of my energies for Israel vs Utopia.
Now that the book is in my editors' hands, today, my first article since last March was published by Zeek. And, on Tuesday, I conducted my first formal interview since I spoke to Jimmy Carter in December 2006.
Look forward to reading a conversation about Middle Eastern news media with Link TV's Jamal Dajani in Zeek next month. To call it informative would be an understatement.