Tuesday, October 16, 2007

New Article on Darfur Divestment

We have a new Darfur piece entitled "Divestment: Solution or Diversion?" published in Foreign Policy in Focus - accompanied by an opposing viewpoint piece, authored by Daniel Millenson. Our response to his article should be up soon.


Neal said...

I read your article in Foreign Policy in Focus.

The Israelis have no policy of annihilation. The Sudanese government is on its second campaign of annihilation. The leadership of the Palestinian Arabs called the HAMAS has generally supported the genocidal activities of the Sudanese government. They have done so on principle. The same Islamists supported the Nazis during WWII, with open calls to kill the Jews. They, not the Israelis, deserve condemnation.

The Israelis may want to settle the entire West Bank but they are not engaged in anything like genocide.

To be unable to see the difference is to be morally blind. In other words, what you have written is morally offensive.

Kevin said...

The question is not one of comparing crimes (though if it were, the US-led war in Iraq, with a death toll likely above 1 million, would quickly come to mind), but of addressing issues that Western-based activists can actually do something to change. Again, there are plenty of reasons to condemn Hamas, amongst others, but there is little reason to spend more than a passing moment doing so - it is a virtual guarantee that you will accomplish nothing beyond feeding into an already pervasive climate of demonization of all that is Arab and Muslim, as well as US geopolitical designs for the region. Israeli crimes, on the other hand, are easily within the realm of influence for US activists, as the US is Israel's prime enabler in carrying them out - precisely the reason why those who speak out about them are routinely chastised and told to turn their attention elsewhere.

Neal said...


Let us consider your comment in detail. You think it unimportant to consider the HAMAS because it might demonize Muslims.

Well, perhaps Muslims who support the HAMAS, as well as the HAMAS itself, deserve to be demonized. Those in that camp, after all, proudly proclaim that they favor genocide.

Moreover, if one examines the dispute as a whole, the position taken by the Palestinian Arab side has to be understood. First, understanding that side, including about the HAMAS, tells you something about what, in fact, is possible in the way of settlement, namely, in the case of HAMAS, there is no possible settlement, only a temporary truce before more war (as they have stated repeatedly). Second, understanding the HAMAS tells you something about Palestinian Arab society which voted for it, namely, that society prefers the religiosity of the Muslim Brotherhood - a group which supported genocide in Sudan and supports the same in Israel and which wants to create a theocratic Muslim state in Egypt and to replace Israel. Third, understanding the Palestinian Arabs and the HAMAS tells you something about the parties which oppose Israel and helps explain some, in fact most, of what Israel does.

So, if your goal is to demonize the Israelis, ignoring the context they live in is a convenient lie in which to orient your thinking. But, for people who are interested in examining the dispute for what it is, understanding the Palestinian Arabs and HAMAS is critical, just as understanding Israeli politics is critical.

In any event, the notion that a dispute over land and who lives on it, which is the case in Israel, is akin to a campaign to annihilate entirely insufficiently Arab Muslims in Sudan after a campaign in Sudan that annihilated 1.5 million Christians and animists, that forced the conversion of large numbers of people to Islam, that used food as a weapon not only of war (against the Geneva Convention) but to force conversion to Islam, that re-established slavery (i.e. 100,000 or more people captured sold in auctions and into the Arab Gulf states), etc., etc., you have to be smoking something.

Kevin said...

Again, the principle stands: if you wish to accomplish nothing as an activist, spend your time focusing on the crimes of others - an especially egregious posture when the crimes of one's own state are in and of themselves of great significance.

Neal said...


Your comment makes no sense. Much of the anti-Israel tirade is the work of big OIL doing the bidding of Arab regimes and the direct work of Arab regimes which funds the Anti-Israel hysteria on Campuses.

Arab tyrants pay for 90% of ALL money that goes into the study of the Middle East in the US. PEOPLE DO NOT BAD MOUTHS THE SOURCE OF THEIR FUNDING. RATHER, THEY SUPPORT THE AGENDA OF THEIR FUNDERS - IT FEEDS THEIR FAMILIES.

Not unsurprisingly, the foibles of Arab regimes are played down while the sins of their enemies are played up. It is exactly like the "research" paid for by those who support big tobacco.

The main result of the harping on Israel is that real crimes are not sufficiently covered while Israel's effort to defend herself from people who openly avow to commit genocide - SOMETHING THAT THE ISLAMIST HAMAS MOVEMENT DOES NOT EVEN BOTHER TO DENY - is condemned.

It is a moral inversion of the worst sort, funded by big moneyed interests in the Arab regions. To be any part of it is to step is to be complicit in what occurs in places like Sudan and wherever radical Islamists are in power - one hell hole worst than the next.