Adonis Diaries

Archive for October 4th, 2014

List of Israeli rape advocates of Palestinian women: US journalists to contact as expert on Palestinians and Middle East culture

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in the United States for the UN General Assembly on Sunday, the Israeli government press office emailed journalists a list of supposed experts to contact on various issues related to his visit.

All those listed hail from the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, a hotbed of right wing nationalism in Israeli academia.

Appearing twice on the Israeli government-approved list is Mordechai Kedar, a professor of Arabic literature at Bar-Ilan University who recently advocated for the Israeli army to use rape as a tool of war.

 Rania Khalek submitted this Oct. 10/2014

Israeli government promotes rape advocate as expert on Palestinians


Israel promotes apologists for the kind of violence that leveled Gaza City’s Shujaiya neighborhood as “experts,” including one advocating rape.

(Ali Jadallah / APA images)

Rape as deterrence Speaking to an Israeli radio program following the discovery of the bodies of the three Israeli teens abducted and shot to death in the occupied West Bank in June, Kedar said,“Terrorists like those who kidnapped the children and killed them — the only thing that deters them is if they know that their sister or their mother will be raped in the event that they are caught. What can you do, that’s the culture in which we live.

He continued: “The only thing that deters a suicide bomber is the knowledge that if he pulls the trigger or blows himself up, his sister will be raped. That’s all. That’s the only thing that will bring him back home, in order to preserve his sister’s honor.”

It sounds very bad, but that’s the Middle East,” he reasoned. (or what he is a potential rapist seeking an excuse to justify his lust for Palestinian girls)

Kedar’s recommendation appears to have been implemented in Gaza, where several Palestinian men who were kidnapped and imprisoned by the Israeli army during “Operation Protective Edge” told the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights that they were tortured and “intimidated with threats that Israel would demolish their houses, kill their families and rape their wives.

When a group of Israeli feminists protested Kedar’s comments in a letter to Bar-Ilan University president Daniel Hershkowitz, the school responded by defending and whitewashing Kedar’s rape advocacy with racist tropes about the region.

“Dr. Kedar’s words do not, God forbid, contain a recommendation to commit such despicable acts,” insisted a Bar-Ilan University spokesperson in a joint statement with Kedar. “The intention was to describe the culture of death of the terror organizations. Dr. Kedar was describing the bitter reality of the Middle East and the inability of a modern and liberal law-abiding country to fight against the terror of suicide bombers.”  

Witch hunts

While Kedar faced no repercussions for inciting sexual violence, his colleague at Bar-Ilan University, Hanoch Sheinman, was disciplined by the administration for sending an email to students expressing sympathy for all those affected by Israel’s assault on Gaza.

Outraged by the implicit reminder of Gaza’s suffering, students and their families flooded the university with complaints, prompting the administration to issue an apology and admonishment of Sheinman.

Meanwhile, Kedar’s rape advocacy boosted his profile in the US, which he is scheduled to visit this winter for an academic speaking tour.

He told The Chronicle of US Higher Education that he received even more speaking invitations as a result of the outrage stirred by his comments, which he referred to as a “witch hunt.”

Kedar knows a thing or two about witch hunts given his role as chairman of the Israel Academia Monitor organization, one of many McCarthyite groups dedicated to purging Israeli universities of academics who identify with the left or question Zionism.

This was not the only instance of Kedar showing enthusiasm for crimes against Palestinians.

Kedar’s fervent rejection of basic rights for Palestinian inspired him to devise the “Eight State Solution,” a detailed proposal to split the occupied Palestinian territories into eight cantons, with the besieged and ghettoized Gaza Strip serving as a model. The end result would be apartheid on steroids. He even created a website exclusively devoted to the project, dubbed the Palestinian Emirates.

“The central strategic goal of the state of Israel should be to permanently remain in Judea and Samaria and to prevent Palestinian territorial contiguity,” argues Kedar, using Israel’s terminology for the occupied West Bank.

In Kedar’s bigotry-clouded view, Palestinians (and Arabs more generally) are inferior beings predisposed to violence, militancy and tribalism, therefore any Palestinian state would quickly become a hotbed for terrorism.

Hannibal architect

Another “scholar” listed as an expert by the Israeli press office is Yaakov Amidror.

Amidror, who served as a National Security Advisor to Netanyahu and as head of Israel’s National Security Council, is a co-architect of the Hannibal Directive, an unwritten Israeli military protocol that amounts to an order to kill captured Israeli soldiers to avoid politically painful prisoner swaps.

Amidror with his fellow military leaders Yossi Peled and Gabi Ashkenazi drew up the Hannibal Directive in 1986 following the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hizballah in then Israeli-occupied Southern Lebanon in the aftermath of a deal in which 3 Israeli soldiers were swapped for 1,150 Israeli-held Arab prisoners. 

The Hannibal Directive was reportedly implemented on at least three occasions during Israel’s latest assault on Gaza.

Givati brigade commander Ofer Winter, an ultranationalist religious Zionist who told his troops they were fighting a Jewish holy war, oversaw the most gruesome episode in Rafah, where his implementation of the Hannibal Directive resulted in massive and indiscriminate shelling that killed 190 Palestinians, including 55 children, in less than two days.

In the aftermath of the Rafah slaughter, Amidror denied that the intention of the Hannibal Directive is to execute the captured soldier, though he admitted to The Times of Israel that, “Soldiers [lives] can be risked,” adding that taking care to avoid civilian casualties in the event of an abduction is appropriate only if “you want to help the enemy.”

Nakba denialist

Efraim Karsh — cited in the Israeli governement press office email for his expertise in “Middle Eastern history and politics, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, superpower involvement in the Middle East, and Islamic movements,” — is a card-carrying Islamophobe and close associate of anti-Muslim demagogue Daniel Pipes.

Karsh has made a career out of Nakba denialism, insisting that Palestinians left present-day Israel in 1948 because their own leaders forced them out.

The Nakba, or catastrophe, refers to the pre-meditated and well-documented ethnic cleansing of 750,000 indigenous Palestinians by Zionist militias in 1947-48. Karsh has devoted entire books to absolving Israel of responsibility for this atrocity.

It is no wonder the Israeli government champions him as an expert on the region.

Set of Settlements that are worse than the initial demand

The biggest public mobilization in the history of Lebanon related to salary scale movement of public teachers and many other sections in society was abruptly ratified in the Parliament after 2 years of the political system in Lebanon refused to pass this totally rightful issue.

Former Minister Charbel Nahas is saddened by the results, “An illegitimate authority is liquidating the biggest public mobilization in the history of Lebanon,” he explains. (The Parliament voted for itself to extend its tenure 2 years ago and is getting ready to repeat this infamous practice.

Nahhas questions the timing of the scale’s discussion and the deal behind it.

The recent period had been the calmest in the fight for the wage scale and pressure [on the government] was at its lowest levels. He believes that the political forces want to deal a fatal blow to the Union Coordination Committee after using school diplomas to strike at the union.

Political forces feared popular sentiment, especially within the administration, that gave them the sense of being capable of attaining their rights by pressuring the authorities.

So they decided to go ahead with the scale after completing negotiations on how to make the poor pay for the scale.

Eva Shoufi Published Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Lebanon: MPs to strike another blow at the rights of citizens

The Union Coordination Committee holds a protest in from of the VAT building in Beirut. (Photo: Haitham Moussawi)

Out of the blue, the issue of the salary scale was solved. was solved. Nobody knew what happened, but it later turned out to be one of the darkest deals in the history of Lebanon.

Members of parliament will legislate the encroachment on beach property under the guise of a “settlement,” hence legalizing the occupation of public property.

In addition, the final accounts of the state will be settled for the previous years without any accountability.

The page on “suspicious accounts” will be turned over and a new page will be open without any questioning about public money and public property.

People residing in Lebanon will also have to pay an additional tax on their consumption and numerous fees for services, in addition to dealing with artificial price increases. At the same time, state employees, teachers, contract workers, and pensioners will be denied their rights.

The recent period had been the calmest in the fight for the wage scale and pressure [on the government] was at its lowest levels.

He believes that the political forces want to deal a fatal blow to the Union Coordination Committee after using school diplomas to strike at the union. Political forces feared popular sentiment, especially within the administration, that gave them the sense of being capable of attaining their rights by pressuring the authorities. So they decided to go ahead with the scale after completing negotiations on how to make the poor pay for the scale.

Strangely enough “legislation by necessity” succeeded on two issues. (Mind you that this Parliament failed to elect a President to the Republic that was due 6 months ago)

The first was the consensus between two opposing sides, economic authorities and the unions, that was meant to strike a blow at the rights of employees and “the economy.”

The second issue was the economic authorities admitting that the employees’ demands in the past years were “entitlements” that could not be ensured by the scale.

The question raised by such positions is if the economic bodies and the UCC did not agree on the scale, then what is the use of its announcement with the amendments?

Both sides of the conflict believe they did not achieve any of their goals.

“The deal, magically reached by political forces does not aim to provide the UCC, the workers, or the soldiers their rights. Quite the contrary, the amendments in the new scale bill will strike a blow at the rights of employees, on one hand, and sacrifice the Lebanese economy, on the other,” the economic bodies announced.

They also reiterated their rejection of “tax increases proposed in the scale draft bill” and stressed that “such tax increases will not contribute to solving the crisis but will create a bigger crisis.”

The head of the Lebanese Economic Association, Jad Chaaban, maintains that “raising VAT by 1 percent will impact several basic goods such as petrol and cellular communications, which will be included in the raise, unlike the claims that it will only affect luxury goods.”

Chaaban believes the way the scale will be funded consecrates the principle of funding from people’s pockets. He pointed to “the governments’ dependence on raising indirect taxes instead of direct taxes, which consecrated the principle of funding from poor people’s pockets, since the increase of direct taxes impact those with higher capital.”

The price to be paid by Lebanese will not be limited to the VAT. They will also give up their public beach property through the legalization of violations in one of the biggest scandals that could happen in any country.

According to former head of the Order of Engineers Elie Bsaibes, the first proposal was related to normalizing the encroachment on public beachfront property through paying for previous works. This would have entailed a good yearly income for the treasury.

However, in the current version, they want to take possession of public property and legalize the violations that occurred before 1994, which means most of the violations, a large percentage of which was committed by politicians.

Violations related to the scale go beyond financial issues and deals to strike at the basis of legislation in the Lebanese state.

The government seems to be beleaguered but the political sides are expert at undermining the state and diverting discussion from institutional circles to give it a clientelist character.

Former [Interior] Minister Ziad Baroud is surprised at what happened,

We do not know what happened. Many things changed the day before yesterday, including the exemption of private school teachers from the six grades without knowing why. At the last minute and under the guise of maintaining the consensus, they agreed on the exception.”

The MPs emptied the state from its institutions. The economic and social council, which represents the main space for discussion in the question of the grades and salaries scale, was kept out of the way.

Baroud indicates that this absence was intended to keep the decision in the hands of the political sides so they would agree among each other and safeguard the quota system.

The parliament dealt with the subject in an improvised manner, whether on the level of imports – which are not clear – or on the level of donations to certain segments while excluding other categories.

The contempt of the legislature continues.

The MPs received the draft law on Tuesday afternoon and have less than 24 hours to study a complete bill.

MP Ghassan Moukheiber criticized the short time given to MPs to study the amendments and make their decision. He indicated the issue will be discussed in the session. Moukheiber has reservations on increasing indirect taxes, since it was possible to secure other funding sources. He also stressed his reservations on the question of beach property violations.

Moukheiber may be more familiar with the law than most. However, all indicators are pointing to a farce being prepared in the parliament today, with MPs legislating a crucial law without even spending a day to read it.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

The Cold rational concept of Irrational behaviors

Why most of our decisions and reactions seem to be pretty much irrational?

A Cold attempt was undertaken to remind ourselves of a few facts and realities to be taken into consideration:

1. Thinking is not a “pure process”.

2. Thinking is prone to error and this realization affects everyone

3. Highly intelligent people fall prey to the same cognitive traps as common people

4. And errors are Not randomly distributed.

5. Mankind systematically err in the same direction

6. Our mistakes are mostly predictable and be repaired and avoided in slight degrees

7. Most of our organs function predictably, but our brain keep experiencing lapse after lapse

8. Thinking is a biological phenomenon: It does not follow an abstract mathematical logic.

9. We are still a hunter-gatherer species, but living in a totally different environment

10. Our new environment is getting increasingly complex, interdependent, and man-made functions and facilities are exacerbating the frequency of faulty behaviors

11. Evolution has stopped optimizing the behavior of this hunter-gatherer species in this new environment.

12. Our brain is designed to reproduce (persuade) rather than search for the “truth”

13. We tend to construct a reason for our compulsive decisions (intuitive reaction). a justification for a predetermined conclusion.

What is to be done?

1. When in your “circle of competence” let your intuition lead your decisions and reactions. You had invested more than 10,000 hours on your talents and skills and you can now rely of your bodily reactions.

2. Otherwise, do your due diligence to apply the hard, slow and high energy consuming process of the rational thinking on your projects and serious decisions.

Think clear and go through the long list of behavioral biases, fallacies, illusions, myths.. and start eliminating one error after another from the list of prone error tendencies.

Rational thinking might not give you a correct resolution, but again, you have been vaunting the superiority of mankind brain over other species who have far better abilities and capabilities than us in many domains.

Repeat the rational thinking process as you invested in acquiring your talents.

Note 1: Read “The Art of Thinking Clear”

Note 2: I have realized that I prefer to extend only one opinion on an issue, the best of my opinions and never give choices. Why?

1. If the opinion is found correct by the reader, the better off he is. And the reader was not disturbed and confused by contradicting alternatives and could assimilate the single opinion.

2. If the opinion is “proved” flawed, it is a marvelous opportunity for the reader to reflect deeper on the topic, reach a proper alternative and incorporate it in his unique worldview model




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