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.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Israel, blah, blah, blah…. Zionists, blah, blah, blah…. Mean ol’ Sharon, blah, blah, blah… Oh, and Iraq. Well, this is somewhat interesting, perhaps even amusing, although not especially surprising: In the (so-called) “Opinion” section of today’s Arab News, four out of the five op-eds are about the accursed Zionist entity, er, Israel. The fifth editorial is about Tony Blair and Iraq, but comes courtesy not of Arab News but The Guardian. Ho hum. Well, as I’ve noted before, if Israel didn’t exist, certain folks would have to create it in order to have something to blame for various problems and ills, grrrr, and about which they can whine and complain whenever it suits them. You’d think, perhaps, that in a country the size of Saudi Arabia and in a region the size of the Middle East that there’d be at least one other topic—maybe even two!— worthy of an editorial (or four).

As can be expected, all four of the editorials focusing on Israel are fairly tendentious if not laughable. I especially like the reference in the first piece to “Jewish penetration” (snicker) and the ALL-CAPS rendering of “Baby Eye-Doc” Assad’s first name (say WHA’?).

This obvious fixation on Jews, Zionists, and Israel is reminiscent of the old quip about Israel and [select Arab country] both having pretty much the same freedoms of speech and of the press: That is, in Israel, you can criticize Israel all you want, and in [Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, etc.] you can, likewise, criticize Israel all you want! What’s not to like?!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Nurse! In the latest round of progressive reforms in Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Interior has dictated that nurses are not to be lookin’ slutty and unprofessional. Ergo, no jeans; no wearing surgical clothing in hospital corridors; no gold or jewelry, save for a watch and ring; and, perhaps most importantly, no make-up or nail polish, or else! Luckily, a committee has been set up to “to work on the regulations and decide how they apply to each nurse in hospitals and clinics.” Hmm, what about press-on nails? And, not to get too (ahem) Talmudic, but if a nurse in a Saudi hospital has one feet in the hallway and one foot outside the hallway, is she allowed to wear surgical clothing? (Apologies to Rabbi Jeremiah.)

Monday, September 13, 2004

Yow. Even for Arab News, this latest black-hatted Jew cartoon is rather disgusting (24-hour time sensitive link). This progressive imagery is courtesy, as usual, of our friends at Der Sturmer, er, the first English daily in Saudi Arabia.

In other news, three sorcerers have been arrested in Jeddah. Malfoy? Potter? Hermione? Way to go, you criminals.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Update on the Forth Annuel Conferense of the Palestien Solidartiy Movemnet.
The annual festivities of the so-called Palestine Solidarity Movement conference are just five weeks away, yet the conference’s official website (still) does not list an actual schedule, much less any of the conference’s speakers, cultural events, workshops, or other so-called actions. And apparently, in addition to their usual grammatical and linguistic challenges, the activists are now having some technical problems.

To: announce@palestineconference.com
Subject: URGENT: Speaker and Workshop proposals- PSM conference
From: shaq-shabone@riseup.net
Date: Fri, Sep 10 2004 10:45:28 AM -0700

Dear Palestine Activists,

A technical error has occured (sic) within the PSM's conference website and some of the speaker, workshop, and causcus (sic) proposals you sent to us were lost. In order to gaurantee (sic) that we have recieved (sic) all of your proposals, we ask you to resubmit the proposals you have written ASAP.

Please resend the proposals you have written to workshops@palestineconference.com as soon as you recieve (sic) this message.

We apologize for any inconvenience. Thank you for your patience.

In solidarity, Workshop Committee

As I’ve noted before, sometimes I wonder if the “Solidarity” movement has been infiltrated by nefarious Zionists or is in fact a devious Zionist front group intended to make anti-Israel activists look bad. Anyway, why bother wasting a significant amount of time or energy countering the sort of intellectual credibility of this “movement” when they themselves do such a fine job of quashing it on thier, er, their own? So far, there doesn’t seem to be any indication that this year’s traveling road show, er, “conference” isn’t shaping up to be much different than last year’s under-attended, anticlimactic stunt. But so it goes.

Speaking of credibility, intellectual or otherwise, please notice that the conference’s (color) announcement poster includes in its montage of images a depiction of, yes, little Mohammed al-Dura crouching behind his father, moments before he was, like, totally shot and killed by, uh, Israeli soldiers or something.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

“Coinciding with the third anniversary of the events of Sept 11, Arab News and Asharq Al-Awsat have launched a joint location on the Internet to focus on the Arab point of view on the tragedy.” As you might expect, the website is predictably self-serving, and is replete with the sort of tedious hand wringing that Arab News apparently thinks passes as engaged societal self-analysis. Mishari Al-Zaidi, for example, explains that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were more detrimental to Arabs in the Middle East than to their intended targets.

September 11 th attacks had been a catastrophe on us much more than it had been on the US. What did American lose as a result of this reckless crime? A few thousand casualties… a short-lived shock…. so be it! But, American remain composed and was able to retort with more than just a tit for a tat .. Bin Ladin's gang razed two towers in New York and attacked a Pentagon wing, but in retaliation, the US razed Taliban government and overthrew the Iraqi dictator and his group. Moreover, it has gained the reasons for interference and practicing influence under the umbrella of the war on terrorism everywhere and in an unprecedented smooth way.

So be it. Turki Al-Hamad is similarly worried about how the 9/11 attacks have affected the “Arab nation” and about what lessons, or lack thereof, that nation may have drawn from the attacks. He frets that, rather than drawing the right conclusions, the Arab nation may instead have become like certain folks (hint: not Lutherans or Buddhists) who still (still) subscribe to the “chosen” concept. In an article from last September 15, he writes that while 9/11 was “a catastrophe in the American history,”

it was an earthquake in the Arabic history. But where is the awareness of that? What happened in September was not a consequence of all these trivial justifications that we use as drugs for distancing ourselves from knowing the reality. Otherwise the whole world would become hell if each people were guided by their specific justifications and sought for revenge. What happened was a consequence of a chronic disease in the Arab psyche. I can call this disease «the culture of illusion». That culture depicts an image of something that does not exist and promises us preposterous promises. It is an illusion when we think that all the world is against us, and it illusion when we think that there will not be any existence for us without the perishing of the others. It is illusion when we have either to get the best for ourselves or we have to die…. It is illusion when we think that God is for us only not for other people. It is illusion when we think we are still the best nation appeared to the other people. With this kind of convictions we have become like some of the Jews who believe they are still the chosen people of God, forgetting the conditions on which such a choice will be held.

Well, speaking of illusions, and all that.

Interestingly enough, the site also includes an article by a certain former managing editor, all mention of whom (including the myriad articles he penned during his Arab News tenure) had been purged from the Arab News website shortly he resigned from the paper.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

“Fun With [Quotes]!” On March 12, I pointed out that Arab News didn’t know when the September 11 terrorist attacks took place: They had them taking place in 2000. Now, an Arab News editorialist has them taking place in 2002: “If you want to see how power can change character consider the remarkable case of Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, once famed as warlord and fundamentalist, and mentor of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the brains behind Sept. 11, 2002.” Oh, brother.

Anyway, Sarah Whalen, everybody’s favorite “expert in Islamic law” who (cough, cough) really did teach law at Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans, Louisiana, is having a jolly good time with the supposed Israeli-spy scandal. Her journalistic prowess is on display from the first paragraph:

NEW ORLEANS, Louisian, (sic) 5 September 2004 — Some Arab leaders have nerve, blaming “Zionists” for problems in the Middle East. “We can be certain Zionism is behind everything,” one of them averred last June. “I don’t say 100 percent, but 95 percent.”

Ahem, and which Arab leader made this comment, you ask? Why, Saudi Arabia’s own Crown Prince Abdullah, not that one would know this from reading Whalen’s column. Nor would one know that Whalen’s choice quote was made in reference not to general “problems in the Middle East” but rather to specific terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia last spring. Here’s the full quote, including the sentence Whalen elided:

"... You know who is behind all of this... Zionism is behind it - that was clarified. It was clarified to us, and I say that it is not 100 percent, but 95 percent, that the Zionism's hands are behind what happened. Unfortunately, they misled some of our sons....But we are certain that Zionism is behind everything. That is what was proved. I am not saying 100 percent but 95 percent..." (translation from Ar-Riyadh, May 2, 2004).

Seriously. Anyway, that this is a thoroughly decrepit and inane statement goes without saying, and so it’s little wonder that Whalen utilizes it, albeit more than slightly out of context. Whalen then belittles several political figures who dared criticize the royal Crown Prince’s royally stupid comment… but notice how Whalen conveniently inserts an exclamation point (!) into Senator Susan Collins’s observation.

“The crown prince’s statements are inflammatory and irresponsible,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. “On the one hand they say reassuring words to American leaders, but on the other hand they spout inflammatory anti-Semitic rhetoric for their domestic population.”

Somebody is squawking here, but it’s not the Senator.

Whalen continues to brandishes her charming talent for misquotation and embellishment with a reference to Lawrence Franklin, who was supposedly “described by the LA Times as that ‘go-to guy for Wolfowitz and Feith,’” The actual description, of course, was made not by the LA Times but from a former Pentagon official who spoke to the paper on condition of anonymity. And this time, rather than pumping up a quote with an exclamation point, Whalen simply omits a few words. The full quote is “Franklin was the go-to guy on Iran issues for Wolfowitz and Feith.”

Not content with misquoting real people, Whalen then misquotes a fictional person. “I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!” said Captain Renault, yet is anyone shocked that Whalen misquotes him as well?

The rest of Whalen’s column offers the usual predictable drivel, and at least one more misquotation. The following quote, courtesy of a senior Israeli official, has appeared in several articles: "We have very good, excellent working relations with the Americans, and we are very discreet about it. There is no need to operate [spies] in the Pentagon or anywhere else in the United States." Interestingly enough, when Whalen regurgitates the quote, the [brackets] around [spies] have magically [disappeared]. Neat.

Whalen also quotes a US. Official’s observation that, from what he’s seen, Lawrence Franklin is not a spy but an idiot. Perhaps the same might be said of a certain “expert in Islamic law” who “taught law at Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans, Louisiana.”

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Here’s a lovely “anti-Zionist” cartoon from the Egyptian government’s semi-official newspaper. The United States has given Egypt billions of dollars in recent years, and in exchange we get progressive journalism like this. The latest black-hatted Jew caricature (and it’s not even this week’s first) courtesy of our allies the Saudis is, as usual, charming (24-hour time sensitive link). One wonders how many cartoonists in these two countries would be out of work if Jew-caricatures suddenly went out of fashion.

In other news, Al Ahram reports that

The Special Olympics Middle East/North Africa (MENA) regional Games begin in Tunisia on Saturday under the patronage of President Zein Al-Abidine Bin Ali.

During the four-day event, 600 athletes with intellectual disabilities will compete in six sports. The participating countries are Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Yemen, Iran, Kuwait, Algeria and Mauritania.

If you’re wondering why Israel—a country in the Middle East, last time I checked—apparently isn’t participating in the Middle East/North Africa Special Olympics, it’s likely because Israel is now located in Europe/Eurasia Which is interesting, I guess, since the countries immediately above, below, and next to Israel (including a nonexistent country called Palestine) are located elsewhere. Neat. Perhaps this geographic phenomenon will be discussed at the concurrent Schools and Youth Summit initiative, which “encourages school-age youth to celebrate differences and break down barriers” and whose “efforts allow young people to discover the pathway toward building a more welcoming society for all.”

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Long Live the Glorious Intifada. Or: 75 Years of “Heroic Operations,” Murder, and Celebration. From this week’s “Looking Back” section of The Forward:

Approximately 75 Jews were killed this week when a large-scale pogrom took place throughout Palestine. Savage attacks resulting in the hundreds of dead and wounded took place in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Tsfat and other locales. The worst butchery occurred in Hebron, where approximately 45 young yeshiva students, among them a number of American citizens, were slaughtered by Arab mobs. Tel Aviv was attacked on two sides, and six were killed, but the Jews of the city defended themselves heroically. Jerusalem looks like a battlefield…. At least 16 Jews were killed in Jerusalem. Arabs also attacked Bet Shean, where one Jew was killed, more than 20 were wounded and nearly every Jewish home was destroyed. There have been attacks against Jews in nearly every area in which they can be found.

As Benny Morris relates in his book Righteous Victims, in Hebron “The Jewish dead were buried in mass graves dug by Arab prisoners, who burst into song during the ceremony” (page 115). Today, Jewish victims of Arab terrorism are once again being buried, and Palestinian Arabs are once again exultant as they celebrate the glorious Al-Aksa Intifada’s latest crime against humanity.

From today’s Ha’aretz, in response to yet another barbaric Palestinian terrorist assault, this one of the self-detonating variety:

In the Gaza Strip, Muslim leaders praised the "heroic operation" over mosque loudspeakers.

About 20,000 Hamas supporters sang and threw candy in the streets of Gaza City in celebration of the bombings and their casualties.

Hamas claimed responsibility through a leaflet that surfaced in Hebron, 50 km from Be'er Sheva, saying the attacks were meant to avenge Israel's assassination of its two top leaders in helicopter missile strikes in March and April.

"This is but one of a series of responses in which the Iz a Din al-Kassam Brigades have vowed to carry out in response to the martyrdom of the leaders of our movement, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz Rantisi," it said.

"Revenge is so sweet," said one celebrator, hoisting high a poster of Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi.

The IDF believes that the military wing of Hamas in Hebron is behind the attack.

Hamas supporters said they were pleased the group's repeated attempts to launch attacks against the Jewish state had finally caused Israeli casualties.

"Our religion orders us to respond in kind to aggression against us. You [Israeli people] are the ones who choose your leaders and choose to be their shields. Therefore your shields will suffer more blows," the leaflet said.

"This is a gift to the newcomers who arrived recently to our land," it added in a reference to recent wave of Jewish immigration to Israel. "We say to you: 'This is your fate, so wait.'"

One of the victims of yesterday’s glorious double suicide-bombing was a three-year-old child. Likewise, the Arab terrorism against Jews in 1929 also claimed children as its deliberate victims. Morris (page 114 of RV) quotes testimony of a British Police Chief in the area, one Raymond Cafferata:

On hearing screams in a room I went up a sort of tunnel passage and saw an Arab in the act of cutting off a child’s head with a sword. He had already hit him and was having another cut… I shot him low in the groin. Behind him was a Jewish woman smothered in blood with a man I recognized as a[n Arab] police constable named Issa Sherif from Jaffa in mufti. He was standing over the woman with a dagger in his hand. He saw me and bolted into a room close by and tried to shut me out… I got into the room and shot him.

One result of this calculated and deliberate Arab violence against Jews in 1929 (and in subsequent years) was that the British rewarded both the mobs and the Arab leadership that had done little, if anything, to stop the violence (indeed, they often facilitated it) by, among other things, curtailing Jewish immigration to the area. One cannot help but wonder how today’s gloriously pro-terrorist mobs and the Palestinian leadership that, 75 years later, still does little, if anything, to prevent violence and terrorism will be rewarded for these latest moments in a decades-old history of premeditated “anti-Zionist” murder, mayhem, and carnage.

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