From outside one will always triumphantly impress theories upon the world and then fall straight into the ditch one has dug, but only from inside will one keep oneself and the world quiet and true. /FK (Contact: TBONotebooks at fastmail.fm. The Blue Octavo Notebooks welcomes mail, although we cannot guarantee a response. Your email may be posted in part on The Blue Octavo Notebooks unless otherwise requested.) Please enjoy the notebook entries, and thanks for reading.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Long Live the Glorious Intifada.... Today IDF soldiers foiled a would-be suicide bomber’s heroic self-detonation “when they prevented a Palestinian man carrying an explosive device in his trousers from passing through the Erez Crossing from the Gaza Strip into Israel.” In yet another innovation of this ongoing campaign of Palestinian suicide-bombings, the belt had been sewn to resemble a pair of underpants. The next time you hear someone complaining about Israeli check points, ask him if he would prefer being blown up by someone wearing a vest packed with explosives or by someone wearing underwear packed with explosives.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Long Live the Glorious Intifada… Those who think a “one state” Israel-Palestine “solution”—that is, Jews living as a minority in a Palestinian majority state—is a neat idea might want to keep incidents like this in mind:

A navigating mistake almost led to a disaster on Saturday after three Israelis were saved in the last minute from a mob that was about to lynch them in the Kalandia refugee camp.

The three, who were in two trucks, mistakenly entered the camp yesterday afternoon. After several minutes a crowd of hundreds of young Palestinians gathered around them, tossing stones at the trucks. The mob tried to pull them out of the trucks and set the vehicles on fire.

An IDF Engineering Corps’ force, which was called to the scene, managed to rescue the Israelis from almost certain death. One driver sustained moderate wounds, while the other two were lightly injured. MDA ambulances evacuated them to Hadassah Hospital in Ein Karem.

From The Jerusalem Post:

Soldiers from a combat engineering unit extricated three Israeli truck drivers who narrowly escaped being lynched by a raging Palestinian mob in the Kalandiya refugee camp south of Ramallah on Friday night.

The soldiers accompanied the men to the A-Ram checkpoint south of Ramallah where waiting Magen David Adom crews transferred them to Hadassah-University Hospital in Ein Kerem.

Suffering from blows to their bodies and their faces covered in blood, the condition of one of the Israelis was described as moderate and the others light. The garbage truck drivers claimed they mistakenly entered the camp and were confronted by hundreds of Palestinians who threw bricks, metal rods, and stones at the vehicles, and attempted to force them out of the trucks and set them on fire.

"We didn't think they would attack us like animals, they wanted to kill us. I didn't know what to do, I was covered in blood ..I made it to the checkpoint and told the soldiers that three others were still inside a truck in the camp," truck driver Ya'acov Shabu told Channel 2.

The next time you hear someone whining about the Palestinian “right” of return to Israel, ask him or her if that vaunted “right” applies to Palestinians like these or other like-minded folks.

Of course, some who advocate a one-state “solution” may well have this sort of consequence in mind. (Oh, and isn’t it a good thing an IDF engineering unit was nearby? It doesn’t sound like any so-called “activists,” of either the Palestinian or international variety, were rushing to protect the three injured men, much less stand in solidarity with them….)

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Everything You Wanted To Know About Jews (But Were Too Afraid To Ask). Or, See: Western Money, Business and Media—Zionist Control Of. Al-Ahram’s book reviews are usually interesting enough, so let’s see what we have this week. The current “Books Supplement” features reviews of four books, two of which are about everybody’s favorite topics, Jews and Israel. Rashad El- Shami’s Mawsouat Al-Mustalahat Al-Diniya Al-Yahoudiya (Encyclopaedia of Jewish Religious Terms) comes to us courtesy of the Egyptian Office for Distributing Publications. This opus “includes 800 specifically religious Jewish terms,” not to mention specialized terms that are “anthropological, sociological and theoretical as well as Jewish.” Hopefully, per Lenny Bruce, this encyclopedia of Judaica explains such essential Jewish terms as Count Basie, Ray Charles, New York, chocolate, pumpernickel, black cherry soda, macaroons, and mouths (cf. Titties). So, dig:

El-Shami's encyclopaedia makes a fine job of addressing the lay reader, summarising as it does the principle constituents of Jewish religion, their implications for the creed of the present-day religious Jew, and their reverberations in modern history. He traces not only the historical-mythical and conceptual roots of these terms and their functions in Jewish social and political life in various historical eras, but also their development through the history of Judaism and the part they play in Jewish religious thought. This is intended to lead to a more or less complete understanding of the mentality of religious Jews, their hopes and fears, their collective aspirations and sense of identity and the bearing they have on 21st century international relations. The book also delineates how religious Jews live their lives, what the Jewish creed imposes on them and how they interpret its doctrines in their present, politically charged context. Such aims El-Shami admirably achieves, illuminating, in addition, the implications of the Jewish creed and the historical baggage Jews continue to carry for the Jewish perspective on the (Arab) Other. Indeed the terms on which his analysis relies could not have been more varied. They cover the full creedal and political spectrum, delving into religious traditions and conventions, rituals of worship like fasting and pilgrimage, social customs and rites, notions of death and the after-life and the full range of new and old sects. El-Shami also covers holy sites, synagogues, the religious judiciary, prophets, religious figures and internal points of contention. The picture that emerges, finally, is thorough and surprisingly varied, and it is in this context that the average "Arab intellectual" is unlikely to be familiar with it. In much the same way as El-Messiri's, El-Shami's book performs an educational as well as academic function; and its contents are so simply delineated, its concepts so clearly explained, it requires but a minimum of concentration on the part of the uninitiated lay reader. It is in this sense that it can be said to fill a crucial gap in Arabic literature on the topic.

Phew, not bad for 368 pages, but one can’t help but wonder if “literature” is a bit of an understatement here. Anyway, I’m sure this “simply delineated” encyclopedia of Jewish religious terms avoids the sorts of objectifying and dehumanizinig tendencies that everybody knows were the banes of (dare we say it?) Orientalism.

Also reviewed is Salaheddin Hafez’s 465-page tome Tazyeef Al-Waei: Aslihat Al-Tadlil Al-Shamel (Falsifying Consciousness: Weapons of Mass Deceit), published by Cairo’s Sutour Publications. Al-Ahram doesn’t mention that the author is a former deputy editor of the paper, but whatever (see: Al-Ahram, evidence of professional credibility (cf. Unicorns)). Of the two books, this is probably the one to take to the beach or to read out loud to your sweat heart.

Salaheddin Hafez's introduction to this book affords a more or less complete picture of its contents. "We rest content with complaints about American bias, grieving over the rubble of Israeli destruction and aggression in Palestine and groaning constantly as we speak of the hegemony of American globalisation over our affairs, and the Zionist Lobby's control of Western money, business and media," the author writes. "We forget, or pretend to forget, that we own much, with which we can build a free will and a strong resistance, if we manage to employ it properly. But what to do about [the Arabs'] limited vision, intellectual stasis and lack of imagination. The issue of mind formulation and consciousness creation has become one of the most important issues, receiving special attention throughout the world, as a result of the scientific realisation that it is crucial to policy-making, without which healthy, conscious minds, states and societies remain unable to make progress in any field. And there are conditions for building such minds, the first of which is the guarantee of freedoms: the freedom of thought and research, freedom of opinion and expression and the press, freedom of creed and innovation and the freedom to work and participate. To say anything else would mean either professing falsehood or falsifying." Such is the book's harsh message. Written in a somewhat overly rhetorical style, it calls for a direct confrontation with Arab failures and blunders, favouring relentless critique over optimism.

It’s nice to see the Secretary-General of the Association of Arab Journalists calling for a free press and all that. Indeed, I’m sure Hosni Mubarak, Bashar Assad, the Saudi Royal Family, King Abdullah II, and the rest of the gang will get right on it. If, for some reason, they don’t, see: Zionist entity, everything the fault of.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Hep baseball cap (worn backwards, of course): $14.95. Chic, designer spectacles: $149.50. Shrieking “peace activist” (nonviolent variety, of course) in throes of orgasmic self-righteousness: Priceless, or something.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Layola, Loyola; Teaches, Taught; Religious Studies, Law. Or: The (Not-So) Curious Case of Sarah Whalen. In Context has a round-up of some of what we know (or don’t know) about the entity known as Sarah Whalen. Whalen, you’ll recall, in addition to writing the occasional witty and engaging article for Arab News may (or may not) have taught law and/or other subjects, perhaps (or perhaps not) as a professor, at Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans, Louisiana. Or perhaps she was at Layola. It’s all just… fascinating, eh? Maybe one of these days Whalen will help straighten this out….

Saturday, August 14, 2004

The Olympic spirit in action:

Iran's double world judo champion Arash Miresmaeili is out of the Olympics after being drawn against an Israeli, Ehud Vaks, in the first round of the men's under-66kg category. Since the Islamic revolution in 1979 Iran has refused to recognise the state of Israel's right to exist. The secretary to the Asian Judo Union president, Hirofumi Otsuji, confirmed Miresmaeili would be withdrawn from the competition. Under International Judo Federation regulations he could also be sent home. Miresmaeili had been in line to carry Iran's flag during yesterday's opening ceremony.

Absolutely pathetic. But wouldn’t a stronger statement simply have been to defeat the athlete from the accursed Zionist entity? Ah, but perhaps the courageous Miresmaeili didn’t want to risk being beaten by a Jew on the international stage. That would never do. Humiliation and desperation, and all that.

This is hardly the first time someone has taken advantage of the Olympics to execute an act of anti-Israel sentiment.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

“The Jewish Desire to Control Capital,” and other antisemitic tropes. Arab News, once again proving that if it weren’t for Israel and the Jews they would be bereft of much of their news coverage (both factual and otherwise), dishes up yet another dose of editorial bigotry. Today’s spew includes the cartoon (Kerry and Bush fanning Ariel Sharon, who is saying “I have all the Jewish votes in my hands…”) and a lovely editorial by the always entertaining Hassan Tahsin, entitled "Zionist Interference in European Politics."

If we want to address European-Israeli relations, much will have to be reviewed. It begins with Europe’s general relations with Jews and their status in Europe. This must also include how Christian European nations rejected the presence of Jews among them.

They refused to deal with Jews and would not accept the Jews’ refusal to merge with the communities they lived among in addition to not accepting the Jewish desire to control capital. Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice” reflects the attitude of Europe in wanting to be rid of Jews. Europe is aware that it is Israel that polarizes all Jews. It is also working against the Arabs’ welfare and serves Western interests.

For example, Germany paid billions of dollars to compensate Israel for what the French writer Jaroudi termed “Holocaust lies.” Czechoslovakia provided support to Jewish gangs in eliminating the Palestinians. As for Austria, it opened its airports and ports to receive those who wanted to immigrate to occupied Palestine. Over the past years, thanks to France, Israel was the only nuclear and military power in the Middle East; in addition, Norway supported them with water.

The comment about “the French writer Jaroudi” and his term “Holocaust lies” is likely a reference to French Holocaust-denier Roger Garaudy. Of course, this would hardly be the first time that Hassan Tahsin has dabbled in antisemitic falsities. I know, I know: It’s shocking that our Saudi allies see fit to disseminate such filth in their media, but so it goes… and goes…

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Here’s another charming cartoon from Arab News, featuring half-a-dozen, gee, I dunno—Lutherans, maybe?—who are wearing black hats and payess. Or perhaps this is just another Der Sturmer-esque depiction of Jews. Disgusting, as usual, and courtesy of our allies, the House of Saud. With friends like these….

This is kinda interesting, I guess:

Cannabis plants for home-growing and small bags of dried cannabis. Israeli soldiers suffering from combat stress after tours of duty in the Palestinian territories could soon be treated with cannabis to relieve their symptoms, the Israeli army said.(AFP/ANP/File/Sjoerd Van Delden)

More info here. Certain self-proclaimed “peace activists” will now have yet another self-righteous reason to hate the IDF: The IDF is totally bogarting all the good cannabis, man!

Monday, August 02, 2004

“We’re so nonviolent, even our violence is nonviolent!” Here’s a picture of Palestinian demonstrators and International Solidarity Movement (ISM) “activists” (who are nonviolent, you understand) “nonviolently” attacking a section of Israel’s anti-terrorism fence. This is certainly not the first time ISM partisans have (nonviolently) attacked or otherwise vandalized Israel’s anti-terrorism fence, or directly and deliberately interfered with Israeli anti-terrorism efforts. As pictures like this show, the ISM’s protestations that theirs is a nonviolent organization are cheaper than a dime-a-dozen. The ISM offers such doting claims of peacefulness and nonviolence to show that they can (loudly) talk the talk of such noble principles, but when it comes to actually walking the walk, well, they’re busy vandalizing property, living with the families of or shacking up in the homes of so-called “martyrs,” attending rallies that feature terrorist groups; distracting soldiers until people can hurl rocks at them; and so on and so forth, all of which have been documented on this blog. As anybody can see, the ISM’s vaunted claims of nonviolence simply don’t hold up in the face of, among other things, photographic evidence of the group in action.

According to the “Mission Statement” on their webpage, “The nonviolence ground-rules for the ISM are as follows (sic):” We will carry no weapons; We will not bring or use any alcohol or drugs other than for medical purposes; We will respect all the various agreements concerning the actions [TBON note: Huh?]. Such banal “ground-rules,” of course, preclude very little, if anything, in terms of actual violence, and so it’s no surprise that actions such as violently assaulting an Israeli security fence are, in the ISM’s enlightened albeit grammatically garbled worldview, somehow in accordance with being “nonviolent,” and blowing up a bus full of civilians is an act of “resistance.”

Here’s a picture from an earlier demonstration that featured the ISM. Now, don’t let the angry, snarling faces fool you: These folks are quite peaceful and nonviolent (even when they’re not), and they’re flashing “Peace” signs, not “V for Victory” signs.

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