nettime's_indigestive_system on Sun, 21 Apr 2002 12:34:37 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> speak/weak/rant digest [cramer, reynolds, woneher]

Florian Cramer <>
     Re: <nettime> A European speaks far better than I:
"W R E Reynolds" <>
     RE: <nettime> Weak analysis
     Re: <nettime> latest rant

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Date: Sat, 20 Apr 2002 13:12:30 +0200
From: Florian Cramer <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> A European speaks far better than I:

Am Fri, 19.Apr.2002 um 20:09:12 -0400x schrieb Gita Hashemi:
> I find it shameful that Europeans who haven't managed yet to come to 
> terms with their own history of anti-Semitism and to deal with its 
> lingering effects get so totally confused about how to address the 
> current issues particularly the dangerous rise of racism in national 
> and international social-political currents.

On another list, I reacted to Alan's posting of Oriana Fallaci's article
as follows:

: who want the destruction of Israel)--Jews in Italian cities are once again
: afraid. And in French cities and Dutch cities and Danish cities and German
: cities, it is the same. I find it shameful that Jews tremble at the passage
: of the scoundrels dressed like suicide bombers just as they trembled during
: Krystallnacht, the night in which Hitler gave free rein tothe Hunt of the

This sentence does distort it quite a bit. As far as can tell from
observing the situation here in Germany and, through the media, in
France, the physical violence against jews in Europe has been exercized
exclusively by Arab/Muslim people. It's not a consequence of
old-European fascism, but - paradoxically enough - modern
multiculturalism, particularly in France. There, most of the attackers
show up in the statistics as French citizens because of the liberal
French naturalization laws. People from the European liberal left, like
Fallaci, may find it too distastefully un-p.c. to be frank about this.

I haven't heard of Neo-Nazi or right-wing skinhead attacks yet. As their
racist hatred is typically targetted at Arabs and Turks, I guess they
have trouble siding with the Palestinians. 

What's more, as the consequence of the Holocaust, there aren't many jews
in Germany to attack. Since critically low IQs coupled with alcoholism
are a major problem in their ranks, most Nazi kids don't even have a
clear idea what a jew is. Many of them think it's an idiomatic word for
geeky intellectuals. (No, I am not joking.)

A wholly different matter is public political discourse, the whole
suspicious Anti-Israel rhetoric and strange new Anti-Israel alliances
from the far left to the far right. The "Autonomen" extreme left in
Berlin is split between extreme Pro-Palestinians and a Pro-Israel
faction which, in telling post-fascist logic, calls itself
"Anti-Germans" (as if, like Goebbels would have said, to be for Israel
would mean to be against Germany).

It's an ugly mess of self-righteousness and self-hatred, Anti-Semitism
and a postwar Philo-Semetism operating on the same prejudices and
stereotypes as Anti-Semitism. Those who don't rant in public hopefully
are those who can see shades of grey.

Oriana Fallaci's article strikes me as another such rant, on the
Philo-Semitic side, with the pseudo-religious tone coming as little
surprise. (- "political theology", to quote Carl Schmitt, at once a Nazi
antisemite and brilliant theoretician. He also wrote that "a souvereign
is the one who can declare the state of emergency" which strikes me as a
weirdly complex description for the Israeli/Palestinian conflict,
mapping it in all its ambiguities.) Fallaci's superficial
self-criticism, all the more in that ritualistic and confessional
fashion, strikes me as quite sleazy: Look what a good and aware person I
am. Unfortunately, the same sleaziness seems to rule European politics
these days.


GnuPG/PGP public key ID 3200C7BA, finger

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From: "W R E Reynolds" <>
Subject: RE: <nettime> Weak analysis
Date: Sat, 20 Apr 2002 10:21:13 -0400

> Sorry, you have the CBC, not NBC, ABC, and CBS. There's no 
> comparison in the mediascape on a day to day basis, even if you 
> have Ted Turner's inflicted on you. The resistance of these 
> extraordinarily courageous Israeli soldiers has not to my knowledge 
> been widely reported here.

While Canada's main media outlets may be a smidgen ahead of their
American counterparts, that won't last long. They are rapidly succumbing
to the same pressures to produce entertaining trivial crap.

CBC worship is especially misplaced. As a former CBC correspondent I
don't think does good job of covering the world. Indeed, world coverage
consists mostly of watching CNN in the newsroom trying to figure out
where to send one of the few correspondents CBC has left.

Interesting, the English language CBC network increasingly relies on
French correspondents (some of who are very good), since the French side
of CBC believes strongly in good foreign coverage. A  quick look at
Newsworld and RDI (CBC's English and French equivalents of CNN).

That said, I think of all North American as a great news wasteland. I
read French (Le Figaro/Liberation) and English (Independent./Guardian)
papers almost every day. I consider myself very well informed about the
whole world, not just the Middle East (or Near East as the French call
it) and the handful of other locales we North American's deign to cover.

Regards, Richard Reynolds

a toi l'angoisse, a moi la rage 

W.  Richard  Reynolds de La Rochelle
journalist / writer / polemicist
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Date: Sat, 20 Apr 2002 10:54:09 EDT
Subject: Re: <nettime> latest rant

Frankly, I'm getting a bit bored trying to have a thoughtful discussion with
people who obviously have no desire to be objective; commentary cloaked to
sound balanced all the while it is the same ol' same ol' diatribe against
Israel.  So know THAT is the reason Israel defends itself so vehemently. 
Understand that this incessant need to defend its right to even exist is why
Israel finds itself in a war mode all these many years.  To wit:

> From:<A HREF=3D"";></A>
> To:<A HREF=3D"";></A>
> Sent from the Internet
> I remember watching TV news when I was a little kid. There were
> always some news about some war in the Middle East. Either
> Palestinians set the bomb off in some Israeli city, or Israeli forces
> razed some Palestinian village with tanks and helicopter gunships.

The Israelis were attacked by the Arabs 5 times and defended themselves 5
times.  This is fact.  Where is mention of this?

> The entire Vietnam war later, and as the wars in Campuchea, East
> Timor, Nicaragua, Somalia, Congo, Iraq, Iran, Bosnia, Kosovo and
> even Afghanistan went by, the news from Israeli-Palestinian conflict
> are still unchanged. That=E2=80=99s why most of the outside observers
> believe that Israelis and Palestinians richly deserved each other.

If it were only Palestinians the Israelis had to contend with, that would be
simple.  The fact is, Saddam is behind the latest attacks, and his diversion
has apparently delayed the war on Iraq, which BTW, is happening, even without
the aid of Europe.  This is to prevent a nuclear world war.  The Europeans
believe they will be spared from this, and so stay conveniently against it,
but Nukes are colorblind.

> >From my dispassionate outsider perspective the solution was
> obvious for many years: there is about equal number of Israelis and
> Palestinians, yet Israelis are far better organized, supplied and
> armed, so they keep the Palestinian population in reservations, on
> the worst 20% of all land, limiting their earnings, employment,
> education and development potentials.

Dispassionate outsider perspective?  Who are you kidding?  Arafat has been
given hundreds of millions of dollars.  Israel has given the Palestinians
land and weapons.  They had EVERY opportunity to build a viable society. 
Just like Hitler lost the war because of his demonic obsession with killing
Jews, Arafat is far more interested in hurting the Israelis than helping his
people.  He has said as much many times, offering 1,000,000 Palestinian lives
as suicide bombers.  Meanwhile he is a very very rich man.

Israelis, being near >
> pathologically obsessed with security, also seemingly did not leave
> any other way for Palestinians to address this unfair situation but
> through terrorism. Therefore, the conclusion that they deserved
> each other is confirmed. But this is no solution.

Check the facts *dispassionately* and it seems most obvious why Israel is
obsessed with security.  Give me a break.

> Sharon and Arafat are both old hands that know nothing but war
> and suffering and spite. They are warlords, not modern democratic
> politicians. They are old and stubborn. The art of compromise
> eludes them completely. Sharon has a history of being a terrorist
> himself. He is presently tried for crimes against humanity in
> Belgium, for his actions in the 1980s in Palestinian refugee camps.

The European community hates Sharon, the Jews, the Israelis.  It is widely
known that the Christian militia killed the Palestinians in the incident
Sharon is occused of.  How convenient to blame Sharon and call him a war
criminal.  Do note, in the recent spate, Sharon did not attack the camps for
over a year and a half, despite the incessant homicide bombers courtesy of
Arafat.  How do you rationalize this equation?

> What is he different from Serbia=E2=80=99s Ratko Mladic? And he has no
> remorse for any of it - judged by the interviews he gave to the Israeli
> press saying that he did not care whether he was called Judeo-
> Nazi. His vision of peace in Middle East does not include any
> Palestinians in the state of Israel, I believe.
> Arafat, on the other hand, is a head of formerly terrorist
> organization. And while both him and PLO came a long way, the
> terrorism within Palestinian population is not rooted out - because
> it appears that terrorism is the only =E2=80=98military action=E2=80=99 that
> Palestinians can perform successfully against their Israeli
> tormentors. But the fact that Arafat could/would not stop/prevent
> suicide bombers, despite that suicide bombings work directly
> against Arafat=E2=80=99s interests in obtaining global support for the
> Palestinian state (can you imagine what would happen with
> Bosnia, if there were Bosnian Muslims blowing themselves up in
> Serbian churches on Eastern Mass, and Izetbegovic could/would
> not rein them in?),

means that Arafat is not really in control of the
> armed factions within Palestinian population, i.e. he is not really
> accepted as the undisputed leader for the Palestinian cause any
> more. Consequently, he is becoming useless in the peace
> negotiations, because he cannot guarantee anything.

You apparently have not been following any of the direct reports from the
terrorists own mouths.  They say they would stop if Arafat gave the order. 
Arafat himself told Powell he would not stop the homicide bombers. 
Dispassionate observer who doesn't bother to observe at all.

> Both sides need younger leaders. Both sides need civilian instead
> of military leaders. Both sides need to learn the immense
> advantages of living in peace. Other than that, Israel needs to
> abandon a lot of land and just leave it to Palestinians with no
> strings attached; and Palestinians need to focus on construction of
> their own state, rather than destruction of Israel. From lessons
> learned in the Balkans, one may conclude that presence of the
> international peace keeping forces is an absolute imperative and
> should not be delayed any more. In a broader picture, as Israel
> needs to come to terms about sharing the land with Palestinians,
> other Arab states need to come to terms about sharing the Middle
> East region with Israel. This is all well known. And it was a basis of
> the Oslo negotiations. And everything seemed to have gone well,
> until Rabin got conveniently shot by an extremist (terrorist?) Israeli
> and the right wing in Israel took over. Palestinians were once again
> pushed to the brink, and once again they responded with terrorism.
> The vicious circle was re-opened.       
> In longer range the demographics present today in the Arab world
> will play a large role: half of the population in the Arab world is
> younger than 18. So, there is more violence and more suicide
> bombings to come. But there is also a couple of revolutions to look
> for. Many Arab countries are fossilized in the pre-Jacobin period.
> Due to the sudden oil riches the ruling feudal families managed to
> cement their rule by paying off their enemies and the masses.
> They could give their folks to eat cake instead of bread, unlike
> Marie Antoinette could. But the youthful population spells trouble
> for boring, strict and regimented feudal, theocratic Arab societies.
> We may see many of them fall apart in the next decade (Saudi
> Arabia, Iran, Iraq, etc.) creating instability in one of - for the US, at
> least - most precious regions of the world: Persian Gulf.
> The US goes to a major war to protect its oil supplies at least once
> a decade. And that=E2=80=99s in the Middle East region. The US bends over
> its policies backwards in order to continue to extend support to
> Israel, despite objections of its closest European allies over Israeli
> pushy and recalcitrant settlement drive and associated grave
> human rights abuses of the Palestinian population, in order to
> secure a =E2=80=98wedge=E2=80=99 in the vital oil supplying region, where
> other governments are often hostile to the US.
> US citizens are the largest consumers of energy on the planet. An
> average US citizen needs 2.5 times more energy than the average
> Western European citizen to survive and get around; 7 times more
> than Chinese, 10 times more than African. Saudi Arabian royal
> family is kept in power solely to feed the American industry with a
> reliable supply of oil. Watching the perilous Arab world
> demographics, the US is looking now for domestic resources, even
> if that means destroying its own natural treasure: US government is
> now ready to start drilling for more oil in the Arctic National Refuge
> in Alaska (if Senate permits so ever).
> Yet, there are over 800,000 federally owned vehicles in the US,
> 60,000 of them driven by the Department of Energy, costing
> taxpayers a total of $2.26B. And it rarely occurs to Americans to
> save resources rather than increase supplies - such thinking
> seems to contravene the fundamentals of capitalist ideology.
> The same fundamentals are the reason why my angry argument
> against the speed limits is probably a losing proposition. The
> speed limits were originally introduced because of the oil crisis.
> And it is true that driving faster decreases your miles per gallon
> ratio. I just noticed it myself, now that I am trying to drive slower.
> For media purposes, at some point, the end to the oil crisis was
> declared. The speed limits were kept on the books, though.
> Puritan, safety obsessed upper classes of the US didn=E2=80=99t have any
> troubles finding a more morally acceptable grounds for establishing
> speed limits. Which absolutely everyone breaks daily. But no
> politician dares to oppose. Because the harsh reality is that if
> Americans are allowed to drive faster, not only the number of
> accidents would increase, not only the air pollution would increase,
> but the oil consumption would increase even further, driving the
> gasoline prices higher, hitting the citizens where they hurt the
> most: their pockets. To do that would be a political suicide for any
> Congressperson. 

> Americans drive as if they are always stoned. I can drive that slow
> and lazy, as the US rules of the road require, only when I am
> thoroughly baked.

We are.  Join the club or get off the road.  ;)

I can drive 40 mph on FDR highway in NY city >
> then, too. I sometimes feel how cool it would be to drive a big
> truck, instead of a car, at that speed. High, of course. But, maybe,
> that=E2=80=99s what is driving the pick-up, SUV and the mini-van industry.=

> So, ok, we have speed limits, which serve to tame the oil
> consumption, but then, on the other hand, everybody drives those
> huge gas-guzzling vehicles - one of them was just promoted in a
> radio ad as being so huge that mom lost her kid in the back of it
> and needed to look for little Eddy for about an hour.

Can you spell GULLIBLE?

> What the US needs is: more and better public transportation,
> preferably powered by electricity; more car-pooling; smaller, more
> fuel efficient cars; development of new technologies for energy
> production and car engines that would utilize those new sources of
> energy; less commuting - different urban design that requires less
> driving around, more home-office type of employment
> - speed limits are just a band-aid applied to a gushing wound.
> Ivo

America grew to its great superpower status, while nations like the Soviet
Union faltered.  Was America also to hold its people back because the rest of
the worlds' people were held back by their governments?  America grew to have
a great dependence on oil, while the Persian gulf royal lords grew fat and
rich on oil money.  Yes, America was greedy, but the candy was held out on a
silver platter.  Should they have refused the oil and held back their
economy?   America doesn't support the Israelis because of oil any more than
the cold war lasted all those years for beluga, they support the only
democracy in the entire region.

Is it Israel and the United States that don't allow the Arab people to vote,
the women to drive cars, the majority of youth to be unemployed?  Blaming
others will not make a dent in their lack of freedom.  The royal lords trick
them into believing it is the free people that are the problem, all the while
knowing that they must keep their people down to keep the power and money to
themselves, just as Arafat keeps multi millions to himself while people
complain about how poor the Palestinians are. 

So, keep the focus on Israel.  Blame the US for the worlds' poverty.  That
will keep the status quo just as it is.  The alternative is the Arab world
joins forces with Israel's economy and knowledge base.  Allow their people
freedoms they haven't a clue about.  Grow, prosper.  Develop new energy and
technology that will allow all the world to have the prosperity of America,
albeit sans gas guzzling cars.  That may sound unrealistic, but that is the
only alternative. Whining about Israel giving back land, and Israel holding
the money from the Palestinians just plays into the royal lords hands. 
Hatred is no excuse for ignorance.


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