Fêtes nationales: Les sionistes ont même inventé la fête nationale ! (Zionists even invented national days !)

14 juillet, 2014
http://www.herodote.net/_images/fete1880_maxi.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/32/Decalogue_parchment_by_Jekuthiel_Sofer_1768.jpghttp://judaisme.sdv.fr/perso/rneher-b/tabloi/decl1789.jpghttp://euro-jihad.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Screen-Shot-2014-07-13-at-10.55.21-AM-500x279.pngTu compteras sept semaines; dès que la faucille sera mise dans les blés, tu commenceras à compter sept semaines. Puis tu célébreras la fête des semaines, et tu feras des offrandes volontaires, selon les bénédictions que l’Éternel, ton Dieu, t’aura accordées. Deutéronome 16: 9-10
Le jour de la Pentecôte, ils étaient tous ensemble dans le même lieu. Tout à coup il vint du ciel un bruit comme celui d’un vent impétueux, et il remplit toute la maison où ils étaient assis. Des langues, semblables à des langues de feu, leur apparurent, séparées les unes des autres, et se posèrent sur chacun d’eux. Et ils furent tous remplis du Saint Esprit, et se mirent à parler en d’autres langues, selon que l’Esprit leur donnait de s’exprimer.  Actes 2: 1-4
Dans le calendrier juif, Chavouot se déroule "sept semaines entières" ou cinquante jours jusqu’au lendemain du septième sabbat" après la fête de Pessa’h. De là son nom de Fête des Semaines (Chavouot, en hébreu) et celui de Pentecôte (cinquantième [jour], en grec ancien) dans le judaïsme hellénistique. Fête à considérer comme un sursaut de la tradition prophétique qui tend à s’estomper dans le judaïsme du Second Temple au profit d’une religion sacerdotale, elle puise ses origines dans une fête célébrant les moissons qui devient progressivement la célébration de l’Alliance sinaïtique entre Dieu et Moïse et de l’instauration de la Loi mosaïque1. Vers le début du Ier siècle, elle devient l’un des trois grands pèlerinages annuels, surtout célébré par certains juifs hellénisés et par certaines sectes juives tout en conservant hors de ces groupes minoritaires sa dimension agricole jusqu’au Ier siècle de notre ère. Ce n’est qu’à partir du IIe siècle que le pharisianisme liera la fête de la moisson à la commémoration du don de la Loi au Sinaï. Les Actes des Apôtres situent explicitement lors de cette fête juive le récit où les premiers disciples de Jésus de Nazareth reçoivent l’Esprit Saint et une inspiration divine dans le Cénacle de Jérusalem : des langues de feu se posent sur chacun d’eux, formalisant la venue de l’Esprit dans un épisode de communication inspirée qui permet aux disciples de s’exprimer dans d’autres langues que le galiléen sans qu’on sache s’il s’agit plutôt de polyglottisme ou de glossolalie. L’image du feu — conforme à la tradition juive de l’époque sur l’épisode de la révélation sinaïtique que l’épisode entend renouveler — matérialise la Voix divine. La tradition chrétienne perçoit et présente la Pentecôte comme la réception du don des langues qui permet de porter la promesse du salut universel aux confins de la terre1 ainsi que semble en attester l’origine des témoins de l’évènement, issus de toute la Diaspora juive. Wikipedia
Dans l’ancien Orient, lors d’une alliance entre deux puissances, on disposait, dans le temple des partenaires, un document écrit devant être lu périodiquement, il n’est donc pas surprenant que les Tables de la Loi soit le témoignage concret de l’Alliance entre Dieu et son peuple. C’est la raison pour laquelle, les images des tables sont souvent présentes sur le fronton des synagogues. (…) Dans les temples protestants, une représentation des Tables de la Loi remplaçait, jusqu’au XVIIe siècle, la croix des églises catholiques. Wikipedia
L’Assemblée Nationale reconnaît et déclare, en présence et sous les auspices de l’Être suprême, les droits suivants de l’Homme et du Citoyen… Préambule de la Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen
Le texte s’inscrit sur deux registres, dont la forme évoque celles des Tables de la Loi rapportées par Moïse du mont Sinaï. Il est accompagné de figures allégoriques personnifiant la France et la Renommée, et de symboles comme le faisceau (unité), le bonnet "phrygien" (liberté), le serpent se mordant la queue (éternité), la guirlande de laurier (gloire), les chaînes brisées (victoire sur le despotisme) ; l’ensemble étant placé sous l’œil du Dieu créateur, rayonnant d’un triangle à la fois biblique et maçonnique. Philippe de Carbonnières
Les journées les plus décisives de la Révolution française sont contenues, sont impliquées dans ce premier fait qui les enveloppe : le 14 juillet 1789. Et voilà pourquoi aussi c’est la vraie date révolutionnaire, celle qui fait tressaillir la France ! On comprend que ce jour-là notre Nouveau Testament nous a été donné et que tout doit en découler. Léon Gambetta (14 juillet 1872)
La Fête de la Fédération: Il s’agit de la fête la plus célèbre de la Révolution française. Fête emblématique, au point qu’aujourd’hui encore notre fête nationale réunit en elle deux adversaires : la prise de la Bastille, le 14 juillet 1789, et la Fédération du 14 juillet 1790. L’intention primitive de la fête n’était pourtant pas celle d’une célébration unanime. L’idée était née en province, dans cet hiver 1790 où les alliances défensives, hantées par les souvenirs de la Grande Peur, n’avaient cessé de se nouer entre les gardes nationales et l’armée tout entière. Des fêtes locales et toutes militaires scellaient ces pactes. Paris s’inquiète alors de l’agitation qui risque de gagner les troupes régulières et choisit de la contrôler en convoquant dans la capitale, pour le 14 juillet, les députations provinciales. Mais le caractère conservateur d’une fête destinée à garantir l’ordre est vite débordé par l’enthousiasme collectif d’où la Fédération tire son prestige légendaire. Mona Ozouf
Les légitimistes s’évertuent alors à démonter le mythe du 14 Juillet, à le réduire à l’expression violente d’une foule (pas du peuple) assoiffée de sang (les meurtres des derniers défenseurs de la Bastille malgré la promesse de protection) allant jusqu’au sacrilège du cadavre (des têtes dont celle du gouverneur Launay parcourant Paris plantée au bout d’une pique) (…) la Bastille n’était pas un bagne, occupée qu’elle était par quelques prisonniers sans envergure, elle n’était pas la forteresse du pouvoir royal absolu tourné contre le peuple à travers l’instrumentalisation des canons, elle n’était pas la forteresse à partir de laquelle la reconquête de la ville pouvait être envisagée puisqu’elle n’était défendue que par quelques soldats qui du reste se sont rendus en fin d’après-midi. Le mythe de la prise de la Bastille tombe de lui-même pour les monarchistes et même plus il est une création politique construisant artificiellement le mythe du peuple s’émancipant, plus encore il apparaît comme annonciateur de la Terreur, justifiant les surnoms de "saturnales républicaines", de "fête de l’assassinat"… Pierrick Hervé
Le 14 juillet 1935: La SFIO se rallient aux communistes et acceptent une grande alliance avec les Radicaux. Un "Congrès international des écrivains pour la défense et la culture", réuni à Paris , rassemble des humanistes et des anti-fascistes allemands. Le mouvement Amsterdam-Pleyel propose de manifester le 14 juillet 1935 dans toute la France contre le fascisme. Le jour de la fête nationale, des délégués venus de tous les départements jurent de "défendre les libertés démocratiques, de donner du pain aux travailleurs, du travail à la jeunesse et au monde la grande paix humaine". 500 000 personnes défilent de la Bastille à Vincennes avec Léon Blum à leur tête. Le leader de la SFIO est accompagné de Maurice Thorez (PC), de Benoît Frachon (CGTU) et Léon Jouhaux (CGT) ainsi que Edouard Daladier (Parti Radical). En Province, les manifestations atteignent également du 12 février 1934. On entend en même temps l’Internationale et la Marseillaise, on mêle le drapeau tricolore au drapeau rouge. Cette fois, l’unité est en marche pour de bon. Et dès le lendemain, on crée le comité national du Rassemblement populaire pour le pain la paix et la liberté. L’expression Front Populaire s’impose dans le langage. David Martin
La France, patrie des Lumières et des Droits de l’Homme, terre d’accueil et d’asile, la France, ce jour-là, accomplissait l’irréparable. Manquant à sa parole, elle livrait ses protégés à leurs bourreaux»… Jacques Chirac (16 juillet 1995)
La France appelle au cessez-le feu immédiat (…) Nous condamnons les tirs de roquettes qui se sont produits de la part du Hamas sur la population civile israélienne mais nous demandons aussi à Israël de faire preuve de mesure dans sa riposte et en particulier de respecter le droit international et de faire en sorte que les victimes civiles soient épargnées. Jean-Yves Le Drian (ministre de la Défense français)
Les tirs de roquettes aveugles sur Israël à partir de la bande de Gaza sont des actes terroristes, pour lesquels il n’existe aucune justification. Il est évident que le Hamas utilise délibérément des boucliers humains pour faire avancer le terroriste dans la région. L’incapacité de la communauté internationale à condamner ces actes répréhensibles encouragera les terroristes à poursuivre leurs actions épouvantables. Le Canada demande à ses alliés et partenaires de reconnaître que ces actes terroristes sont inacceptables et que la solidarité avec Israël est la meilleure façon d’arrêter le conflit. Le Canada est sans équivoque derrière Israël. Nous soutenons son droit à se défendre, par lui-même, contre ces attaques terroristes, et exhortons le Hamas à cesser immédiatement leurs attaques aveugles contre des civils israéliens innocents. Le Canada réitère son appel au gouvernement palestinien à désarmer le Hamas et les autres groupes terroristes palestiniens opérant à Gaza, y compris le mandataire iranien, le Djihad Islamique palestinien. Steven Harper (Premier-ministre canadien)

Après Thanksgiving, le panier à trois points, l’Amérique, Superman, le soft power, le génocide, les sionistes ont même inventé la fête nationale ! …

Anniversaire du souverain ou de son accession au trône,  saint patron, explorateur, poète, poème, indépendance, proclamation de la République, victoire du Parti, victoire sur le nazisme, réunification …

En ce 14 juillet où la Patrie autoproclamée des droits de l’homme se joint comme prévu au reste du Monde libre, Canada excepté …

Pour faire la leçon de la "mesure", elle qui deux jours après sa fête nationale il y a 72 ans livrait aux nazis et à l’extermination les juifs qui l’avaient choisie comme refuge, à la seule véritable démocratie du Moyen-Orient alors que, depuis sa (re)création il y a 64 ans, celle-ci ne fait que défendre l’existence que ses voisins lui refusent …

Pendant que dans nos rues nos chères têtes blondes défilent avec tous les drapeaux imaginables excepté le tricolore …

Retour, avec un excellent papier du site Hérodote, sur l’invention des fêtes nationales ..

Où l’on apprend qu’avec les révolutions et les indépendances qui les ont apportées, elles n’ont guère plus d’un siècle …

Et que mis à part les quelques monarchies ou républiques qui ont conservé pour ce faire l’anniversaire de leur souverain ou de son accession au trône voire la fête de leur saint patron …

Elles sont pour l’essentiel, reconnaissant de fait la nécessité d’une certaine sacralisation en ces temps de déchristianisation avancée, la tentative de laïciser des fêtes auparavant religieuses …

Dont l’archétype n’est probablement nul autre que le petit Etat d’Israël …

Qui d’une simple fête des moissons fit avec la Fête des semaines (sept semaines après la Pâque, devenue en grec Pentecôte puis, pour les chrétiens avec la réception de l’Esprit-Saint, fête de la fondation de l’Eglise) la célébration de sa Torah fondatrice (dont les fameuses tables inspireront d’ailleurs nos propres Droits de l’homme) …

Au moment même où, avec l’exil et la déportation, il avait perdu à la fois son roi et son temple ..

Avant de rejoindre, à son tour avec sa propre fête de l’indépendance il n’y a guère plus de 60 ans,  le reste des grandes démocraties …

Symboles nationaux

Les fêtes nationales dans le monde

La fête nationale est une pratique récente. Elle remonte à la deuxième moitié du XIXe siècle seulement et recouvre des réalités très diverses.

Auparavant, on célébrait simplement l’anniversaire du souverain régnant ou de son accession au trône. Cette tradition perdure dans la plupart des monarchies actuelles, au Royaume-Uni et aux Pays-Bas aussi bien qu’au Maroc, en Thaïlande, au Népal ou au Japon.

Aujourd’hui, la plupart des États consacrent une journée par an – parfois deux – à leur autocélébration en commémorant un événement fondateur (indépendance ou révolution).

André Larané
Lithographie évoquant la revue de Longchamp du 14 juillet 1880 (Centre historique des Archives nationales)

Rituels civiques et populaires

L’émergence des nationalismes au XIXe siècle a conduit les Européens à se doter de rituels d’essence religieuse, propres à renforcer les liens civiques, comme la fête nationale mais aussi l’hymne national et l’allégeance au drapeau. Ce phénomène a débuté dans les régimes et les États issus d’une révolution, aux États-Unis, en Belgique, en France…

Aux États-Unis, le 4 juillet, anniversaire de la proclamation d’indépendance, a été proclamé fête nationale dès 1781 par le petit État du Massachusetts mais c’est seulement en 1870 que le Congrès américain a fait de cet anniversaire un jour férié.

La République française a fait du 14 juillet sa fête nationale en 1880 en lui donnant d’emblée une tonalité très militaire car chacun a en tête la défaite de Sedan, dix ans plus tôt. Nul doute qu’il y a aussi chez les gouvernants français la volonté de concurrencer les rituels chrétiens traditionnels. Ils y réussissent plutôt bien.

En 1890, la Belgique s’est à son tour dotée d’une fête nationale, le 21 juillet, anniversaire de l’accession au trône de son premier monarque, Léopold 1er. Pour ne pas être en reste, la Confédération helvétique a fait l’année suivante de l’anniversaire du pacte de Grütli (1er août 1291) la fête nationale suisse.

L’Irlande indépendante et le Québec, nations profondément catholiques, du moins jusqu’à la fin du XXe siècle, ont choisi d’honorer leur saint patron en guise de fête nationale. La Saint-Patrick (17 mars) est fêtée à grand renfort de chopines et de chansons dans tous les pubs irlandais de la planète (qui sait combien il y en a !). La Saint-Jean-Baptiste (24 juin) donne lieu au Québec à des agapes très joyeuses autour des traditionnels feux de la Saint-Jean et, dit-on, dans des effluves de cannabis caractéristiques.

Le jour de l'Hispanité ou Dia de la Raza au Mexique (DR)

L’Espagne, tiraillée entre des visions contraires de son Histoire nationale, a choisi depuis 1958 d’honorer ce qui fait consensus : les Descubridores (« Explorateurs »). C’est ainsi qu’elle célèbre la Fête de l’Hispanité le 12 octobre, jour anniversaire de l’arrivée de Christophe Colomb en Amérique. Cette fête est aussi célébrée avec danses et carnavals dans l’Amérique espagnole mais elle est de plus en plus contestée par les mouvements amérindiens qui y voient un reliquat de l’ère coloniale.

Dans une démarche similaire, le Portugal a choisi de célébrer le Jour du Portugal, de Camões et des communautés portugaises le 10 juin, jour anniversaire de la mort de son grand poète épique Luís Vaz de Camões (1525-1580).

La Finlande, en bonne républicaine, commémore son indépendance le 6 décembre mais elle célèbre aussi le Jour du Kalevala et de la culture finlandaise le 28 février, jour anniversaire de la publication de son grand poème national (1835).

Une « tradition » très contemporaine

Défilé du 9 mai 2014 sur la place Rouge à Moscou (DR)De façon plus conventionnelle, la plupart des républiques issues de la décolonisation et des révolutions du XIXe et du XXe siècles ont fixé leur fête nationale au jour anniversaire de leur indépendance ou de leur révolution.

C’est le cas des États latino-américains et balkaniques comme des États asiatiques ou africains. Le défilé militaire est à peu près partout au programme des festivités… Les bals populaires sont plus rares.

L’Uruguay célèbre tout à la fois sa Constitution (18 juillet) et son Indépendance (15 août). Anticlérical à la manière hispano-américaine, ce petit pays a laïcisé par ailleurs les fêtes catholiques sous des noms aussi pittoresques que Jour de la Famille (25 décembre), Jour de l’Enfant (6 janvier) ou Semaine du Tourisme (Semaine Sainte).

L’Histoire de la Chine se lit dans ses fêtes nationales. La Chine nationaliste (Taiwan) célèbre l’anniversaire de la proclamation de la République, le 10 octobre 1911 (c’est le « Double Dix ») tandis que la Chine populaire préfère la victoire du parti communiste, le 1er octobre 1949.

Depuis la chute de l’URSS, la Russie ne célèbre évidemment plus la Révolution d’Octobre. Elle lui préfère la victoire sur le nazisme au terme de la « Grande Guerre patriotique ». Elle est commémorée le 9 mai.

Il semblerait que la version peace and love des fêtes nationales ait du mal à s’imposer… La nouvelle Allemagne a fixé au 3 octobre, jour anniversaire de sa réunification en 1990, sa fête nationale, dite « Jour de l’Unité allemande ». Il ne s’agit que d’un jour chômé ordinaire, avec quelques discours officiels et convenus, sans festivités populaires d’aucune sorte. Même sort pour la Fête de l’Europe, fixée le 9 mai, jour anniversaire de la création en 1950 de la CECA (Communauté européenne du charbon et de l’acier, tout un programme !).

La première fête nationale serait-elle hébraïque ?

Les anciens Hébreux ont institué la fête des semaines, ainsi nommée parce qu’elle vient sept semaines après Pessah, la Pâque juive (aussi appelée Chavouot, cette fête a été quelque peu reprise par les chrétiens sous le nom de Pentecôte).

À cette occasion, ils se devaient d’offrir au Temple de Jérusalem les premiers fruits de la saison, ce que l’on appelle les « prémices ». Et ils profitaient de ce pèlerinage pour raconter devant leurs congénères l’histoire de leur famille, de la fuite d’Égypte à l’installation sur la Terre Sainte de Palestine.

Selon l’historien franco-israélien Alain Michel, on peut y voir un rituel destiné à souder la communauté et lui rappeler les combats menés pour conquérir sa place au soleil. En quelque sorte la première « fête nationale » !

Après la destruction du Temple, les juifs de la diaspora ont réduit ce « devoir de mémoire » à une lecture des livres sacrés de la Torah. C’est pourquoi cette fête s’appelle aussi aujourd’hui Fête de promulgation de la Torah.

Voir aussi:

1er août 1291
Le serment de Grütli

Hérodote

Le 1er août 1291, une trentaine de rudes montagnards se réunissent dans la prairie de Grütli (ou Rütli selon l’orthographe alémanique), au-dessus du lac des Quatre-Cantons. Ils se prêtent serment d’assistance mutuelle contre les exactions de leur seigneur.

De ce jour date selon la tradition la naissance de la Suisse indépendante…
André Larané
Fête nationale

En 1891, en souvenir de cet événement, les Suisses ont fait du 1er août leur fête nationale. Ce jour est chômé depuis 1994.
Des montagnards attachés à leurs libertés

Le col du Saint-Gothard, au coeur des Alpes, est une voie commerciale de première importance entre l’Allemagne et l’Italie. Au cours du XIIIe siècle, son franchissement en est facilité par la construction d’un pont dans le défilé des Schöllenen, le «pont du Diable» (cet ouvrage a défié les siècles jusqu’en 1888).

Les communautés paysannes des «pays forestiers» (Waldstaten), au nord du massif du Saint-Gothard et sur les bords du lac des Quatre-Cantons, profitent des droits de passage générés par le trafic commercial. Elles s’enrichissent et consolident leur autonomie. Mais celle-ci ne tarde pas à être menacée par le comte Rodolphe 1er de Habsbourg, dont les domaines cernent les «pays forestiers» et mordent de plus en plus à l’intérieur.

Pour se défendre contre ses empiètements, les montagnards obtiennent de l’empereur germanique Frédéric II de Hohenstaufen l’«immédiateté». Par ce privilège féodal, ils dépendent directement (ou immédiatement) de l’empereur (lointain donc peu gênant) et ne doivent rien au comte.

Mais voilà que le 1er octobre 1273, plus de vingt ans après la mort de Frédéric II, Rodolphe 1er de Habsbourg est à son tour élu empereur d’Allemagne. Il se croit dès lors en mesure de réduire les libertés dont bénéficient ses sujets montagnards. Il en a d’autant plus besoin qu’il mène de coûteuses expéditions dans les régions danubiennes et manque d’argent.

Prenant exemple sur les villes italiennes qui ont réussi à conquérir leur autonomie, trois communautés décident de faire front. Il s’agit des cantons d’Uri et de Schwyz ainsi que du demi-canton de Nidwald, qui fait partie avec Obwald du canton d’Unterwald (ou Unterwalden).
Tous contre un…

Les montagnards mettent à profit le passage à vide qui suit la mort de l’empereur Rodolphe 1er, survenue à Spire le 15 juillet 1291, pour réunir leurs forces.

Leurs représentants (Walter Fürst, Werner Stauffacher et Arnold de Melchtal si l’on en croit la tradition) se retrouvent dans la prairie de Grütli «en l’an du Seigneur 1291 au début du mois d’août». Là, ils font le serment de se défendre ensemble contre les empiètements des Habsbourg.

Rédigé en latin, le serment de Grütli prévoit que les confédérés se prêteraient secours en cas d’attaque, n’accepteraient aucun juge étranger, trancheraient leurs différends par l’arbitrage des plus sages, puniraient les criminels, incendiaires et voleurs.

Le pacte est conclu pour l’éternité mais ses signataires n’entendent en rien fonder une Nation… Il n’empêche que la commémoration de ce jour sera plus tard fête nationale.
Guillaume Tell

Depuis le XVe siècle, les Suisses se délectent de l’histoire de Guillaume Tell, qui est à vrai dire un condensé de différents récits oraux, la réalité historique du héros national n’étant en rien attestée.

Cet habile archer est originaire du village d’Altdorf, capitale du canton d’Uri. Son bailli, Hermann Gessler, gère avec dureté les intérêts des Habsbourg. Il plante sur la place du village un pieu surmonté de son chapeau et ordonne à chacun de s’incliner en passant devant lui.

Guillaume Tell refuse d’obéir. Le bailli le fait arrêter et lui impose en guise de sanction de tirer avec son arbalète sur une pomme placée… sur la tête de son fils Walter. C’est ça ou la mort immédiate pour le père et le fils !

L’affaire se serait déroulée le 18 novembre 1307. Prenant deux «carreaux» (flèches d’arbalète) entre les doigts, Guillaume Tell vise la pomme et la fend en deux. Le bailli, qui assiste à la scène, lui demande pourquoi il a pris deux carreaux. Et lui de répondre que s’il avait touché son fils, il aurait aussitôt dirigé le second carreau vers le bailli.

Ce dernier, n’appréciant pas la plaisanterie, ordonne qu’on emmène l’archer dans sa forteresse, de l’autre côté du lac de Lucerne. Mais le rebelle réussit à s’enfuir en sautant de la barque et, gagnant par ses propres moyens la forteresse, tue pour de bon le méchant bailli.

Voir encore:

«Guillaume Tell est un véritable mythe»

Roger Sablonier, historien médiéviste, ne veut ni casser les mythes ni démolir les traditions. Mais il démontre que l’histoire fondatrice de l’Etat suisse par le serment des trois Confédérés sur la prairie du Grütli est une invention.

Swiss info

01. août 2008

Cet expert du Moyen Age évoque pour swissinfo cette histoire mythique de la Suisse vers 1300, sur laquelle il vient de publier un livre en allemand.
swissinfo: Pas de Guillaume Tell, pas de serment du Grütli. Faut-il alors supprimer aussi la Fête nationale du 1er Août?

Roger Sablonier: Pas du tout. La Fête nationale a été célébrée pour la première fois en 1891. L’arrière-fond historique avec la signature du Pacte fédéral de 1291 par les trois Confédérés sur le Grütli a été créé de toutes pièces, et surtout au 19e siècle.

Cela ne change rien au fait que la tradition du 1er Août est devenue importante et que, faisant partie d’une culture historique populaire, elle appartient à la culture politique de la Suisse. Du point de vue de l’histoire des mentalités, elle peut être considérée comme ayant joué un rôle important dans le processus d’unification nationale d’un pays constitué de plusieurs minorités.
swissinfo: La Suisse primitive n’a donc jamais existé, pas plus que les «cantons primitifs» d’Uri, Schwyz et Unterwald?

R. S.: La croyance populaire qui voudrait qu’Uri, Schwyz et Unterwald existaient déjà en tant que «cantons» autour de 1300 est effectivement fausse. La notion de «Suisse primitive» est imputable à l’idée que la Suisse centrale aurait formé le «noyau», la «racine», de la future Confédération, voire même de la Suisse actuelle.

Les recherches historiques des dernières décennies ont permis de montrer que la formation de cet Etat est un processus de longue durée, sur lequel la ville de Berne a pesé de manière importante aux 14e et 15e siècles, mais qui s’explique surtout par la situation politique dans les pays environnants.
swissinfo: Votre livre s’intitule «Gründungszeit ohne Eidgenossen» (une fondation sans Confédérés). Il n’y a donc pas de Confédération non plus?

R. S.: C’est un malentendu flagrant. Quelque chose s’est bien évidemment construit au fil du temps dans l’espace de la Suisse actuelle, qui peut être décrit comme la Confédération.

Mais cela ne s’est fait qu’au 15e, et surtout au 19e siècle. Si la Suisse moderne veut se qualifier de Confédération, elle n’a aucun besoin de se prévaloir de l’histoire de la fin du 13e siècle.
swissinfo: Le Pacte fédéral, qui a servi de modèle à de nombreuses chartes, notamment aux Etats-Unis, ne date donc pas de 1291. Mais de quand, alors?

R. S.: Ce n’est pas nouveau de dire que la Suisse n’a pas été fondée par la Charte fédérale. Ce texte «de 1291» n’est pas un document fondateur, parce qu’au Moyen Age, on était bien incapable de fonder un Etat.

C’est un document qui assure le pouvoir aux dirigeants locaux, entre autres les nobles, sous forme de contrat écrit antidaté.

Il est le produit d’une situation particulière et ne parle ni de liberté, ni de résistance contre la domination des Habsbourg, ni même de la fondation d’un Etat.
swissinfo: Qui est Guillaume Tell selon vous? Faut-il encore mentionner son nom?

R. S.: Bien sûr que oui. L’histoire de Tell est, à mon avis, la seule part de la tradition de libération que je considérerais comme un véritable mythe, même si notre vision est d’abord influencée par celle de Schiller.

L’image de Tell est un symbole de courage civil et d’aspiration à la liberté, mais elle a une importance plus politique que scientifique.
swissinfo: Votre livre veut-il faire table rase de légendes dépassées?

R. S.: Non. A part certaines choses qu’on pourrait peut-être éliminer, comme par exemple la bataille de Morgarten, je ne veux rien démolir, mais je veux reconstruire.

Mon but est de prouver qu’une fois démontré le rôle de ces légendes pour l’histoire de la Suisse centrale des environs de 1300, il ne reste pas un simple trou noir.

On ne peut pas se contenter de dire ce qu’il n’y avait pas, mais au contraire que cette région a indubitablement sa propre histoire qui, même sans «lunettes confédérales», peut se montrer bien plus passionnante et riche en enseignements que celle des héros nationaux.
swissinfo: Les nationalistes de droite de l’UDC se sont toujours réclamés des anciens Confédérés qui se sont battus courageusement contre l’ennemi extérieur pour défendre la liberté et l’indépendance. Vous tirez le tapis sous les pieds du premier parti de Suisse…

R. S.: Là, vous exagérez beaucoup le rôle et l’importance de la recherche historique. Cette manière d’instrumentaliser l’histoire fait partie de la culture politique de ce pays et sert les intérêts de la politique au quotidien.
swissinfo: Votre livre détruit des mythes. Mais un pays n’a-t-il pas besoin de mythes pour renforcer son sentiment national?

R. S.: Je ne suis pas du tout d’accord avec cette idée de destruction de mythes. A part dans le cas de Tell, je ne parle pas volontiers de mythes, mais plutôt de légendes fondatrices, comme le serment du Grütli, qui a donné une légitimité historique à l’Etat constitutionnel libéral et démocratique fondé au 19e siècle.

Il n’y a pas besoin de détruire les mythes. On ne le peut pas non plus, car ils ont un rôle à jouer dans la recherche scientifique. La discussion sur leur supposée authenticité historique n’a pas de sens, parce que les mythes n’ont pas besoin d’être authentiques pour avoir un impact sur les humains.

Mythes et légendes ne sont pas mauvais en soi. Mais si on les utilise pour titiller les émotions nationalistes en se servant de la xénophobie et du racisme, c’est une autre histoire.

Interview swissinfo: Gaby Ochsenbein
(Traduction de l’allemand: Isabelle Eichenberger)


Bigorexie: Les garçons ont trouvé leur anorexie à eux (Bigorexia: a new lost generation of angry young men ready to die for the perfect beach body)

14 juillet, 2014

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Certes, il était sûr qu’on s’intéressait un jour à nouveau à l’art de la faim, mais cela ne pouvait consoler ceux qui étaient en vie. Franz Kafka
Pourquoi l’anorexie frappe-t-elle certaines femmes plus que d’autres ? Les individus sont plus ou moins rivalitaires, il n’en va pas autrement dans le cas de la minceur que dans d’autres domaines. Les femmes anorexiques veulent être championnes de leur catégorie. C’est pareil dans le monde de la finance. La différence, c’est que le désir d’être plus riche que les autres n’apparaît pas comme pathologique. Par contre, le désir d’être plus mince, s’il est poussé à l’extrême, a des effets funestes visibles sur le plan physique.(…) Le résultat final est tragique dans les cas extrêmes, mais cela ne doit pas nous faire perdre de vue le fait que l’obsession de la minceur caractérise toute notre culture, ce n’est nullement quelque chose qui distingue ces jeunes filles. L’impératif qui pousse ces femmes à se laisser mourir de faim vient de toute la société. C’est un impératif unanime. De ce point de vue, donc, c’est organisé comme un sacrifice. (…) L’étape critique est atteinte quand la compétition se nourrit exclusivement d’elle-même, oubliant ses objectifs initiaux. Les femmes anorexiques ne s’intéressent pas du tout aux hommes; tout comme ces hommes, elles concourent entre elles, simplement pour la compétition elle-même. (…) Nous vivons dans un monde où manger trop et ne pas manger assez sont deux moyens opposés mais inséparables de faire face à l’impératif de minceur qui domine l’imaginaire collectif. La plupart d’entre nous oscillent, la vie durant, entre des formes atténuées de ces deux pathologies. (…° Nous vivons à une époque où les actions les plus saines comme les plus malsaines peuvent avoir la même motivation. La véritable raison pour laquelle beaucoup de jeunes gens, et particulièrement de jeunes femmes, rejoignent de nos jours le banc des fumeurs, ou n’arrêtent pas de fumer, malgré les recommandations des pouvoirs publics, c’est la crainte de prendre du poids, une crainte que ces mêmes pouvoirs publics, curieusement, s’évertuent à encourager et à renforcer.

Nos péchés sont inscrits dans notre chair et nous devons les expier jusqu’à la dernière calorie, à travers une privation plus sévère qu’aucune religion n’en a jamais imposé à ses adeptes.(…) Il y a une grande ironie dans le fait que le processus moderne d’éradication de la religion en produit d’innombrables caricatures. On nous dit souvent que nos problèmes sont dus à notre incapacité à nous débarrasser de notre tradition religieuse mais ce n’est pas vrai. Ils sont enracinés dans la débâcle de cette tradition, qui est nécessairement suivie par la réapparition, dans des habits modernes, de divinités plus anciennes et plus féroces nées du processus mimétique.

Quand les riches s’habituent à leur richesse, la simple consommation ostentatoire perd de son attrait et les nouveaux riches se métamorphosent en anciens riches. Ils considèrent ce changement comme le summum du raffinement culturel et font de leur mieux pour le rendre aussi visible que la consommation qu’ils pratiquaient auparavant. C’est à ce moment-là qu’ils inventent la non-consommation ostentatoire, qui paraît, en surface, rompre avec l’attitude qu’elle supplante mais qui n’est, au fond, qu’une surenchère mimétique du même processus.

Dans notre société la non-consommation ostentatoire est présente dans bien des domaines, dans l’habillement par exemple. Les jeans déchirés, le blouson trop large, le pantalon baggy, le refus de s’apprêter sont des formes de non-consommation ostentatoire. La lecture politiquement correcte de ce phénomène est que les jeunes gens riches se sentent coupables en raison de leur pouvoir d’achat supérieur ; ils désirent, si ce n’est être pauvres, du moins le paraitre. Cette interprétation est trop idéaliste. Le vrai but est une indifférence calculée à l’égard des vêtements, un rejet ostentatoire de l’ostentation. Plus nous sommes riches en fait, moins nous pouvons nous permettre de nous montrer grossièrement matérialistes car nous entrons dans une hiérarchie de jeux compétitifs qui deviennent toujours plus subtils à mesure que l’escalade progresse. A la fin, ce processus peut aboutir à un rejet total de la compétition, ce qui peut être, même si ce n’est pas toujours le cas, la plus intense des compétitions.

La rivalité s’intensifie à mesure que le nombre d’imitateurs augmente.(…) Mais il est peu probable qu’un de nos contemporains égale jamais L’Artiste de la faim de Franz Kafka. Pour comprendre cette nouvelle, il faut savoir qu’au XIXe et au début du XXe siècle, on exhibait dans les foires et les cirques ce qu’on appelait des "squelettes vivants" et des "artistes du jeûne". Sortes d’hybrides entre monstres et champions sportifs qui se vantaient tous d’avoir battu les records précédents d’émaciation.

René Girard
In the 1930s, men’s nipples were just as provocative, shameful, and taboo as women’s are now, and men were protesting in much the same way. In 1930, four men went topless to Coney Island and were arrested. In 1935, a flash mob of topless men descended upon Atlantic City, 42 of whom were arrested. Men fought and they were heard, changing not only laws but social consciousness. And by 1936, men’s bare chests were accepted as the norm. So why is it that 80 years later women can’t seem to achieve the same for their chests? Scout Willis
By the early 1900s men’s bathing suits had become more streamlined but still covered much of the body. In 1916 beaches on Chicago’s Lake Michigan required men’s bathing costumes to be cut no lower on the chest than the armpits. Bathing suit bottoms had to have a "skirt effect" or a long shirt had to be worn over the suit. The bottoms themselves could be no more than four inches above the knee. A possible alternative was flannel knee pants with a belt and fly front worn with a vest. Failure to obey these rules could result in arrest for indecent exposure. Such modest styles began to change during the 1930s. The invention of a rubberized thread called lycra made a new type of snug-fitting bathing suit possible, and a "nude look" came into fashion on beaches everywhere, with tight, one-piece suits that looked glamorous and made swimming easier. However, men still wanted to swim and relax on beaches bare-chested. In 1933 a men’s suit called "the topper" was introduced with a removable tank top that allowed daring men to expose their chests when they wished. That same year the BVD company, which made men’s underwear, introduced a line of men’s swimwear designed by Olympic swimming champion Johnny Weismuller (1904–1984). The new BVD suit was a tight-fitting one piece with a top made of a series of thin straps that exposed much of the chest, while still remaining within the law. In the summer of 1936 a male "no shirt movement" led many men to protest the chest-covering requirements. Although topless men were banned from beaches from Atlantic City, New Jersey, to Galveston, Texas, the men eventually swayed the legislature, and by 1937 it was legal for men to appear in public wearing only swim trunks. Since that time men’s swimwear styles have changed little. Into the twenty-first century swim trunks have been either loose-fitting shorts in a "boxer" style or the tighter fitting "brief" style. Fashion encyclopedia
Baring your beer belly is off the menu in Southend this summer, as visitors to the Adventure Island funfair are being told to please keep their clothes on. The park’s new ‘Wear Your Shirt’ rule will be enforced no matter how high the temperatures rise, and has been inspired by similiar dress codes used in U.S. theme parks which urge men to stay covered up in a bid to maintain family-friendly standards. A spokesman for the park said: ‘We don’t have a strict dress code as such, but would like our male customers to show some decorum. Not welcome: Funfair Adventure Island in Southend is banning bare chests this summer. In recent years, we’ve seen increasing numbers of lads and men whipping their tops off, eager to make the most of the sun – which is understandable, of course, as Southend is the warmest and driest part of the UK. ‘That’s absolutely fine in the right environment, but we try very hard to be a family-focused business and not everybody is a fan of bare chests. ‘We simply want to make sure that Adventure Island maintains its status as the best place to bring the whole family for a fun, safe, reasonably-priced great day out.’ Have some decorum: Marc Miller, managing director, has instructed signs to be posted around the park Signs are now being put up around the park and security staff will politely challenge individuals who have removed their tops and ask them to put them back on again. Those who refuse will be asked to leave. Mr Miller added: ‘Of course, we don’t want people to think we’re introducing a nightclub-style policy of no jeans or trainers. There definitely won’t be Adventure Island fashion police criticising people for wearing double denim combinations, spots with stripes or inappropriate shades of purple.  ‘We’ll simply point out that if you want to pose semi-naked, then Southend has miles of glorious beaches on which to do that.’ Daily Mail
Les savants américains ont fait une découverte surprenante. Pour se sentir heureux il faut être sûr que votre vie intime est meilleure et plus régulière que celle de vos voisins. (…) Les spécialistes ont analysé les données d’une grande recherche, menée depuis 1972. On a étudié l’information de la recherche reçue en 1993-2006 où 15 386 personnes ont pris part. Les personnes interrogées devaient apprécier l’état de leur âme (très heureux, assez heureux, malheureux). Les savants ont pris en considération les facteurs du bonheur : l’âge, la santé et la situation familiale. Les plus heureuses étaient les personnes qui avaient le sexe au moins 2-3 fois par mois. Leur état du bonheur était de 33% plus haut que chez ceux qui n’avaient pas le sexe depuis un an. Plus régulières étaient les relations intimes chez les personnes interrogées, plus heureuses elles étaient dans leur vie. Avoir des relations sexuelles 3 fois par semaine, une personne augmente le niveau de son bonheur de 55%. Les experts assurent que le sexe peut nous rendre plus heureux, mais la pensée que nous avons plus de relations sexuelles que nos amis, nos collègues et nos voisins nous réjouit d’avantage. Top rencontres
Here’s a little trick I use in my training, it may be of use to you. Pretend there is a crowd of thousands watching you, and if you pull out as many reps or pull the weight that you hope (say 200kg deadlift 3 reps) you win a million dollars, and actually believe in your mind that it is true. Watch yourself push harder for reasons that I cannot explain. Try it in your sets tonight. When you think you can’t even push a single more rep out, picture this in your mind and you will push out. Or even up the stakes, pretend a gunman is pointing a gun at someone you love and you MUST complete the reps or push the weight to let them live. That’s seriously the lengths I go to in my workouts, sets, and reps, to push myself as hard as possible. It’s as much of a mind game as a physical one. Zyzz Shreddedshian
À l’occasion de la Semaine nationale de sensibilisation aux troubles alimentaires, Mme Noël remarque que depuis deux ans, le phénomène de l’anorexie, qui affecte surtout les femmes, a maintenant son pendant masculin avec le développement de la bigorexie. Ce comportement incite les hommes à vouloir développer démesurément leur musculature afin de diminuer l’apport graisseux de leur corps. La consommation de diurétiques, laxatifs et autres produits présents dans les cas d’anorexie se traduit par la consommation de protéines, produits anabolisants circulant dans les gymnases. «C’est un phénomène nouveau, une mode dont on parle peu parce que les jeunes hommes parlent peu», explique Mme Noël. Pourtant, selon Mme Noël, les conséquences de la bigorexie sont aussi nocives ou sinon pires puisque l’abus de consommation de protéines disponibles sur l’internet peut avoir des impacts permanents sur les systèmes immunitaire et reproductif des jeunes hommes. La Presse
‘I am increasingly seeing a new breed of extremely narcissistic, under-fathered adolescent male," says the psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg. "He is beset with rigid, inflexible thinking, has no respect for authority, little exposure to tradition or ritual and has few, if any, skills in anger management." For teenage boys, violence has become a "sport", says Father Chris Riley, the founder of Youth Off the Streets. The latest "game", he says, is for groups of men to board trains and see how severely they can bash a lone commuter before he can escape at the next stop. Experts say this culture of anger and casual violence is the result of a toxic confluence of factors, among them increasing alcohol intake, the breakdown of the family unit, the normalisation of violence in popular culture and a show-off culture fostered by social networking. There is a typical profile of a violent teenager, says Professor Paul Mazerolle, the director of the Violence Research and Prevention Program at Griffith University. He often has an absent father or a violent one. He mimics those traits or adopts his idea of masculinity from Hollywood and from his peers. He is often disengaged from school or work. He feels he has little to contribute to society. He is disconnected from the structures that might lead him away from violence. "They’re connected differently now," Mazerolle says. "They might not be as connected to their neighbours but they are connected to 600 people on Facebook. If you don’t know your neighbours, you’re less likely to care if you blast your music loudly until 2am." Two other factors have become part of the mix. One is black-market guns. "The difference between a serious assault and a homicide is often access to a weapon," Mazerolle says. The other is a growing emphasis on fitness and working out, influenced by the subculture of amateur bodybuilding dubbed "aesthetics" by its poster boy, the late Eastwood entrepreneur Aziz "Zyzz" Shavershian. Zyzz, with 300,000 Facebook "fans", died last year after an apparent heart attack in a Bangkok sauna. Seizures of steroids and hormones increased 106 per cent in 2010-11 on the previous year, the Australian Crime Commission’s data show. Anecdotal evidence suggests the burgeoning industry has fostered "roid rage", as scores of pumped-up, amped-up men roam night-time hotspots. Carr-Gregg says the frontal cortex, which controls impulsiveness, develops fully in males only in their late 20s. "His body and physical strength have outgrown his brain. "He has feasted from an early age on a diet of violence as entertainment … he has an armoury of communication aids, which enable him to maintain 24/7 contact with similarly disaffected peers who are bonded by a fondness for, and access to, disinhibiting drugs and the money to pay for them." On top of this swirling mix is alcohol consumption. More than half of boys aged 15 to 17 drink alcohol and the proportion of 12- to 15-year-olds drinking at risky levels has doubled since 1990. A recent study by the Australian Institute of Criminology found the median number of standard drinks consumed by young men arrested for assault on a Friday or Saturday night was 22. Alcohol increases bravado and distorts perceptions. The tiniest thing, such as a spilt drink or a purposeful glance, can set a man off. Sydney Morning Herald
The recent death of a 22-year-old amateur Sydney bodybuilder has put the spotlight on a sub-culture that places emphasis on getting bigger at all costs – and experts warn the problem is affecting more young men than previously thought. Facebook sensation Aziz ‘Zyzz’ Sergeyevich Shavershian suffered a fatal heart attack in a Thai sauna last week. He gained a Facebook following of more than 80,000 fans, gaining popularity through workout videos posted on YouTube. Sydney University researcher and psychologist Stuart Murray said he believed instances of muscle dysmorphia, or “bigorexia,” are increasing and that the use of image-enhancing drugs is becoming the norm. “Steroid use is definitely on the rise but there isn’t enough research being done into this growing problem. I’m one of only two or three researchers in Australia working on this,” he said. Surry Hills Police Crime Prevention Officer Constable Craig Parkinson said that steroid use and dealing often flew under the radar and it wasn’t as easily detected as drugs like cocaine or ecstasy. “Recent reports in the media have highlighted the dangers of steroid use,” Constable Parkinson said. “The death of an otherwise fit, young Australian in Thailand has been related to steroid use and illustrates the negative effects of these supposed ‘performance enhancing’ drugs.” “Although customs have reported an increase in seizures of the drug, its use is somewhat understated. The dangers are real and potentially lethal.” Last month a man jumped four floors out of a Bondi apartment window when police knocked on his door. He was found in possession of steroids, illegal drugs and weapons. Mr Murray described bigorexia as “the pathological pursuit of muscularity”. “The thing with bigorexia is that people who suffer from it see it as a good thing. They will get anxiety if they can’t make it to the gym on a particular day, and they see that as a positive, the fact that they’re so committed,” he said. Mr Murray was particularly concerned with a rise in popularity of clenbuterol. The drug is used to treat asthma in horses, but gym junkies and even women looking to slim down are using it to shed fat and build muscle. “We don’t know too much about it because its popularity has only grown in the last five to ten years,” he said. And the quest for the perfect beach body isn’t just restricted to drugs that enhance the muscles. An unregulated tanning drug named Melanotan is increasing in popularity. It is injected into the skin, but the NSW Health Department has warned that it is a largely unknown substance and unlicensed for use in Australia. ABC
Back in the day when men’s chests were considered "erotically neutral" (to quote the English writer Mark Simpson), blokes could be casual or even blase about their torsos, no matter what shape they were in.
Shirtlessness can still be casual or blase, or – for want of a better word – ‘innocent’. But shirtlessness can also be a form of showcasing. And it seems that the more a guy has to showcase, the more likely he’ll be to wander about topless, and the further he’ll stray from the beach. But how far is too far? If the respondents to the vox pop on page 25 are any indication, everyone has their own view on that, showing that male toplessness runs its own jagged faultline through our community norms. The issue would seem almost entirely inconsequential, but the level of interest shown in steroid use and the Zyzz story suggests that the shirtless dudes on our streets are the visible tip of an iceberg; an iceberg that is probably bigger, and more destructive, than many of us realise. David Mills

 Anorexie, boulimie, bigorexie, anorexie athlétique, orthorexie, hyperphagie boulimique, prégorexie, dysmorphophobie  …

Au lendemain d’un mois de Coupe du monde de football et au début d’un nouveau Tour de France cycliste où l’on a pu et peut encore admirer, grâce on ne sait plus à quelles potions miracle et jusqu’aux morsures, les prouesses proprement surhumaines de nos nouveaux gladiateurs …

Mais aussi où, avec l’horrible lynchage à mort, sous prétexte de vengeance pour l’enlèvement et assassinat de trois jeunes Israéliens, d’un jeune Palestinien par une bande de supporters d’un club de football israélien, l’on a pu voir jusqu’où pouvait mener parmi nos jeunes l’addiction à la violence gratuite …

Pendant que, dernière marotte en date de nos stars désoeuvrées, c’est aux seins nus en plein centre-ville que se vouent nos nouvelles féministes …

Alors que se confirment la dimension addictive de l’exposition au soleil ou la part mimétique de la satisfaction sexuelle

Et qu’à coup de néologismes, nos spécialistes de la médecine ou de la psychiatrie multiplient les fausses explications …

Comment ne pas voir, dans cette sorte d’anorexie inversée qu’est la bigorexie, autre chose qu’une énième variation principalement masculine de ces conduites mimétiques bien mises au jour par René Girard dont l’anorexie était jusqu’à présent la forme plutôt féminine ?

Surtout, comme en témoigne le véritable culte dont, jusqu’à son décès récent en Thaïlande (suite à la prise d’anabolisants ?), était l’objet sur les réseaux sociaux cet Australien d’origine kurde Zyzz Shreddedshian

Quand ces conduites se greffent non seulement sur l’évidente dimension compétitive de la musculation et du sport …

Mais s’accompagnent souvent, comme on l’a vu récemment en Australie, d’une fascination pour les armes à feu et la violence gratuite ?

Sydney’s newest sport – beat someone senseless or kill them for the heck of it
Violent, disconnected young men have become part of the city’s culture.
Rachel Olding
Sunday Morning Herald
July 28, 2012

IT TOOK a single punch to spur a city into action, but the blow to Thomas Kelly was far from a one-off.

The man accused of murdering Kelly, 18-year-old Kieran Loveridge, allegedly assaulted three other strangers in Kings Cross on the night of July 7. When he appeared in court last week, a 17-year-old friend shoulder-charged a cameraman, knocking him unconscious.

On Monday, it emerged that Loveridge’s cousin stands accused of a 2010 rampage that began with the bashing of a grandmother and ended with the stabbing death of a teenager. At a committal hearing it was alleged Corrie Loveridge told his friends he "wanted to stab and kill someone tonight".

Across Sydney, it is an increasingly familiar story.

This week’s police media alerts included a 19-year-old and a 20-year-old arrested for stabbing a man in Campbelltown, a 20-year-old man arrested for assaulting a police officer in Cronulla, a teenager stabbed at a Parramatta bus stop and a 22-year-old man arrested for assaulting a 19-year-old man and headbutting a 21-year-old woman outside a pub in Windsor.

Why are some young men so angry? Psychologists speak of a lost generation of teenage boys with little engagement or purpose in life and a worryingly blase attitude to violence and authority.

Police took legal action against one in 10 18-year-old men last year, a slight increase on previous years. Crime rates have declined in almost every category over the past decade, but assaults remain stable or rising slightly. It is estimated two-thirds of assaults go unreported.

"I am increasingly seeing a new breed of extremely narcissistic, under-fathered adolescent male," says the psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg. "He is beset with rigid, inflexible thinking, has no respect for authority, little exposure to tradition or ritual and has few, if any, skills in anger management."

For teenage boys, violence has become a "sport", says Father Chris Riley, the founder of Youth Off the Streets. The latest "game", he says, is for groups of men to board trains and see how severely they can bash a lone commuter before he can escape at the next stop.

Experts say this culture of anger and casual violence is the result of a toxic confluence of factors, among them increasing alcohol intake, the breakdown of the family unit, the normalisation of violence in popular culture and a show-off culture fostered by social networking.

There is a typical profile of a violent teenager, says Professor Paul Mazerolle, the director of the Violence Research and Prevention Program at Griffith University.

He often has an absent father or a violent one. He mimics those traits or adopts his idea of masculinity from Hollywood and from his peers. He is often disengaged from school or work. He feels he has little to contribute to society. He is disconnected from the structures that might lead him away from violence.

"They’re connected differently now," Mazerolle says. "They might not be as connected to their neighbours but they are connected to 600 people on Facebook. If you don’t know your neighbours, you’re less likely to care if you blast your music loudly until 2am."

Two other factors have become part of the mix. One is black-market guns. "The difference between a serious assault and a homicide is often access to a weapon," Mazerolle says.

The other is a growing emphasis on fitness and working out, influenced by the subculture of amateur bodybuilding dubbed "aesthetics" by its poster boy, the late Eastwood entrepreneur Aziz "Zyzz" Shavershian. Zyzz, with 300,000 Facebook "fans", died last year after an apparent heart attack in a Bangkok sauna.

Seizures of steroids and hormones increased 106 per cent in 2010-11 on the previous year, the Australian Crime Commission’s data show. Anecdotal evidence suggests the burgeoning industry has fostered "roid rage", as scores of pumped-up, amped-up men roam night-time hotspots.

Carr-Gregg says the frontal cortex, which controls impulsiveness, develops fully in males only in their late 20s. "His body and physical strength have outgrown his brain.

"He has feasted from an early age on a diet of violence as entertainment … he has an armoury of communication aids, which enable him to maintain 24/7 contact with similarly disaffected peers who are bonded by a fondness for, and access to, disinhibiting drugs and the money to pay for them."

On top of this swirling mix is alcohol consumption. More than half of boys aged 15 to 17 drink alcohol and the proportion of 12- to 15-year-olds drinking at risky levels has doubled since 1990.

A recent study by the Australian Institute of Criminology found the median number of standard drinks consumed by young men arrested for assault on a Friday or Saturday night was 22.

Alcohol increases bravado and distorts perceptions. The tiniest thing, such as a spilt drink or a purposeful glance, can set a man off.

For one 19-year-old who spoke to the Herald, it was being refused entry on a bus because he was drunk. He turned around and put his fist through a glass shopfront in Ryde.

"It was just a f–k you to the driver," he said. "It was complete drunk idiocy."

A criminal lawyer, William Vahl, says alcohol is involved in 98 per cent of his young clients’ assault cases. "The link is blatant," he says. "Without alcohol, a lot of criminal lawyers would be out of a job."

Writing on The Conversation website this week, a University of Western Sydney criminologist, Stephen Tomsen, said the crackdown on licensed venues in Kings Cross in the wake of Mr Kelly’s death would do little to curb "the monoculture of aggressive heavy drinking in a night-time economy".

Father Riley believes a mix of early intervention and service provision can work. He says when Youth Off the Streets built a $7.4 million drop-in centre in Macquarie Fields, the crime rate fell by 40 per cent. "I wish I’d gotten to this kid [Loveridge] sooner. All kids want is a connection. When you connect a kid you can turn them around."

It will come as cold comfort for the parents of Thomas Kelly, who continue to turn on the bedside lamp in their son’s empty bedroom every night.

Voir aussi:

Young men dying for the perfect beach body
Alex Cauchi
Wentworth Courier
18 Aug 2011

The recent death of a 22-year-old amateur Sydney bodybuilder has put the spotlight on a sub-culture that places emphasis on getting bigger at all costs – and experts warn the problem is affecting more young men than previously thought.

Facebook sensation Aziz ‘Zyzz’ Sergeyevich Shavershian suffered a fatal heart attack in a Thai sauna last week. He gained a Facebook following of more than 80,000 fans, gaining popularity through workout videos posted on YouTube.

Sydney University researcher and psychologist Stuart Murray said he believed instances of muscle dysmorphia, or “bigorexia,” are increasing and that the use of image-enhancing drugs is becoming the norm.

“Steroid use is definitely on the rise but there isn’t enough research being done into this growing problem. I’m one of only two or three researchers in Australia working on this,” he said.

Surry Hills Police Crime Prevention Officer Constable Craig Parkinson said that steroid use and dealing often flew under the radar and it wasn’t as easily detected as drugs like cocaine or ecstasy.

“Recent reports in the media have highlighted the dangers of steroid use,” Constable Parkinson said.

“The death of an otherwise fit, young Australian in Thailand has been related to steroid use and illustrates the negative effects of these supposed ‘performance enhancing’ drugs.”

“Although customs have reported an increase in seizures of the drug, its use is somewhat understated. The dangers are real and potentially lethal.”

Last month a man jumped four floors out of a Bondi apartment window when police knocked on his door. He was found in possession of steroids, illegal drugs and weapons.

Mr Murray described bigorexia as “the pathological pursuit of muscularity”.

“The thing with bigorexia is that people who suffer from it see it as a good thing. They will get anxiety if they can’t make it to the gym on a particular day, and they see that as a positive, the fact that they’re so committed,” he said.

Mr Murray was particularly concerned with a rise in popularity of clenbuterol.

The drug is used to treat asthma in horses, but gym junkies and even women looking to slim down are using it to shed fat and build muscle.

“We don’t know too much about it because its popularity has only grown in the last five to ten years,” he said.

And the quest for the perfect beach body isn’t just restricted to drugs that enhance the muscles.

An unregulated tanning drug named Melanotan is increasing in popularity. It is injected into the skin, but the NSW Health Department has warned that it is a largely unknown substance and unlicensed for use in Australia.

CLENBUTEROL
Known as “clen”, it’s unique in that it has both anabolic and catabolic properties. Used to treat asthma in horses, it builds muscle but also burns body fat. It’s a stimulant that has a similar effect on the body as amphetamines. It places increased strain on the heart and can leave users with tachycardia, or heart palpations and prevent them from sleeping. Increasingly being used by women to shed weight. Available in liquid or gel form. Can cost between $150-$250 for 100ml.

ANABOLIC STEROIDS
Increases protein synthesis within the body’s cells. Primary dangers are cardiac related. Can cause the heart muscle to grow too big, leading to congestive heart failure, heart attacks, and sudden cardiac death. Users can also develop gynecomastia or “man boobs”. Sold in injectable liquid or tablet form. Can cost between $150-$250 for 10ml in various forms such as Sustagen 250, Deca-Durabolin or Trenabol.

HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE (HGH)
A substance that can be attained by prescription, HGH increases testosterone production but can provoke growth in a wide range of body tissue, not just muscles. Is more difficult to obtain than steroids and is more expensive. Users pay around $400 for 10ml.

MELANOTAN
An unregulated tanning product that is injected into the skin. Is available from drug dealers and online. Side effects include increased number of dark moles on the skin, suppressed appetite and nausea. Costs $20 for 0.1ml.

Voir encore:

Generation V buff, but not so pretty after dark
Jordan Baker
The Sydney Morning Herald
September 2, 2011

If plastic Six Million Dollar Man met plastic Wolverine in a dark alley, there’s no doubt who’d come off best. While they both have super-human powers, Wolverine has the distinct advantage of rolling off the production line almost 40 years later than Steve Austin.

By today’s standards, the Six Million Dollar Man action figure is a weed. His stomach is flat, his muscle definition non-existent and there’s no inverted pyramid to speak of. The Wolverine figure, however, has arms bigger than his legs, trapeziuses like wings and shoulders three times wider than his waist. If it came down to size, plastic Wolverine wouldn’t even need his famous claws to tear plastic Six Million Dollar Man apart.

Action figures show just how much the ideal male body has changed in the past 40 years. In the 1970s, it was athletic and lean; now, it’s all about size and definition. A figure like plastic Wolverine’s figure is almost impossible to achieve naturally, but with easier and cheaper access to steroids and growth hormones, it’s possible for even the skinniest man to become "big" and "ripped", if he’s willing to risk his health.

The problem for the rest of us is that the risks he takes with his health have underrated flow-on effects in the community.

The most obvious is aggression. We’ve all read the stories about violence in Sydney on Saturday nights, which is usually blamed on alcohol, illegal drugs, and, this week, cage fighting. But there’s another factor at play, and that’s steroids. Illegal steroid and growth hormone use is booming in Sydney, and if you take a pack of young men who are not only drunk, but irritable from the steroids and puffed up with the bravado of newly minted muscles, you put a flame to a tinderbox.

Customs seized more than twice as many steroids and growth hormones in the year to July 10 than they did in 2004-05. They are cheaper and more accessible than ever before, so their use is more widespread and therefore more acceptable. Buying steroids used to involve a visit to a creepy bikie dealer, but they’re now available from a guy at the gym, over the internet or from a mate. Internet forums offer tips on how best to use different cycles of steroids to get the right look, and users share tips and admire each other’s bodies. It’s the male equivalent of pro-anorexia websites.

This isn’t news to anyone who trains regularly at a gym in Sydney, or knows young men dedicated to the body beautiful. "At the place I train, every day I hear someone talking about what cycle of steroids they’re on," says one male gym-goer. "No one is trying to hide it. It used to be very hush-hush, but now no one cares who knows."

It’s easy to spot them. They’re the ones parading in shirtless packs at music festivals or down George Street on Saturday nights, often mixing their cocktail of steroids with booze, illegal drugs and Viagra. Or they’re the guys on the doors at nightclubs telling these packs of men that they can’t come in. When these two clash, it’s explosive.

Most guys taking steroids go through two stages. The first is the bulking phase, where they pile on as much muscle as possible by using human growth hormone and testosterone. If they train hard, they can put on 15 to 20 kilograms of muscle. Then, they start a "cutting cycle", taking drugs like Anavar and Stanozolol to lose body fat without losing muscles, thereby getting that "ripped", or defined, look. A course of testosterone costs $500-$600. Unfortunately, steroids and growth hormones do much more than create muscle or cut fat. According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, they can increase aggression and irritability, and prompt mood swings, paranoia and depression. They cause hair loss, acne, liver problems, insomnia and high cholesterol. The possession, use and supply of steroids, other than by prescription, is illegal throughout Australia.

Guys are putting themselves through this physical torture for the same reason that young women starve themselves. They’re insecure about the way they look; they think girls find muscles attractive; and they compare their bodies with their friends’. But a Chesty Bonds-style bulge is as impossible an ideal for most young men as Kate Moss’s figure is for most young women, so they can only achieve it through artificial means.

A poignant example of how steroids can improve a young man’s confidence is a chap known as Zyzz, a 22-year-old bodybuilder who died of a heart attack during a holiday in Thailand recently. Zyzz was an inspiration to young Australian bodybuilders, having transformed himself from a skinny kid to a "ripped" Adonis. Zyzz emphatically denied his physique was due to steroids after his older brother, Said, 25, a trainer at a Fitness First gym, was found in possession of an anabolic steroid during a police raid (he pleaded guilty and was fined $479). Zyzz’s mother said his heart attack was due to an undiagnosed heart condition. But a spokesman for Sydney Hotshots, which employed him as a stripper, told the Herald Zyzz was a lovely guy, "aside from the steroids".

The lingo on Zyzz’s fan sites gives an insight into why young men want enormous muscles. They "aquire [sic] aesthetics". They "mire" (admire) each other. They feel "jelly" (jealous) of each other’s physiques. After Zyzz died, one fan wrote: "Zyzz changed by life, I’ve never met him. But, when my life was hard and I felt like there was nowhere left to go, Zyzz showed me a new world, showed me that we are what we put into life, and that you can change yourself into whatever you wish to be."

Only a small percentage of the young men out in Sydney on Saturday night will be on steroids. But only a small percentage get involved in fights, too, and I’d wager there’s a fair crossover. I don’t have a solution; tackling steroid abuse is no easier than tackling the causes of dangerous dieting among young women, or stopping illegal drug use (although random drug tests for security guards by external testers would be a good start).

But it’s an under-acknowledged factor in debates about social violence in Sydney. It’s worth being mindful that the reasons are complex, and that it’s a good idea to avoid packs of muscled men on a Saturday night out.

Voir encore:

Un petit (t)rail ?
Bigorexie : le sport crée des junkies presque comme les autres
Sébastien Billard | Journaliste
Rue 89
10/11/2011

Alain est suivi depuis sept mois par un psychiatre pour soigner sa dépendance. Il a commencé à courir il y a une quinzaine d’années et a fini par ne plus pouvoir s’arrêter.

Que ressentait-il ? Un irrépressible besoin de course quotidien et une véritable sensation de manque lorsqu’il n’était pas assouvi.

« J’enchaînais près de 25 heures de footing par semaine. Et cela me procurait un bien fou. Mais il m’en fallait toujours plus. »

Ce cadre dans une société de télécommunication, âgé de 44 ans, raconte son agenda à l’époque de son addiction.

« J’organisais mon emploi du temps professionnel et familial de façon à me dégager des moments libres pour courir. Le sport dominait mon quotidien. »

Alain n’est pas un cas isolé. Si aucune donnée sur le nombre de personnes « addict » au sport n’existe, de l’avis de nombreux spécialistes, cette dépendance a fait une forte irruption dans les centres d’addictologie depuis le début des années 2000, au même titre que d’autres addictions dites « sans substance », comme les jeux d’argent ou les jeux vidéo.
Une dépendance psychologique

Selon la définition donnée par le Centre d’études et de recherche en psychopathologie de Toulouse (CERPP), l’addiction au sport est :

« Un besoin irrépressible et compulsif de pratiquer régulièrement et intensivement une ou plusieurs activités physiques et sportives en vue d’obtenir des gratifications immédiates et ce malgré des conséquences négatives à long terme sur la santé physique, psychologique et sociale. »

Addiction dite « sans substance », la dépendance au sport est loin de pouvoir s’expliquer par la seule libération par le cerveau d’endorphines, sources de bien-être pour l’athlète, comme l’explique le psychiatre Dan Véléa :

« La dimension psychologique de cette dépendance est essentielle. Bien plus importante que sa dimension biochimique. On ne peut pas définir un individu comme “ addict ” en fonction du nombre d’heures qu’il consacre à son sport.

C’est davantage le rapport à l’activité physique en question qui pose problème. Quand faire du sport devient une obsession, il y a dépendance. »

Une pathologie longtemps jugée « positive »

Méconnue, la dépendance au sport a même longtemps été considérée comme une pathologie « positive » par le corps médical. Introduite par le psychiatre américain William Glasser dans les années 70, cette dénomination avait pour objectif de la distinguer des addictions classiques comme la toxicomanie. Dan Véléa :

« C’est une addiction silencieuse, plus difficile à faire reconnaître car davantage acceptée par la société. Pratiquer un sport est valorisé et valorisant.

Or, on sait aujourd’hui que cette dépendance occasionne chez l’individu des souffrances aussi désastreuses qu’une addiction “ classique ”. »

Etat dépressif en cas de sevrage, comportement « jusqu’au-boutiste » occasionnant des blessures graves voire irréversibles, délaissement de la vie familiale et professionnelle conduisant parfois à des divorces et à des pertes d’emploi, les souffrances physiques et psychologiques sont souvent extrêmes, comme le confirme Alain :

« C’est une sorte de tunnel. Vous vous isolez de vos proches sans vraiment vous en rendre compte. Mes heures de courses augmentaient et dans le même temps, j’en consacrais de moins en moins à mes proches, à mon travail.

Le plus difficile, c’était quand je me blessais. J’éprouvais une vraie sensation de manque, je devenais irritable. Lorsque que cette indisponibilité se prolongeait, j’étais en détresse, proche d’un état dépressif. »

Toujours plus fort malgré la douleur

L’addiction conduit surtout ces athlètes à aller toujours plus loin, toujours plus fort malgré la douleur et les blessures, souligne Isabelle Müller, psychiatre au centre d’accompagnement et de prévention pour les sportifs de Bordeaux (CREPS) :

« A force de repousser leurs limites, ils arrivent à une phase d’épuisement total. Une de mes patientes continuait à faire du vélo malgré une fracture au pied…

Ce besoin d’aller encore plus loin en pousse même certains à prendre des risques importants pour leur santé en ayant parfois recours à des produits dopants pour tenir le coup. »

Chez les sportifs professionnels, la prise de conscience survient souvent au moment de la retraite sportive. L’arrêt du jour au lendemain d’une activité physique intense laisse apparaître une véritable dépendance. Pour les sportifs amateurs, ce sont souvent les proches qui donnent le signal d’alarme.

Particulièrement touchés, les sportifs pratiquant une activité d’endurance ou obéissant à des séances d’entraînement très stéréotypées comme le vélo, la course à pied ou le culturisme. Mais la dépendance à l’activité physique touche des profils très hétérogènes : hommes, femmes, sportifs amateurs, sportifs professionnels, de tous les âges, de toutes les classes sociales.
« Ca touche souvent des personnes rigides »

Seule constante, tous cherchent à valoriser leur image à travers le sport. Pratiquer une activité physique avec excès est un moyen pour eux d’augmenter leur estime d’eux-mêmes, de combler un vide affectif et/ou de modifier leur apparence corporelle. Isabelle Müller :

« Cette addiction touche souvent des personnes rigides, perfectionnistes. Elles se surinvestissent dans cette activité, le plus souvent pour faire face à un stress, à une image d’elles-mêmes qui ne les satisfait pas »

L’addiction est ainsi le produit d’une composante sociale très forte. Une réponse, souvent, à la culture de la performance, aux sollicitations compétitives ou aux insatisfactions récurrentes de la vie sociale.

L’athlète recherche sans cesse un idéal de perfection et d’harmonie dans l’espoir d’en tirer une reconnaissance individuelle et sociale. Le sport apparaît dès lors comme une réponse aux différentes anxiétés rencontrées.

Les troubles de l’image jouent un rôle essentiel dans le développement de cette pathologie, dans une société où le poids de l’esthétique est grandissant. Ces troubles les conduisent le plus souvent à éprouver un fort besoin à prendre toujours plus de masse corporelle afin de se façonner une silhouette parfaite. C’est ce que l’on nomme la bigorexie (par opposition à l’anorexie), qui n’est qu’une facette de l’addiction.
Les cas de rechute sont courants

Pour sortir de l’addiction, le travail est souvent long et nécessite des mois, voire parfois même des années, comme le rappelle Isabelle Müller :

« Il est très difficile d’en sortir et les cas de rechute sont courants. Il faut mener un long travail psychologique pour faire prendre conscience aux patients des dommages que cette pathologie occasionne, les rassurer sur leur image, les aider à gérer leur stress autrement. »

Suivi depuis de longs mois par un psychiatre, Alain lui ne court plus ou presque plus, le temps de retrouver un équilibre dans sa vie familiale et professionnelle.

« Les premiers mois ont été très compliqués. Pénibles. Après avoir arrêté, j’ai connu la dépression. Il est difficile de prendre conscience que l’on est bel et bien malade. C’est quelque chose de très dur à accepter. »

Si beaucoup de personnes se voient dans l’obligation d’abandonner à jamais toute pratique sportive afin d’éviter une rechute, Alain espère, quant à lui, parvenir à recourir régulièrement un jour. Mais de façon beaucoup plus mesurée.

Voir par ailleurs:

Le BRONZAGE peut-il devenir une addiction?

24-06-2014

Prendre un bain de soleil procure un certain bien-être. Au-delà de la sensation de chaleur et de détente, ces chercheurs de Harvard soutenus par les US National Institutes of Health montrent que le bronzage aurait aussi une dimension addictive. Leur étude tente d’expliquer pourquoi, malgré tous ses risques avérés, l’exposition de son corps aux U.V. artificiels ou solaires pour bronzer reste un objectif rituel pour des millions de personnes. Est-ce à des fins purement esthétiques, dans un curieux esprit autodestructeur ou encore une véritable addiction ? Réponse, sur l’animal, dans la revue Cell.

Les chercheurs de la Harvard Medical School avec des scientifiques de la Melanoma Research Alliance, de la US-Israel Binational Science Foundation ont exposé des souris rasées à la lumière UV, 5 jours par semaine pendant 6 semaines. Ce modèle d’exposition était équivalent à 20 à 30 minutes d’exposition pour une personne à la peau claire, au soleil de Floride, durant l’été.

Préférence esthétique ou dépendance biologique ? Les chercheurs constatent ici sur la souris, à la suite de cette exposition, l’animal présente des niveaux augmentés de certaines substances chimiques dans le corps. Or ces substances sont déjà connues pour déclencher un sentiment d’euphorie, comparable, écrivent les auteurs, à celui ressenti avec la prise d’un opiacé. Mais ce n’est pas tout, l’animal montre également une plus forte tolérance à la douleur.

En cause des endorphines bêta ou hormones du bien-être : Lorsque les chercheurs transforment ces souris modèles pour supprimer toute production d’endomorphines bêta, ces effets disparaissent. Des résultats qui suggèrent que ces endorphines naturelles, « dynamisées » par l’exposition aux UV sont à l’origine des effets d’euphorie. Ainsi, lorsque la peau est exposée aux U.V., une protéine, la pro-opiomélanocortine (ou POMC) est décomposée en petits peptides. L’un de ces peptides est une hormone qui stimule les mélanocytes, un autre est une endorphine bêta, un opioïde naturel de l’organisme. Comme tout opioïde, il se lie à des récepteurs opioïdes, entraînant un soulagement de la douleur mais va renforcer un circuit de récompense qui sous-tend la dépendance. Ainsi, ici, les chercheurs constatent que les souris exposées montrent une augmentation de la tolérance aux opiacés, nécessitant des doses beaucoup plus élevées de morphine.

Cette étude chez l’animal montre donc comment une exposition régulière aux U.V. entraîne une augmentation de la production d’opioïdes naturels, induisant une augmentation des seuils de douleur et des signes de la dépendance et de tolérance aux opiacés. Cependant les auteurs notent aussi que les souris, contrairement aux humains sont des animaux nocturnes. Ces effets de l’exposition aux UV pourraient donc tout à fait avoir un tout autre effet sur l’Homme.

Voir aussi:

De quoi dépend la satisfaction sexuelle ?

Top rencontres

10/062013

Les savants américains ont fait une découverte surprenante. Pour se sentir heureux il faut être sûr que votre vie intime est meilleure et plus régulière que celle de vos voisins.

Il existe une opinion que le manque d’argent, l’absence d’immobilier ou de vêtements de marque, la solitude rendent la personne malheureuse. Néanmoins, les savants américains affirment que le sexe est le facteur principal du bonheur. Il suffit d’apprendre que votre vie intime est plus régulière que celle des voisins et le niveau du bonheur augmente.

Les spécialistes ont analysé les données d’une grande recherche, menée depuis 1972. On a étudié l’information de la recherche reçue en 1993-2006 où 15 386 personnes ont pris part. Les personnes interrogées devaient apprécier l’état de leur âme (très heureux, assez heureux, malheureux). Les savants ont pris en considération les facteurs du bonheur : l’âge, la santé et la situation familiale. Les plus heureuses étaient les personnes qui avaient le sexe au moins 2-3 fois par mois. Leur état du bonheur était de 33% plus haut que chez ceux qui n’avaient pas le sexe depuis un an. Plus régulières étaient les relations intimes chez les personnes interrogées, plus heureuses elles étaient dans leur vie. Avoir des relations sexuelles 3 fois par semaine, une personne augmente le niveau de son bonheur de 55%. Les experts assurent que le sexe peut nous rendre plus heureux, mais la pensée que nous avons plus de relations sexuelles que nos amis, nos collègues et nos voisins nous réjouit d’avantage.

Voir enfin:

Dossier : corps, sport et dépendance
Le sport aide à se forger son identité, car il peut apporter à un individu les certitudes qui lui manquent. Toutefois, quand la pratique sportive est excessive et l’image du corps obsessionnelle, le sport plaisir risque de devenir addiction sportive.

Stéphane Abadie

L’auteur
Stéphane ABADIE est doctorant à l’ufr-staps de Nancy et fait partie de l’équipe accorps – lhsp – umr7117 – Archives Poincaré – cnrs.

Mens sana in corpore sano. Un esprit sain dans un corps sain. Cette citation extraite des Satires de Juvénal (vers 60 à 128) prône la complémentarité du corps et de l’esprit, et souligne le rôle du sport dans la santé. Les activités physiques s’adressent au corps dans toutes ses dimensions : physiques, physiologiques, psychologiques. Mode de défoulement, moyen de se ressourcer, outil de bien-être, de satisfaction ou au contraire de mise en danger (potentiel ou réel) et de souffrance, ces pratiques émergent d’une volonté de répondre à un besoin ou de satisfaire un désir. Quel est ce besoin ? D’où vient-il ? Pourquoi un individu accepte-t-il des entraînements toujours plus longs, toujours plus fréquents, toujours plus intenses, où l’épuisement et la douleur finissent par avoir raison de son acharnement ?

Après avoir examiné comment se forge l’image du corps e d’où vient le besoin de pratique sportive, nous verrons comment le sport plaisir se transforme parfois en sport passion, comment l’investissement peut alors devenir surinvestissement. Et quand le sportif surinvestit sa pratique, c’est que bien souvent il en est devenu dépendant : le sport est sa drogue. Tel un drogué, il a besoin de pratiquer sans cesse. Il pense, mange, dort pour son sport. Et lorsqu’il est dans l’impossibilité de pratiquer, certains symptômes de manque risquent d’apparaître.

Quel est le rapport des sportifs à leur corps ? Le corps, l’image du corps et les représentations que l’on s’en fait ont connu de nombreux bouleversements au cours de l’histoire de l’humanité. Durant la Grèce antique, le corps était considéré comme objet de toute puissance. Cette belle forme, ce cadre esthétique impitoyable trouve toute son essence dans ce qu’on nomme l’idéal platonicien. Puis la morphologie des individus s’est imposée comme une carte indiquant au reste de la société l’appartenance de l’individu à tel ou tel groupe social. La représentation du corps a évolué au cours de l’histoire, mais elle évolue aussi chez chaque individu au fil de sa construction et de sa maturation. Entre la vie prénatale et la vie adulte, l’idée que l’on se fait de son corps connaît de réelles révolutions : nous apprenons peu à peu à l’identifier et à l’habiter.

Le corps a trois fonctions : le corps des besoins, le corps des désirs, le corps des symboles. Le corps des besoins, c’est le corps matériel, avec ses exigences élémentaires automatiques : respirer, manger, boire, uriner, etc. Le corps du désir, érogène ou libidinal, organise les fantasmes. Le corps du symbole participe aux échanges avec le monde extérieur, agit sur la scène sociale, s’engage dans un langage. Il condense les exigences du corps des besoins et du corps des désirs, les soumet à la censure, à la raison. Il est l’expression de l’individu avec ses caractéristiques propres, mais aussi de l’espèce avec ses traits universels.

Les compétitions et les entraînements sont souvent considérés comme des rites initiatiques. Ils permettraient aux athlètes d’intégrer progressivement le monde des sportifs. La transformation lente du corps en machine à performance, le passage d’une division à une autre, les différentes formes d’investissement de la pratique sont autant d’étapes qui classent, hiérarchisent et intègrent les individus dans cette microsociété. Pourquoi le jeune sportif cherche-t-il à s’intégrer dans ce nouveau groupe de référence ? Pourquoi a-t-il la sensation de faire lui-même partie de ces « êtres d’exception » que sont les sportifs…
Selon la psychiatre et psychanalyste Annie Birraux, le jeune a besoin de consolider son narcissisme – l’amour qu’un individu a pour lui-même – dans un groupe : cela l’aide à renforcer sonidentité précaire et à traverser cette phase de transition qu’est l’adolescence. Les idéaux du groupe remplacent les idéaux familiaux, constituant une prothèse substitutive. C’est une des raisons pour lesquelles les images du corps véhiculées par les médias ont toujours un impact sur les idéaux du corps que le jeune se construit. Cet impact est variable, mais inévitable.

Au cours de l’adolescence, le jeune est tiraillé entre la peur de perdre son corps infantile (souvent source de satisfactions narcissiques) et l’acceptation de sa sexualité. Face à cette perte du corps infantile, et, afin d’intégrer une image de soi sur le plan psychique et corporel, l’adolescent doit répondre à un besoin de contrôle et de réappropriation de son corps. L’investissement de la pratique sportive est pour certains une réponse aux questions liées à la puberté et aux modifications corporelles qui l’accompagnent : l’armure musculaire – le néocorps – que se forge l’adolescent est utilisée comme une arme pour combattre les angoisses des changements pubertaires. En tentant d’abandonner rapidement son corps infantile, l’adolescent cherche à fuir l’ensemble des questions et des angoisses qui s’en raccrochent.

La pratique sportive donne une justification objective à l’étrangeté de ce nouveau corps : l’évolution de l’enveloppe corporelle n’est plus vécue comme monstrueuse, mais au contraire comme quelque chose de désiré et de contrôlé. La sensation d’une toute puissance retrouvée permet de renforcer le narcissisme de l’individu, indispensable à son équilibre identitaire. Quand le sport plaisir devient sport passion Dès lors, le pas est vite franchi entre une pratique sportive limitée – dont le but est le défoulement et une hygiène de santé – et une pratique sportive excessive, pour laquelle l’enjeu principal serait l’équilibre somato-psychique, et qui pourrait ouvrir la porte à une dépendance vis-à-vis du sport. Les études scientifiques américaines faites à la fin des années 1970 et au début des années 1980 furent les premières à évoquer l’existence de dépendances physiologiques et de dépendances comportementales, quel que soit l’objet de l’addiction. Qu’en est-il des dépendances à la pratique sportive ? Sont-elles physiologiques ? Psychologiques ? Ont- elles une double appartenance ?
Plusieurs études montrent que les comportements de dépendance à la pratique physique sontà la fois physiologiques et psychiques. L’exercice physique serait accompagné de la libération d’une hormone, la bêta-endorphine. Cette hormone, sécrétée spontanément par l’organisme, a des effets analgésiques et aurait aussi des effets euphorisants, qui seraient la cause de la dépendance. La dépendance à l’exercice physique serait un processus contraignant un individu à pratiquer son sport malgré les obstacles ; des symptômes physiques et psychologiques surviendraient à l’arrêt de l’exercice.

Ainsi, la dépendance sportive s’appuie, d’une part, sur l’impérieuse nécessité (la compulsion) de pratiquer son sport et la mise en place de symptômes somatiques lors de l’arrêt de la pratique (le manque). Cette addiction n’est pas différente des autres. Prenons un exemple : un individu plutôt sédentaire s’engage dans un premier temps dans un programme de course à pied. À la suite des premières séances, cette pratique est souvent vécue
comme une expérience désagréable avec, par exemple, un essoufflement marqué, des nausées, des douleurs musculaires (crampes, courbatures). Progressivement, la distance de course s’accroît pour passer de un à quatre kilomètres par jour. Puis la perception de l’effort change progressivement jusqu’à devenir positive, en s’accompagnant notamment d’une baisse du sentiment d’anxiété et d’une hausse de l’estime de soi. L’individu parcourt différentes étapes qui conduisent à l’investissement, voire au surinvestissement de la pratique sportive.

Mais la dépendance sportive fait aussi partie des addictions comportementales. Comme pour d’autres comportements addictifs, elle commence par des excès, par la recherche de sensations de plaisir et de désinhibition qui aboutit à l’installation d’un besoin irrépressible et, dans certains cas, des signes de sevrage. Pour certains sportifs, la répétition des entraînements, l’accoutumance du corps au mouvement, la ritualisation et la répétition obsessionnelle des gestes peuvent prendre une dimension d’addiction au geste. Ces sportifs ressentent la nécessité de remplir un vide de la pensée ou un vide affectif. En résulte ce besoin compulsif qui se manifeste souvent par la nécessité de pratiquer sans relâche son sport, de contrôler sans cesse son image dans la glace et dans le regard des autres. Cette conduite addictive est nommée bigorexie.

Cette conduite comportementale repose, d’une part, sur une perte de la maîtrise de soi et, d’autre part, sur le besoin de répétitions compulsives. La notion de répétition est inhérente à la pratique sportive intensive. L’athlète multiplie sans relâche ses entraînements : c’est le prix à payer pour augmenter ses performances. Au cours de ces nombreux entraînements, l’athlète doit s’accoutumer à un autre visage de la répétition, celui de la douleur, car le corps en travail est aussi souvent un corps en souffrance. En effet les modalités de l’entraînement et de la performance de haut niveau reposent sur le dépassement de soi, révélé par l’apparition de la douleur. La répétition fait partie des incontournables de la pratique physique intensive, que ce soit au niveau de la douleur ou du mouvement. Cette répétition autorise l’individu à s’extraire dans un état second, « hors conscience », caractérisé par une hyperconcentration sur le geste efficace, d’où est bannie toute subjectivité. L’entraînement est avant tout la recherche de gestes automatisés qui réduisent les temps de réaction de l’athlète.

Aujourd’hui, le comportement de dépendance à la pratique sportive n’est pas inhérent à un niveau de pratique, à un âge ou à un sexe, mais elle est bien l’apanage d’une qualité singulière d’investissement. En d’autres termes, la dépendance à la pratique sportive toucherait aussi bien les sportifs de haut niveau que les pratiquants de loisir, puisqu’elle dépend avant tout de la place de cette pratique dans la vie du sujet.

Perturbation du sentiment esthétique de soi

Outre les difficultés de la construction identitaire, la fragilité à la dépendance, un vide affectif qu’il faut combler, il existerait une autre cause possible d’addiction à la pratique sportive : la dysmorphophobie, c’est-à-dire la peur obsessionnelle d’être ou de devenir laid. Les sujets atteints de ce type de psychopathologie souffrent de troubles obsessionnels de l’image du corps. Ils ont une image déformée et déformante de leur propre corps. Cette vision imaginaire de ce « mauvais corps » s’accompagne d’une peur illégitime de se voir rejeter socialement. Les sujets développent des pratiques rituelles compulsives pour couvrir leur(s) défaut(s). Ils peuvent rester un temps considérable en face d’un miroir pour tenter de se rassurer, mais l’effet est souvent inverse. Pour faire face à l’émergence de telles angoisses, ces personnes n’hésitent pas à recourir à des conduites à risque, où le respect du corps et de son intégrité est régulièrement mis en jeu : conduites addictives, chirurgie plastique par exemple.

Outre la dysmorphophobie, il existe aussi la dysmorphesthésie. D’après la classification internationale des troubles mentaux de l’Organisation mondiale de la santé, les dysmorphesthésies sont des troubles hypocondriaques : « C’est une préoccupation durable concernant l’apparence physique. » La dysmorphesthésie enrichit la définition de la dysmorphophobie en incluant la notion d’esthétique corporelle ; elle nous renvoie le regard de l’autre. C’est dans cette trilogie – image du corps, idéal du moi et construction de l’identité – que viendrait se nourrir la peur du rejet social. Aussi nommée obsession de l’image corporelle, la dysmorphophobie regroupe plusieurs états psychologiques dont le corps est l’objet. Les malades atteints de dysmorphophobie sont persuadés qu’une partie de leur corps est déformée et ont peur d’impressionner défavorablement leur entourage. La disgrâce du corps (tout ou partie) est généralement légère, voire imaginaire, mais elle a pourtant des conséquences notables : elle est source d’angoisse, perturbe la vie personnelle, sociale et professionnelle. Cette psychopathologie peut être causée par une mauvaise perception de son image corporelle, l’écart entre cette image et son idéal du moi étant trop important. La dysmorphophobie commence souvent après les remaniements psychologiques de l’adolescence.

Au lieu de disparaître comme c’est généralement le cas, les interrogations sur le corps se renforcent et envahissent de façon plus ou moins obsédante les pensées du sujet. Il en garde longtemps le secret avec un sentiment de honte. D’un point de vue psychopathologique, il s’agit d’une perturbation du sentiment esthétique de l’image de soi qui oblige le sujet à s’interroger sur son identité esthétique et, par conséquent, sur son narcissisme. La perturbation du sentiment esthétique de l’image de soi est souvent précoce. Une distorsion, une carence lors des différentes étapes de l’élaboration de ce sentiment esthétique qui participe à l’élaboration et au maintien du narcissisme, et par voie de conséquence à l’élaboration de l’identité, peuvent altérer durablement la perception et la représentation de sa propre apparence. La crainte d’une dysmorphie corporelle va des préoccupations normales pour son apparence physique jusqu’aux idées délirantes. L’une des principales caractéristiques de la pratique sportive réside dans le travail du corps à partir d’un corps au travail. La période dite d’affûtage est un condensé de ce type d’approche. Au cours de ce temps particulier, le sportif se trouve être en hypervigilance vis-à-vis de son corps. Il y supprime les quelques masses grasses restantes, contrôle et rééquilibre les forces. Il réoriente ses mobilisations corporelles dans l’espace et dans le temps en fonction des perceptions ressenties lors des derniers entraînements. En résumé, telle une formule 1, le sportif écoute, contrôle et paramètre son corps afin d’optimiser ses performances. L’ensemble des séances de travail, qui se succèdent tout au long de la saison, permettent à l’athlète de mieux comprendre ses modalités de fonctionnement face à l’exercice, de jauger de façon relativement précise la qualité et la quantité de temps de récupération dont il a besoin en fonction de l’intensité des entraînements. L’entraînement sportif offre à l’individu une voie particulière vers la découverte de ses
limites, physiques et/ou psychologiques, ce qui permet une meilleure appropriation de son corps.

La pratique sportive entraîne une modification de la morphologie de l’athlète. Même si elle n’est pas toujours spectaculaire, elle n’en reste pas moins une réalité. L’image du corps sculpté a une conno- tation positive dans nos sociétés où le paraître est, pour beaucoup, d’une importance capitale. Selon Maurice Corcos, qui dirige le Département de psychiatrie de l’Institut mutualiste Montsouris, à Paris, « Nous pouvons nous demander comment s’organise aujourd’hui un sujet en regard d’une société qui attribue une importance croissante à la valorisation narcissique au détriment de la relation à l’autre, qui cultive la performance et la réussite au détriment de la recherche intérieure ? Il nous semble en effet que s’est développée, en grande partie, une société donnant priorité aux images, au détriment de la mise en mots et en récits, où l’apparence et l’acquisition des choses sont volontiers promues ».

Avoir un corps parfait ou ne plus exister

Comme nous l’avons évoqué, l’adolescence est une période de bouleversement des assises identitaires et structurantes de l’individu. Les changements pubertaires s’accompagnent d’une réémergence de tout un ensemble de pulsions, venant ébranler l’équilibre du corps et de l’esprit. Suivant les individus, cette fragilisation peut être source d’angoisse, d’état dépressif, de fragilisation narcissique, etc. La pratique sportive peut proposer une réponse satisfaisante à ces attentes. Pour surmonter les difficultés et pouvoir se construire une identité, les athlètes s’investissent totalement dans leur pratique. Malheureusement cette construction identitaire fonctionne tant que les performances sportives et les capacités physiques, réelles ou symboliques, restent satisfaisantes. Les athlètes se contraignent à l’excellence sportive, et les moindres signes de défaillance ou de faiblesse, la prise de
poids, par exemple, sont souvent vécus comme annonciateurs d’une fin imminente. Grâce à son rôle particulier dans la construction identitaire de certains sportifs, l’exercice physique leur apparaît souvent comme une source de satisfaction. Ce statut les pousse à un investissement total. Pour certains de ces athlètes, force est de constater que leur identité propre se résume au seul objet sportif. Comme pour toutes les addictions, le sevrage est difficile, et près d’un tiers des sportifs de haut niveau est contraint de subir une cure de désintoxication après l’arrêt de leur pratique sportive.

Ainsi, le geste sportif performant permet à l’athlète de se construire l’image du corps à laquelle il aspire. Les sensations de force et de puissance, gage de performance se transforment, pour certains, en sensation d’existence : ils n’existent que par leur performance sportive. Face à cette construction identitaire particulière, les sportifs se trouvent dans l’obligation de continuer toujours et encore leur pratique, sans laquelle le spectre d’une perte identitaire et, par conséquent, celui d’une mort symbolique ressurgissent. Leur corps étant le baromètre de leur niveau d’expertise, l’image du corps devient une obsession.

Entre l’enfance et la fin de l’adolescence, le narcissisme – l’amour qu’un individu a pour lui-même – évolue. La pédiatre et psychanalyste Françoise Dolto identifiait trois stades : le narcissisme primordial, le narcissisme primaire et le narcissisme secondaire. Le narcissisme primordial est lié à la rupture du cordon ombilical, au moment où le nouveau-né acquiert son autonomie respiratoire, olfactive, fonctionnelle. Le narcissisme primaire résulte de l’expérience du miroir qui révèle à l’enfant son visage. Cette expérience du miroir coïncide avec la découverte du corps sexué. C’est le moment où l’enfant investit toute sa libido sur lui-même. L’interdit de l’inceste, source d’un narcissisme secondaire, impose la maîtrise des pulsions sexuelles. À ce stade, l’enfant doit maîtriser ses désirs et faire la différence entre penser et agir. Le besoin que ressent l’adolescent d’appartenir à un groupe résulte aussi d’une nécessité d’ancrage affectif face à un complexe œdipien qui ressurgit. L’intégration dans un groupe de référence lui permet de retrouver les sentiments de sécurité et d’amour qu’il a connus quand il était enfant.

L’adolescence est-elle un moment spécifique du développement de l’enfant, inscrit dans la continuité du développement ? S’agit-il davantage d’un processus de maturation en rupture avec les étapes antérieures, qui remettrait en cause l’ensemble des assises antérieures ? Avant d’être à l’âge de la rébellion, l’adolescence est surtout une phase dans la vie de tout individu. L’adolescence se juxtapose généralement à un autre temps fort du passage de l’enfance à l’âge adulte : la puberté. Durant cette phase, le corps « enfantin » connaît des bouleversements physiques et physiologiques. Tous ces changements, souvent vécus comme brutaux, soulèvent chez les adolescents des questions d’identité. Les remaniements qui vont devoir être opérés seront centrés sur la relation à autrui et sur la relation à son propre corps. Les changements pubertaires rendent l’inceste théoriquement
réalisable, de sorte que l’adolescent, afin de se protéger de ses pulsions, rompt avec les points d’identification antérieurs, avec les assises narcissiques de l’enfance. L’adolescent doit donc réinvestir ses pulsions, notamment sexuelles, sur d’autres objets, lesquels acquièrent une place particulière dans le travail de construction identitaire de l’adolescent.

Que ce soient les objets culturels ou un groupe de copains, tous ces objets médiateurs constituent des sources importantes d’identification en miroir, d’identification narcissique. Au cours de cette période de doute et d’interrogations, les adolescents se dirigent naturellement vers des personnes qui répondent aux exigences de leur propre idéal. La rencontre avec un autre soi-même, hétérosexuel et non incestueux, permet de réduire momentanément au silence les résurgences pulsionnelles. Les modifications morphologiques qui surviennent à la puberté bouleversent profondément la relation aux autres et l’image que l’adolescent a de lui-même. L’évolution de son corps et les nouvelles potentialités sexuelles qui en découlent engendrent souvent peurs ou angoisses. Elles entraînent parfois les adolescents vers des troubles du comportement et/ou des troubles psychologiques, tels que l’anorexie, la boulimie ou certaines formes de dysmorphophobies (le sujet est persuadé que son corps présente des difformités).


Gaza: Désormais, c’est seulement au nom de la lutte contre la violence qu’on peut commettre la violence (Where, O death, is your victory? : The strange logic of today’s wars)

13 juillet, 2014

En prenant de facto parti pour le Hezbollah dans sa guerre contre Israël, le personne de certaines organisations de presse parmi les plus prestigieuses du monde révèlent par mégarde une profonde transformation intervenant dans la logique de la guerre.

Quelques exemples de ces actions:

  • Reuters. Adnan Hajj, un photographe indépendant travaillant depuis plus de dix ans pour Reuters, falsifia ses prises de vue pour donner une image plus destructrice des attaques israéliennes sur le Liban et une image plus vulnérable des Libanais. Il retoucha des nuages de fumée résultant de l’explosion de manière à les rendre plus épais et plus noirs et fit poser une femme pleurant la perte de sa résidence détruite par les bombes sur trois sites différents. Reuters licencia Hajj et supprima de ses archives 920 de ses photographies. D’autres recherches effectuées par des bloggeurs révélèrent quatre types d’images frauduleuses diffusées par Reuters, toute exagérant l’agressivité israélienne. Les bloggeurs montrèrent même qu’une image de Reuters avait été mise en scène.
  • BBC. Les responsables de l’édition se mirent en quête de témoignages personnels diabolisant Israël avec cette demande postée sur leurs pages d’actualités: «Vivez-vous à Gaza? Avez-vous souffert des incidents qui se sont produits dans la région? Faites-nous part de vos expériences en remplissant le formulaire ci-dessous. Si vous souhaitez nous parler de vive voix, merci d’ajouter vos coordonnées.»
  • CNN. Une présentatrice du programme international, Rosemary Church, suggéra que les forces israéliennes pourraient abattre les roquettes du Hezbollah en vol mais renoncèrent sciemment à le faire lorsqu’elle demanda à un porte-parole israélien: «Pourquoi Israël n’abat pas ces roquettes en plein vol? Ils ont les moyens de le faire.»
  • Washington Post. De même, le journaliste spécialisé dans les affaires militaires Thomas Ricks annonça en diffusion télévisée nationale que des analystes militaires américains, dont il ne précisa pas l’identité, pensent que le gouvernement israélien «laisse intactes des réserves de roquettes du Hezbollah au Liban, car aussi longtemps qu’ils reçoivent des roquettes, leurs opérations au Liban conservent une sorte d’équivalence morale.» Puis d’expliquer que les souffrances de leurs compatriotes leur procurent «une justification morale».

Toutes ces activités médiatiques se fondent sur une perception selon laquelle les pertes subies et l’image de victimisation favorisent la position des protagonistes de la guerre. Les falsifications d’Adnan Hajj, par exemple, visaient à salir l’image d’Israël et ainsi à créer des dissensions internes, à saper la réputation internationale du pays et à générer des pressions sur le gouvernement l’incitant à cesser ses attaques au Liban.

Mais ce phénomène, avec les deux clans faisant étalage de leurs souffrances et de leurs pertes est opposé à l’usage historique voulant que l’on intimide son ennemi en se montrant féroce, implacable et victorieux. Pendant la Deuxième Guerre mondiale, par exemple, le Ministère américain de l’information de guerre interdit la publication de films ou de photographies montrant des Américains morts durant les deux premières années des combats et n’infléchit cette politique que légèrement ensuite. Ceci alors que son Bureau cinématographique produisait des films tels que «Notre ennemi – le Japonais» montrant des dépouilles de Japonais et des scènes illustrant leurs privations.

Le fait de proclamer ses propres prouesses et de dénigrer celles de l’ennemi a été la norme au cours des millénaires, comme l’attestent les peintures murales égyptiennes, les vases grecs, la poésie arabe, le dessin chinois, les ballades anglaises et le théâtre russe. Pourquoi les combattants (et leurs alliés médiatiques) renversent-ils aujourd’hui cette pratique séculaire et universelle pour minimiser leurs propres réussites et mettre en exergue celles de l’ennemi?

À cause de la puissance sans précédent dont jouissent les États-Unis et leurs alliés. Comme l’historien Paul Kennedy l’expliquait en 2002, «en termes militaires, seul un acteur compte vraiment». En examinant l’histoire passée, il observe que «cette différence de puissance est absolument unique – rien n’a jamais existé de tel. Rien.» Et Israël, tant par lui-même, comme puissance régionale, qu’en tant que proche allié de Washington, jouit d’une prépondérance comparable vis-à-vis du Hezbollah.

Une telle puissance a pour corollaire que lorsque l’Occident affronte le non-Occident, l’issue de la bataille est connu d’avance. Dès lors, les combats revêtent plutôt l’aspect d’une opération policière que d’une campagne militaire traditionnelle. De même que les interventions des forces de police, les guerres modernes sont jugées en fonction de leur légalité, de la durée des hostilités, de la proportionnalité des forces engagées, de la sévérité des pertes et de l’étendue des dommages causés à l’économie et à l’environnement. Ce sont autant de questions discutables, et qui font effectivement l’objet de débats, à tel point que le centre de gravité clausewitzien s’est déplacé des champs de bataille vers les éditoriaux et les présentateurs de télévision. La perception de la guerre a autant d’importance que son déroulement concret.

Cette nouvelle réalité implique que dans des situations telles que celle des États-Unis en Irak ou d’Israël au Liban, les gouvernements doivent désormais considérer les relations publiques comme faisant partie intégrante de leur stratégie. Le Hezbollah s’est adapté à cette nouvelle donne, mais pas les gouvernements en question.

Voir aussi:

Why Does Hamas Want War?
Daniel Pipes
National Review Online
July 11, 2014

Politicians start wars optimistic about their prospects of gaining from combat, Geoffrey Blainey notes in his masterly study, The Causes of War; otherwise, they would avoid fighting.

Why, then, did Hamas just provoke a war with Israel? Out of nowhere, on June 11 it began launching rockets, shattering a calm in place since November 2012. The mystery of this outburst prompted David Horovitz, editor of the Times of Israel, to find that the current fighting has "no remotely credible reason" even to be taking place. And why did the Israeli leadership respond minimally, trying to avoid combat? This although both sides know that Israel’s forces vastly out-match Hamas’ in every domain – intelligence gathering, command and control, technology, firepower, domination of air space.

The Israeli Air Force has total control of the air space.

What explains this role reversal? Are Islamists so fanatical that they don’t mind losing? Are Zionists too worried about loss of life to fight?

Actually, Hamas leaders are quite rational. Periodically (2006, 2008, 2012), they decide to make war on Israel knowing full well that they will lose on the military battlefield but optimistic about winning in the political arena. Israeli leaders, conversely, assume they will win militarily but fear political defeat – bad press, United Nations resolutions, and so on.

The focus on politics represents a historic shift; the first 25 years of Israel’s existence saw repeated challenges to its existence (especially in 1948-49, 1967, and 1973) and no one knew how those wars would turn out. I remember the first day of the 1967 Six-Day War, when the Egyptians proclaimed splendid triumphs while complete Israeli press silence suggested catastrophe. It came as a shock to learn that Israel had scored the greatest victory in the annals of warfare. The point is, outcomes were unpredictably decided on the battlefield.

The outside world was unaware of Israeli forces having destroyed Egypt’s air force on the ground in 1967.

No longer: The battlefield outcome of Arab-Israeli wars in last 40 years have been predictable; everyone knows Israeli forces will prevail. It’s more like cops and robbers than warfare. Ironically, this lopsidedness turns attention from winning and losing to morality and politics. Israel’s enemies provoke it to kill civilians, whose deaths bring them multiple benefits.

The four conflicts since 2006 have restored Hamas’ tarnished reputation for "resistance," built solidarity on the home front, stirred dissent among both Arabs and Jews in Israel, galvanized Palestinians and other Muslims to become suicide bombers, embarrassed non-Islamist Arab leaders, secured new United Nations resolutions bashing Israel, inspired Europeans to impose harsher sanctions on Israel, opened the international Left’s spigot of vitriol against the Jewish state, and won additional aid from the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The United Nations Security Council enjoys nothing so much as condemning Israel.

The holy grail of political warfare is to win the sympathy of the global Left by presenting oneself as underdog and victim. (From a historic point of view, it bears pointing out, this is very strange: Traditionally, combatants tried to scare the enemy by presenting themselves as fearsome and unstoppable.)

The tactics of this new warfare include presenting a convincingly emotional narrative, citing endorsements of famous personalities, appealing to the conscience, and drawing simple but powerful political cartoons (Israeli supporters tend to excel at this, both in the past and now). Palestinians get even more creative, developing the twin fraudulent techniques of "fauxtography" for still pictures and "Pallywood" for videos. Israelis used to be complacent about the need for what they call hasbara, or getting the message out, but recent years find them more focused on this.

Hilltops, cities, and strategic roadways matter supremely in the Syria and Iraqi civil wars, but morality, proportionality, and justice dominate Arab-Israeli wars. As I wrote during the 2006 Israel-Hamas confrontation, "Solidarity, morale, loyalty, and understanding are the new steel, rubber, oil, and ammunition." Or in 2012: "Opeds have replaced bullets, social media have replaced tanks." More broadly, this is part of the profound change in modern warfare when Western and non-Western forces fight, as in the U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In Clausewitzian terms, public opinion is the new center of gravity.

All this said, how fares Hamas? Not well. Its battlefield losses since July 8 appear higher than expected and worldwide condemnations of Israel have yet to pour in. Even the Arabic media are relatively quiet. If this pattern holds, Hamas might conclude that raining rockets on Israeli homes is not such a good idea. Indeed, to dissuade it from initiating another assault in a few years, it needs to lose both the military and the political wars, and lose them very badly.

Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2014 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.


July 11, 2014 addenda: (1) Great minds think alike and Caroline Glick has an article just out, "Hamas’s (and Iran’s) fail-safe strategy," that asks the same question I do above:

What is Hamas doing? Hamas isn’t going to defeat Israel. It isn’t going to gain any territory. Israel isn’t going to withdraw from Ashkelon or Sderot under a hail of rockets. So if Hamas can’t win, why is it fighting?

Her answer is somewhat along the same lines as mine: She contrasts the generally favorable conditions Hamas enjoyed when it took over Gaza in 2007 ("All was good") with the many problems it faces today, mentioning the governments of Egypt and Syria, the Palestinian Authority, ISIS, and even the Arab Bank. Given these difficult circumstances,

it was just a matter of time before Hamas opened a full-on assault against Israel. Jew-hatred is endemic in the Muslim world. Going to war against Israel is a tried and true method of garnering sympathy and support from the Muslim world. At a minimum it earns you the forbearance, if not the support of the US and Europe. And you get all of these things whether you win or lose.

In other words, Glick and I agree on the political goals; but she places more emphasis than me on Hamas’ problems. I prefer to see war with Israel as a standing option that Hamas chooses to take up for its own internal reasons whether circumstances are good (as in 2008 and 2012) or bad (as in 2014).

(2) Confirmation about Hamas engaging in a political war from the Christian Science Monitor: It finds that "The movement’s popularity is skyrocketing" despite a long list of woes, which it enumerates.

All that is forgotten amid the bursting of rockets. "Even those, like me, who were all the time criticizing Hamas … now we have to raise up our hats," says Talal Okal, a political independent who pens a column for the Al-Ayyam newspaper.

Fadwa al-Lolo, a 30-something hair stylist with a villa, fancy car, and three salons, is an unlikely cheerleader for Hamas – especially since she says she is opposed to wars and the death and destruction they bring. But she applauds the Islamist movement for its unprecedented challenge to Israel’s presence in historic Palestine. "I feel proud that after 60 years of [Israel] raping our lands we have an army, an army that can hit Israel," says Ms. al-Lolo, who lives in Gaza City. "None of the Arab armies could do what we have done to Israel."

July 12, 2014 update: Avi Issacharoff, the Times of Israel‘s outstanding Middle East analyst, asked an unnamed "pundit who resides in Gaza" what Hamas hoped to achieve when it started the current round of fighting with Israel. The reply complements and amplifies my point above about it being a political war:

First and foremost, [Hamas leaders seek] to forge new relations with Cairo. They have named this war "The Tenth of Ramadan." Do you know which other war had the same name? The Yom Kippur War. "This is a gift for the Egyptian army," they said. They even demand that the injured be evacuated to Egypt for treatment. At the end of the day, they want the Rafah crossing to open and to build a new relationship with the president, Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. Until now, Hamas has been isolated. They can’t leave Gaza at all. There are no more tunnels [for smuggling material in the Strip, which have been closed down by Egypt]. The prices just rise and rise, and the reconciliation has hurt them.

Now, this is their way of changing the equation. Since the Israeli strikes began, they have won great popularity on the Palestinian street: they have managed to shoot at Tel Aviv, as only Saddam Hussein had done before them. They have fired at the Dimona reactor, at Haifa. Little Hamas has been able to drive five million Israelis into bomb shelters. In the eyes of the average Gazan, this is a huge achievement. In the meantime, they go on doing whatever they want. Even the Palestinian Authority officials (whose salaries are paid by Abbas) have been afraid to approach the banks after armed militants shot at the ATMs and banks from which they collected their salaries. … They [Hamas] will want to set up a new government, after it is all over. They want to be on the map again, not to be those who surrendered to Abbas and Israel."

Voir également:

Column One: Hamas’s (and Iran’s) fail-safe strategy
Caroline B. Glick
Jerusalem Post
10/07/2014

Peace can only come to Israel and its neighbors when the Muslim world liberates itself from its hatred of Jews.

What is Hamas doing? Hamas isn’t going to defeat Israel.

It isn’t going to gain any territory. Israel isn’t going to withdraw from Ashkelon or Sderot under a hail of rockets.

So if Hamas can’t win, why is it fighting? Why rain down destruction and misery on millions of Israelis with your Iranian missiles and your Syrian rockets and invite a counter-assault on your headquarters and weapons warehouses, which you have conveniently placed in the middle of the Palestinian people on whose behalf you are allegedly fighting? Hamas is in a precarious position. When the terror group took over Gaza seven years ago, things were different.

It had a relatively friendly regime in Cairo that was willing to turn a blind eye to all the missiles Iran, Syria and Hezbollah were sending over to Gaza through Sinai.

Hamas’s leaders were comfortably ensconced in Damascus and enjoyed warm relations with Saudi Arabia and Iran.

International funds flowed freely into Hamas bank accounts from Fatah’s donor-financed Palestinian Authority budget, through the Arab Bank, headquartered in Jordan, through the UN, and when necessary through suitcases of cash transferred to Gaza by couriers from Egypt.

Hamas used these conditions to build up the arsenal of a terror state, and to keep the trains running on time. Schools were open. Government employees were paid. Israel was bombed. All was good.

Today, Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, faces an Egyptian regime that is locked in a life-and-death struggle with the Brotherhood. To harm Hamas, for the past year the Egyptians have been blocking Hamas’s land-based weapons shipments and destroying its smuggling-dependent economy by sealing off the cross-border tunnels.

Syria and Hamas parted ways at the outset of the Syrian civil war when Hamas, a Sunni jihadist group, was unable to openly support Bashar Assad’s massacre of Sunnis.

Fatah has lately been refusing to transfer payments to Hamas due to congressional pressure to cut off the now-illegal flow of aid to the joint Fatah-Hamas unity government.

As for Hamas’s banker, stung by terror victim lawsuits, the Arab Bank now refuses to transfer monies to Hamas from third parties. The UN is also hard-pressed to finance the terror group’s bureaucracy.

In Gaza itself, al-Qaida affiliates including ISIS (now renamed the Islamic State) have seeded themselves along with the Iranian proxy Islamic Jihad. These groups challenge Hamas’s claim to power. Lacking the ability to pay government employee salaries, Hamas is hard-pressed to keep its rivals down.

Given these circumstances, it was just a matter of time before Hamas opened a full-on assault against Israel.

Jew-hatred is endemic in the Muslim world. Going to war against Israel is a tried and true method of garnering sympathy and support from the Muslim world. At a minimum it earns you the forbearance, if not the support of the US and Europe. And you get all of these things whether you win or lose.

When Saddam Hussein shot 39 Scud missiles at Israel during the 1991 Gulf War, he didn’t attack because he thought doing so would destroy Israel. He attacked Israel because he was trying to convince the Arab members of the US-led international coalition to abandon the war against him.

Moreover, when Saddam launched the Scuds against Israel, he knew that Israel wouldn’t be able to retaliate. He knew that the US would force Israel to stand down in order to maintain the support of his Jew-hating fellow Arabs in its coalition.

So attacking Israel was a freebie that he only stood to gain from.

In 200 when Hezbollah initiated the Second Lebanon War, its leaders also didn’t think for a second that their group would conquer Israel. But by attacking the hated Jews, they were able to present themselves and their Iranian bosses as the guardians of the Muslims worldwide.

Then there was the US’s response.

As it protected Saddam from Israel in 1991, so in 2006, the US gave Hezbollah the upper hand in the war. Then-secretary of state Condoleezza Rice forced Israel to accept a cease-fire with Hezbollah that placed the illegal terror group on equal legal and moral footing with Israel.

This US legitimization of Hezbollah enabled the Iranian proxy to intimidate its Sunni and Christian compatriots in Lebanon and coerce them into accepting effective Hezbollah control over the entire state.

As for Hamas, from the outset of Hamas’s previous missile campaigns in 2009 and 2012, the Obama administration made it clear to Israel that it would not tolerate Israeli strikes that were sufficiently comprehensive to wipe out Hamas’s capacity to continue attacking Israel. In other words, President Barack Obama chose to protect Hamas – an illegal terrorist organization, waging a war of indiscriminate, criminal missile strikes against Israeli civilians – from Israel.

Today, Hamas has every reason to take heart from the responses it has received from its current offensive.

In the internal Palestinian arena, Fatah, Hamas’s partner in the Palestinian Authority unity government, is standing shoulder to shoulder with Hamas.

As The Jerusalem Post’s Khaled Abu Toameh reported, Fatah militias in Gaza are actively participating in the Hamas-led missile campaign against Israel. Fatah terrorists have boasted shooting dozens of rockets and mortar shells at Ashkelon and Sderot.

On Wednesday, Palestinian Media Watch reported that Fatah posted a placard proclaiming that the military wings of Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are “brothers in arms” united by “one God, one homeland, one enemy and one goal.”

Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas is Hamas’s diplomatic champion. Indeed, his wild accusations against Israel have moved from the realm of exaggeration to rank incitement that raises concern he is planning to open a second front against Israel from Judea and Samaria.

Although Egypt has still not indicated any willingness to support Hamas, the longer Hamas continues attacking Israel, the more difficult it will become for Egypt to seal off the border between Gaza and Sinai. Hamas’s war strengthens the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

Then there is the Obama administration.

Obama administration spokesmen have been issuing prepared statements blaming the hostilities on Hamas and mouthing support for Israel while praising its restraint. But at the same time, they have been transmitting messages which indicate that Obama is more intent than ever to give Hamas a victory even as it continues to rain down terror on Israel.

As Tel Aviv, Hadera and Jerusalem absorbed their first missile salvos from Gaza on Tuesday, Obama’s Middle East envoy Philip Gordon spoke at Haaretz’s “peace” conference.

It was a jaw dropping performance.

Gordon blamed Israel for the failure for the administration’s efforts to broker a peace deal between Israel and the PLO while effusively praising Fatah leader and Hamas partner Abbas.

And it only went down from there.

After insisting Israel is inadequately committed to peace, Gordon threatened to withdraw US support for Israel at the UN and open the door to the criminalization of Israel by the corrupt international body.

“How will we prevent other states from supporting Palestinian efforts in international bodies, if Israel is not seen as committed to peace?” he asked rhetorically.

Gordon’s remarks were not disputed by the State Department.

And State Department spokespersons themselves have continued to insist – absurdly – that Hamas is not a member of the Fatah-Hamas unity government.

From Hamas’s perspective, the Obama administration’s response to its aggression is an invitation to keep going. Gordon’s speech allayed any concerns they may have had regarding how the US would respond.

Hamas now knows that the US will coerce Israel into standing down while Hamas is still standing, and so enable the jihadists to claim victory and place Egypt in a bind.

And as with Hamas, so with Hamas’s Iranian sponsors.

On July 20, the US and its partners are supposed to conclude a nuclear deal with Iran.

Many Western experts and even some Israeli ones insist that Iran’s nuclear weapon program is not a serious threat to Israel because Iran’s primary aspirations have little to do with Israel. Iran, they say, wants nuclear weapons in order to dominate the Persian Gulf, and through it, the Muslim world as a whole. Iran’s targets, it is argued, are Mecca and Medina, not Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

While this is probably true, it is certainly irrelevant for Israel’s strategic assessment.

The same dynamics that inform Hamas’s decision to launch its offensives against Israel inform Iran’s thinking about how it will use a nuclear arsenal. Iran would not attack Israel with nuclear weapons because it wishes to conquer Israel per se. Iran would attack Israel with nuclear weapons because doing so would give it a massive public relations boost in its campaign to dominate the Persian Gulf generally, and Saudi Arabia in particular.

In other words, far from being a hindrance to accomplishing its central goal, Iran views attacking Israel as a means of advancing it.

Unfortunately for Israel, just as the US has made clear that it opposes Israel taking any offensive steps to destroy Hamas’s capacity to rain terror on its citizens, so the Obama administration, through word and deed, has made clear that it will defend Iran and Iran’s nuclear weapons program from Israel.

The talks that are set to conclude next week can only bring about bad or worse results for Israel. In recent days and weeks, Iranian leaders have said that the only deal they will sign is one that will facilitate their nuclear weapons program by giving international license to their massive uranium enrichment activities. So if a deal is concluded, it will give the imprimatur of the US, the UN and the EU to a nuclear-armed Iran.

If no deal is concluded, the Obama administration will undoubtedly continue to protect Iran’s nuclear installations from Israel in the hopes of concluding an agreement with Iran at a later date, perhaps after the congressional elections in November.

In an op-ed in Haaretz published this week, Obama wrote, “While walls and missile defense systems can help protect against some threats, true safety will only come with a comprehensive negotiated settlement. Reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians would also help turn the tide of international sentiment and sideline violent extremists, further bolstering Israel’s security.”

Unfortunately, Obama misses the point completely. As the dozen agreements Israel already signed with the Palestinians show, pieces of paper are meaningless if they don’t reflect the underlying sentiments of the populations concerned.

Peace can only come to Israel and its neighbors when the Muslim world liberates itself from its hatred of Jews. Until that happens, everyone from Hamas to Hezbollah to Fatah to al-Qaida to Iran and beyond will continue to view attacking Israel as the best way to make a name for themselves in the world, and the best way to get the attention – and support – of the West.

Voir encore:

As Hamas takes on Israel, not all in Gaza are cheering (+video)
Hamas’s popularity is soaring with every rocket launch, but some Palestinians say they are bringing destruction upon Gaza for their own political interests.
Ahmed Aldabba, Correspondent Christa Case Bryant, Staff writer
The Christian Science Monitor
July 11, 2014

Gaza City, Gaza; and Jerusalem — The surge in popularity Hamas receives each time it unleashes rockets on Israel is predictable by now. The frustration voiced by Palestinians in Gaza who blame Hamas for pursuing its own interests while their homes get reduced to rubble is less expected.

The destruction wrought by Israeli airstrikes in this latest escalation, which some see as a Hamas attempt to deflect attention from its increasing woes, has embittered Gazans like Abu Shadi al-Wehedi.

“The timing reveals everything. Hamas is suffering politically and financially and every Palestinian knows that the wars bring money. After every war donations pours into Gaza,” says Mr. al-Wehedi, a taxi driver whose home was badly damaged when Israel bombed his Hamas neighbor.

“After the strike, Hamas officials came to check on their colleagues to support financially and morally, but none of them has even asked about what happened to my family and house,” he says. “I have worked hard for 14 years to build this house, and it was destroyed in a fraction of a second. I and my seven children are homeless now.”

While Israel says it tries to limit civilian casualties through a combination of precise technology, warning leaflets, and telephone calls to families whose homes will be bombed imminently, at least 69 of those killed so far were civilians, according to a detailed report from the Gaza-based Al Mezan Center for Human Rights. More than 400 homes have been destroyed, it added. Israel blames Hamas militants for making civilian deaths unavoidable since they operate in densely populated areas.

Reputation repair

Hamas tried to keep a lid on rocket fire from other militant groups after it reached a cease-fire with Israel in November 2012, partially in a bid to reconcile with Fatah in the West Bank, which officially abandoned violence years ago. That restraint dented Hamas’s street cred as a resistance movement.

Now, as rockets set off sirens in Israel’s biggest cities, it is rapidly repairing that dent.

“The Israelis only understand the language of power, we have been negotiating with them for decades, but negotiations did not work because of Israel’s procrastination,” says Hammam Ahmed, a businessman from Gaza City, who hopes the fighting will pressure Israel and Egypt to open the border crossings to freer movement of goods and people. “I never loved Hamas, and never will, but I really admire them. They die to let people live."

The movement’s popularity is skyrocketing. Never mind that it has lost key patrons in Iran, Syria, and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, or that it had been backed into a corner by its secular rival Fatah and forced to sign a reconciliation agreement that severely limits its power. Never mind that its officials introduced strict and sometimes bizarre restrictions on Gazans during its seven-year reign, including a ban on mohawk hairstyles and baggy pants, and were increasingly resented as the one-time resistance heroes struggled to shine in the spotlight of governmental responsibility. Or that Egypt and Israel cracked down harder on the movement of goods into the tiny territory during the militant group’s rule, driving up fuel and food prices as well as unemployment.

All that is forgotten amid the bursting of rockets.

“Even those, like me, who were all the time criticizing Hamas … now we have to raise up our hats,” says Talal Okal, a political independent who pens a column for the Al-Ayyam newspaper.
‘Resistance’ pride

Fadwa al-Lolo, a 30-something hair stylist with a villa, fancy car, and three salons, is an unlikely cheerleader for Hamas – especially since she says she is opposed to wars and the death and destruction they bring.

But she applauds the Islamist movement for its unprecedented challenge to Israel’s presence in historic Palestine.

“I feel proud that after 60 years of [Israel] raping our lands we have an army, an army that can hit Israel,” says Ms. al-Lolo, who lives in Gaza City. “None of the Arab armies could do what we have done to Israel.”

While Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein rained 39 Scud missiles on the Tel Aviv area during the 1991 Gulf War, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement showered rockets across northern Israel in 2006, Hamas’s barrage of more than 550 rockets this week has put 5 million of Israel’s 8 million citizens at risk.

It’s not that people like al-Wehedi, the taxi driver, are against “resistance,” the shorthand here for violent tactics of undermining Israeli occupation. It’s more that they fault Hamas for lacking a strategy that will promote Palestinian national interests.

“I’m a supporter of resistance, but it must be coordinated with the political leadership in order to get good results,” says an unemployed accountant and father of three. “But starting a war with Israel without an agreement among the Palestinian factions a is a big mistake.”

Voir enfin:

Gazans set to pay heaviest price for Hamas’s ‘Tenth of Ramadan’ war
In the coastal strip, they marvel that little Hamas has been able to drive five million Israelis into bomb shelters. But when this conflict is over, they may be less inclined to support the Islamists
Avi Issacharoff
The Times of Israel
July 11, 2014

A few days earlier, in the quarter-final stage, Gaza’s beachside cafes had been packed with men who had come to watch the games and puff away on hookahs on the seashore. But on Tuesday, and then again the following day, when the second semi-final was played, the residents of Gaza stayed in their homes for fear of Israeli airstrikes.

With unemployment soaring at 44 percent and acute poverty that afflicts nearly two-thirds of the population of the coastal territory, despair has not become any easier to bear in the Strip.

One pundit who resides in Gaza joked while speaking to me on the phone from there that “people sank even deeper into despair after the first game, as the majority here supports Brazil.”

He also said the average Gazan blames Israel for the latest escalation.

“The people here think that [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is using the kidnapping [and killing of three Israeli teenagers last month, allegedly by Hamas] to end the negotiations with [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas and harm the reconciliation and Hamas. So far, Netanyahu has achieved both objectives – to strike at the reconciliation and end the talks with the Palestinian Authority.”
An Israeli soldier sleeps on an ammunition box near an 155mm artillery canon stationed along the southern Israeli border with the Gaza Strip, Friday, July 11, 2014. (photo credit: Jack Guez/AFP)

An Israeli soldier sleeps on an ammunition box near an 155mm artillery canon stationed along the southern Israeli border with the Gaza Strip, Friday, July 11, 2014. (photo credit: Jack Guez/AFP)

I asked him what Hamas wanted to achieve. After all, it had started the escalation.

“First and foremost, to forge new relations with Cairo,” he said. “They have named this war ‘The Tenth of Ramadan.’ Do you know which other war had the same name? The Yom Kippur War. ‘This is a gift for the Egyptian army,’ they said. They even demand that the injured be evacuated to Egypt for treatment. At the end of the day, they want the Rafah crossing to open and to build a new relationship with the president, Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.”

“Until now, Hamas has been isolated,” he went on. “They can’t leave Gaza at all. There are no more tunnels [for smuggling material in the Strip, which have been closed down by Egypt]. The prices just rise and rise, and the reconciliation has hurt them. Now this is their way of changing the equation. Since the Israeli strikes began, they have won great popularity on the Palestinian street: they have managed to shoot at Tel Aviv, as only Saddam Hussein had done before them. They have fired at the Dimona reactor, at Haifa. Little Hamas has been able to drive five million Israelis into bomb shelters. In the eyes of the average Gazan, this is a huge achievement. In the meantime, they go on doing whatever they want. Even the Palestinian Authority officials (whose salaries are paid by Abbas) have been afraid to approach the banks after armed militants shot at the ATMs and banks from which they collected their salaries.”

According to this Gaza pundit, the aggressive Israeli offensive and the harming of innocents have only served to bolster popular support for the Islamist rulers of the strip.
Palestinian relatives of eight members of the Al Haj family, who were killed in a strike early morning, grieve in the family house during their funeral in Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip on Thursday, July 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Palestinian relatives of eight members of the Al Haj family, who were killed in a strike early morning, grieve in the family house during their funeral in Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip on Thursday, July 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

“They will want to set up a new government, after it is all over. They want to be on the map again, not to be those who surrendered to Abbas and Israel.”

And yet, it is not at all certain that Hamas invested much thought in the decision to go to war. Yes, it is evident that they prepared ahead of time for such a scenario by identifying precise shooting targets and planning special operations. But even in our region, such a decision is usually preceded by numerous high-level discussions, foreword planning and possibly also an exit strategy. The aggressor will generally have clear objectives for his decision to instigate the violence, relating to the enemy against whom he is fighting.

But the latest confrontation between Hamas and Israel exposes a phenomenon that is not as well known in our region: It’s the case of a semi-military terrorist entity, Hamas, going to war against a stronger enemy, Israel, not to cause it to accede to its demands, but to cause a third and fourth entity to accede to them. Hamas has dragged itself into war without devoting too much thought to its exit strategy. Its key hopes are that Egypt will change its attitude toward it, and that it will finish off Palestinian reconciliation efforts once and for all.

Israel, it would seem, has been drawn against its will into Hamas’s fight for survival against Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.

Why now?

The deliberate escalation of rocket fire toward Israel in the days before the fighting began seems like an improvisation born of Hamas’s understanding of the changing reality. And if we take a moment to try to reflect on what has taken place here in the last few weeks, it becomes evident that Hamas is acting ad-hoc, without a strategic plan.

First came the kidnapping and killing of the three Israeli teens by a Hamas cell in Hebron. Israel doesn’t have proof that the leadership of the organization in the Gaza Strip or abroad was behind the act, but it is clear that an as-yet unseen hand invested significant resources and funds in the attack, apparently with the intention of taking Israelis hostage and negotiating with Israel for their release.

The abductions led to an expansive IDF operation in the West Bank targeting the Hamas infrastructure there, both military and civil. Hundreds of Hamas members were arrested, financial institutions were closed down and, worst of all for Hamas, over 50 Hamas members who were released in the prisoner exchange deal to free kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in 2011 were re-arrested by Israeli security forces. Hamas’s great achievement, the release of 1,027 prisoners in exchange for a single Israeli soldier just under three years ago, was undermined by Israel’s decision to punish the organization for the latest kidnapping and killing by arresting its men.

But there were two other main factors that led Hamas to go to war against Israel. Abbas’s message to the organization in the aftermath of the kidnapping was blunt: when we figure out who is behind the teens’ deaths, we will punish the perpetrators. And then there was the ongoing standoff with Egypt — the tunnels closed off and the government in Cairo treating Hamas like a band of terrorists who compromised Egypt’s security and forced a blockade on Gaza.

And yet, right up until the killing of 16-year-old Shuafat resident Muhammad Abu Khdeir on July 2, it was not apparent that Hamas was interested in an escalation of violence. The prevalent attitude in the defense establishment in the past few years, right up until Monday, was that the leadership of the organization in Gaza sought to hold onto its control of the Strip by any means necessary.

It is possible that the reaction to Khdeir’s murder of Arab Israelis, coupled with the fierce clashes in East Jerusalem, led the Hamas leadership in Gaza and abroad to realize it now had an opportunity to seize the momentum created by all those Palestinians who wanted revenge, to ride the waves of their admiration. It may also have been the usual arrogance shown toward Israel by Hamas and Hezbollah — in other words, the assumption that firing rockets at Israel would not trigger too aggressive a reaction due to Jerusalem’s fear of sliding into war (echoing Hezbollah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah’s “spider web” theory from 2000, which claimed that Israel was unable to stomach war despite its military might).

Apparently, Hamas’s assumption was that in fighting Israel, the organization would be able to win support on the Palestinian street and effect a change in Egypt’s attitude toward it — resulting in the opening of the Rafah crossing and eventually, after the current round of fighting would be over, the establishment of a new government in the West Bank that would comprise a plethora of groups and movements, enjoy Cairo’s cooperation and, to take the cake, leave Abbas stranded in the Muqata in Ramallah as the Palestinian street viewed him as a collaborator with Israel.

Hamas’s terms for a comprehensive ceasefire were relayed for the first time as early as Sunday, revealing that what it wanted was an escalation. There were conditions on the list that had nothing at all to do with Israel, such as lifting the blockade on Gaza (opening the Rafah crossing). But meanwhile, in the Kirya in Tel Aviv, the top brass of the Israeli defense establishment had yet to realize that something had changed, that a decision had been made by Hamas to start an all-out war. Indeed, it was only on Monday night that Israel realized Hamas was no longer in the same state of mind that had characterized it in recent years, and was now pushing for an escalation.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C), Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (R), and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz seen during a meeting in the situation room of the Israeli Air Force on Thursday, July 10, 2014, the third day of Operation Protective Edge. (photo credit: Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C), Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (R), and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz seen during a meeting in the situation room of the Israeli Air Force on Thursday, July 10, 2014, the third day of Operation Protective Edge. (photo credit: Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry/Flash90)

Gershon Baskin, who mediated between Hamas and Israel to secure the Shalit deal, apparently tried in the past few days to negotiate a temporary ceasefire. Baskin, who cannot be suspected of being a sympathizer of the Israeli Right, wrote about his efforts on his Facebook page.

In a conversation with me on Wednesday, he emphasized time and again that “It is clear to me that they (Hamas) don’t want a ceasefire. When the escalation began, they had an opportunity to relay their terms to Israel through Abbas. They claimed that they did not kidnap the three [teens] and had nothing to do with it. Okay, let’s say they didn’t. And they claimed that Israel took advantage of the situation to hurt them. You can accept that statement, or you can reject it.

“But they wanted to instigate a response. They knew that an Israeli offensive against Gaza would improve their public standing. They also knew that in light of the differences of opinion within Hamas, the only thing that would unite them all would be a conflict with Israel. And that the more heavy-handed Israel’s attacks against them would be, the stronger they would become.
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal addresses the crowd during a rally at the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus, Syria, on Friday Nov. 5, 2010. (photo credit: Bassem Tellawi/AP)

“Before the escalation began,” Basin went on, “I tried to convince them that Netanyhau is serious this time, and that he might initiate a ground operation. That was why I suggested that they agree to stop the rocket fire for 24 hours, that was all, without getting anything in return. During that time, they were to have relayed their terms to Israel through Abbas. It would not have done any harm. My message reached even [Hamas political chief] Khaled Mashaal, but there was no answer. Instead, they stepped up the rocket fire. Now they are saying that they demand the release of the hundreds of prisoners who were arrested in the IDF operation that followed the teens’ kidnapping, particularly those who were released in the Shalit exchange and re-arrested.”

Baskin said that in the political and military wings of Hamas, there are personages who are unhappy with the reconciliation with Abbas and don’t want it to take place. It is possible, he said, that the escalation is their way of shrugging off the reconciliation pact.
Haifa, city of the future

Meanwhile, on Wednesday evening, during a speech in Qatar, Mashaal declared war. His speech contained a considerable measure of haughtiness and arrogance, as well as an empty promise that “if the occupation doesn’t end, Haifa will be bombed.”

What exactly was Mashaal trying to say? It’s hard to tell. He mostly repeated catchphrase after catchphrase, without elaborating on Hamas’s terms for a ceasefire.
Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah speaks via a video link in January. (file photo; photo credit: AP/Bilal Hussein)

Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah speaks via a video link in January 2013. (file photo; photo credit: AP/Bilal Hussein)

To a large extent, his speech reminded me of Nasrallah’s hubris at the start of the Second Lebanon War in 2006, when, still giddy from the kidnapping of IDF soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, he bragged again and again of his organization’s exceptional abilities, rising up to superstardom in Lebanon and other Arab states. It was only after the war had ended that he acknowledged his mistake, and his standing in the Arab public began to slowly ebb.

It remains to be seen how the current clashes in Gaza will play out. Mashaal will probably stay in the Qatari capital of Doha, safe and sound, while the Hamas leadership hiding in tunnels underneath Gaza will survive unscathed. The rockets will continue to fall all over Israel, in the south, in Gush Dan and north of there.

But the heaviest price will be paid by the Gazan public, the public currently embracing Hamas. In an echo of the aftermath of the 2006 war, they are unlikely to continue to embrace Hamas after the ceasefire, when they find out that almost nothing has changed, and certainly nothing for the better. Gaza, it would seem, will still be Gaza after this war, too.

Voir de plus:

On the Israeli Police Beating of a Palestinian, and Other Crimes
Countries are judged on how they police their police
Jeffrey Goldberg
The Atlantic
Jul 8 2014

The torture and murder by fire in Jerusalem of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, allegedly by a gang of Israeli hooligans, initially prompted in me a desire to say, "But," but then this short piece, by Rabbi David Wolpe, of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, came over the wire:

Please, please don’t say ‘but.’ The words after ‘but’ invalidate everything that comes before—“He’s a nice person, but he does steal from the company.” You see? “But” is a meaning duster, sweeping all that precedes it.

So everyone who has written condemning the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, and then goes on to say “but of course” Palestinian society does not condemn their own murders, or Israel is raising up in anguish, or anything else, is missing the point. The point is to be ashamed and to grieve, not to use this murder to prove we are nonetheless better, or they are nonetheless guiltier.

When we beat our chests on Yom Kippur, we do not say before God, “But the man in the seat next to me is far worse.” That is not contrition; it is self-justification disguised as repentance. At a time of national self soul-searching it is too facile and false to use a Jewish crime as a stick to beat our enemies. Jews did this. Blind hatred did this. We should look inside, and be ashamed.

And so, no "but." Except for this semi-unrelated one:

But I think that while the murder of 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir is a terrible crime, the non-fatal beating of his cousin, the Palestinian-American teenager Tariq Khdeir, by Israel’s Border Police, is, in one way, more consequential. Obviously, murder is the ultimate crime, but this murder was committed, we believe, by thugs operating independent of state authority. The beating of Tariq Khdeir was conducted by agents of the state. We judge countries not on the behavior of their criminal elements, but on 1) how they police their criminal elements; and 2) how they police their police. Those of you who have seen images of the beating of Tariq Khdeir know that this assault represents a state failure.

Unfortunately, this is not a one-off failure. On too many occasions, Israeli police officers and soldiers have meted out excessive punishment to Palestinians in custody. I’ve witnessed some of these incidents myself, both as a reporter and as a soldier. More than two decades ago, I served in the Israeli military police at the Ketziot prison camp, by Israel’s border with Egypt. This was during the first Palestinian uprising (which is remembered now, of course, as the "good" uprising, of stone-throwing and Molotov cocktails, rather than suicide bombers) and the prison held roughly 6,000 Palestinians, many of them street fighters, but many from the leadership of the uprising as well. It was at the prison that I witnessed—and broke up—one of the more vicious beatings I have ever seen. I wrote about this incident, and others, in my book about my time in Ketziot, Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. Rather than summarize my account of this beating, I’m going to post the account straight from the book. It starts when I come across a friend of mine, a fellow soldier, named Yoram, trying to beat senseless a Palestinian man called Abu Firas:

Abu Firas was a disagreeable and smug man, but his sourness was not a mortal sin. Yoram, whom I knew to be gentle but at that moment had blood in his face, was beating Abu Firas on the head with the handset of an army radio. The handset weighed five or six pounds, and it was sharp-edged. Abu Firas was hurt. Most men taking a beating like this would scream blue murder, but Abu Firas didn’t. I was impressed. Yoram didn’t stop when I came upon him. I took hold of his arm, knocking the radio to the ground.

Yoram was a religious Jew, and his kippah, knit and multicolored in the style of the modern Orthodox, stayed pinned to his head through his exertions. It was quite a sight—a yeshiva Jew, a God-fearer, delivering a bloody beating.

You don’t understand,’ Yoram said, gasping for breath. “You don’t understand.”

Abu Firas was on his knees, grabbing at his head. His hair shone with blood. He was barely coherent. He pleaded for water. Yoram tried to jack Abu Firas up onto his feet, but he couldn’t move. Yoram, still panting, didn’t tell me what it was I didn’t understand.

(snip)

“What the fuck are you doing?” I asked Yoram.

We stared at each other. Yoram looked as if he were ready to take a swing.

Abu Firas sat on the ground, watching now, his pain salved by the spectacle of two Jews at daggers drawn.

“Don’t be a manyak,’ Yoram said. A manyak is an asshole.

How am I a manyak?

“Get this dog out of here,” he said, pointing to Abu Firas.

Abu Firas, who evidently understood Hebrew, spit out, ‘Cus amak,’ at Hebrew. Yoram lunged for him. Cus amak means ‘your mother’s cunt’ in Arabic.

I held Yoram back. I told Abu Firas to move. Then I went in search of someone to take Abu Firas to the infirmary. I found another military policeman, and handed off the wobbling prisoner, who was by now bleeding on me, “He fell,” I lied.

Yoram was not, in my experience, a sadist. He was an appealing person, usually. His parents were refugees from North Africa, a typical Sephardic family, as he described it. They kept kosher, and went to soccer matches on Shabbat. Yoram was kind, not coarse, and patient. Native-born Israelis are blessed with many qualities, but politesse and patience are not among them. That is why the beating surprised me; Yoram did not have a tripwire Middle Eastern temper.

The beating, I deduced, was prompted by something Abu Firas said. The prison had been especially tense in the first months of 1991. Yoram lived in Tel Aviv, which was, for a time, the target of Iraqi Scud missiles (Saddam Hussein was desperately trying to draw Israel into the Gulf War as a way of splitting the coalition arrayed against him). Abu Firas, in the course of a petty argument about some minor procedural matter, told Yoram that he would ask Allah to help Saddam burn Yoram’s family to death. The Palestinian prisoners did not keep their opinions of Saddam’s efforts to themselves. At night, when the air raid sirens warned of an incoming Scud, the prisoners in their tents would let out a roar of approval. “Ya ya, Saddam,” they would sing, and sometimes ,when their sap was high, “Falastin baladna, wa Yahud kalabna," "Palestine is our land and the Jews are our dogs.” They wouldn’t stop until we threatened to fill their tents with tear gas.

Okay, so Abu Firas is an asshole, I told Yoram. What’s the big deal?

“Don’t you understand, Yoram asked. “You can’t let them talk to you that way."

So what if he curses you? It’s the game. His role is to provoke you, yours is to ignore him. I kept going: Beating a man won’t solve anything. It just drives the hatred deeper inside him.

I was embarrassed for Yoram. I thought we were the same, but I realized at that moment that were different, crucially: Unlike Yoram, I never hit a Palestinian who wasn’t already hitting me.

But if I was embarrassed for Yoram. for his brutality, for his darkness of mind, he was embarrassed for me, for my stupidity and my softness. I read his face: it said, manyak American, with your stupid American ideas. I had only been in the prison for a month but I had already made for myself a reputation as a yafei nefesh, literally a “beautiful soul”—a bleeding heart.

They want to kill us all, Yoram said.

Beating them will make it worse, I said.

“You can’t beat them enough,” he said.

(snip)

I left Yoram to check on Abu Firas. A medic had cut away some of his hair and his skull was yellow with antiseptic. I stood there watching the stitches go in. Abu Firas said nothing. I was expecting him to say thank you. He didn’t. Instead, he dead-eyed me, until I left.

A few days later, I fell into conversation with one of the leaders of the prisoners. I had become quite relaxed with a number of them. This one prisoner—Capucci … was a particular favorite. At the time, he was the shaweesh, the prisoner representative of his sub-block, but he was also said to be high in the ranks of Fatah. We talked through barbed wire. He already knew what had happened. “Are you a Communist?” Capucci asked. He wasn’t smiling. He was seigneurial, and grave. He had a quiet in him that was most unusual. He was only thirty-five, but the other prisoners spoke to him as an imam speaks to God.

Capucci had heard that I had done something humane for a prisoner. Therefore he suspected I was a Communist. …

I saw a handful of other beatings, and broke them up as well. (I also saw kindness, by the way, but that is not the subject of this post.) I would not cover-up again for a soldier who was committing a crime. I was too angry about this behavior to acquiesce in any form. There were occasions, obviously, in which justifiable force was used—in my own case (referred to elliptically above), I had to defend myself from a Hamasnik who was trying to break my skull with a metal pipe. We flailed at each other and then wrestled on the ground for a bit, until one of my comrades came to the rescue (very deftly, and with a minimum of force, by the way). The prison was a nasty place, and it was not the role of the Palestinians prisoners to make it easy, and it was not the role of the soldiers to run it as a summer camp.
Each time a Palestinian is abused in Israeli custody, it violates the spirit and promise of the country.

On the other hand, I could not believe, at my tender age, that Jews would resort to the use of punitive violence.

It is often said that Israel is judged by a double-standard. This is not true. Often, Israel is judged by a quadruple standard. There is one standard for developing-world countries; a second for Europe; a third, more stringent standard, for the U.S., and a fourth, impossible, standard for Israel. Often, this quadruple standard bothers me, especially when it is deployed by Judeophobes. But the truth is that I judge Israel by a higher standard than I judge other countries, precisely because it is a Jewish country. Jews gave the world the gift of ethical monotheism, and the idea that all people—not just kings—are created in the image of God. Judaism holds that Muhammad Abu Khdeir, and Tariq Khdeir, are created in the image of God, and therefore, to abuse them, to destroy them, is to desecrate God’s name. Each time a Palestinian is abused in custody by Israeli authorities, those who commit the beating are violating the spirit and promise of their country.

Is this a tough standard? Yes. Is it impossible to reach during times of strife, when Israel’s enemies are trying to murder as many Jews as possible? Maybe. But moments like these are tests. And they represent tests worth passing.

Voir par ailleurs:

Ne vous trompez pas: à Gaza, Israël fait tout pour minimiser les pertes civiles

William Saletan

Traduit par Peggy Sastre

Slate
10.07.2014

Et on ne peut pas en dire autant du Hamas.

Selon bon nombre de ses détracteurs, Israël serait en train de massacrer des civils à Gaza. Pour un membre arabe du parlement israélien, son armée «élimine délibérément des familles entières». Pour Mahmoud Abbas, président de l’Autorité palestinienne, Israël est en train de commettre un «génocide –le meurtre de familles entières». Et selon l’Iran, il s’agit de «massacres contre des Palestiniens sans défense».

De telles accusations sont fausses. Selon les standards de la guerre, les efforts que déploie Israël pour épargner les civils sont exemplaires.

Ce combat n’a pas été décidé par Israël. Selon le Hamas et le Djihad Islamique, les deux organisations terroristes qui contrôlent Gaza, Israël aurait provoqué ces hostilités en arrêtant en Cisjordanie des membres du Hamas. Mais des arrestations sur un territoire ne justifient pas des bombardements aériens sur un autre. Israël ne s’en est pris à Gaza qu’après le tir de plus de 150 roquettes sur son territoire et le refus par les terroristes d’un cessez-le-feu.

Plusieurs images publiées ces derniers jours et censées prouver le carnage des bombes israéliennes sont des faux, empruntés à d’autres guerres. Mercredi après-midi, le bilan humain oscillait entre 30 et 50 personnes, voire davantage, une fourchette dépendant du moment choisi pour marquer le début de ce conflit.

La moindre mort est tragique, et plus les hostilités dureront, plus le bilan s’alourdira. Pour autant, en sachant qu’Israël a lancé plus de 500 raids aériens, vous pouvez en tirer deux conclusions.

La première, c’est que l’armée israélienne est misérablement nulle pour tuer des gens. La seconde, et la plus plausible, c’est qu’elle fait au contraire tout son possible pour ne pas en tuer.

Le ministre israélien de la Défense a admis que ses offensives avaient ciblé des «domiciles de terroristes», mais aussi des «armes, des infrastructures terroristes, des systèmes de commandements, des institutions du Hamas [et] des bâtiments officiels». Les logements étaient ceux de chefs militaires du Hamas. Selon les dires d’un officiel israélien, «au Hamas, le moindre petit commandant de brigade n’a désormais plus de maison où rentrer chez lui».

En termes légaux, Israël justifie ces attaques en affirmant que ces maisons étaient des «centres de commandement terroristes», impliqués dans des tirs de roquette et autres «activités terroristes». Mais si Israël a parfois tenté (et réussi) de tuer des leaders du Hamas dans leurs voitures, son armée a toujours évité de se prendre sans sommation à leurs maisons.

La dernière fois qu’Israël a tiré sur des bâtiments civils à Gaza, voici un an et demi, ses habitants ont été au préalable prévenus par téléphone ou par le parachutage de tracts pour qu’ils quittent les lieux. L’armée israélienne se sert aussi de fusées éclairantes ou de mortiers à faibles charges explosives (la consigne dite du «toquer au toit») pour signaler la survenue de bombardements.

Selon les groupes de défense des droits de l’homme, ces mesures ne déchargent pas Israël de ses responsabilités légales, mais ils les ont néanmoins saluées comme un progrès. Aujourd’hui, Israël affirme appliquer ce même genre de mesures. Et le Hamas, comme d’autres sources palestiniennes, ont confirmé que l’armée israélienne avait en effet prévenu par téléphone les familles vivant dans les maisons bombardées.

Le problème des boucliers humains

Le bilan civil le plus grave –sept morts, selon les informations les plus récentes– est survenu dans le bombardement d’une maison située dans la ville de Khan Younès et appartenant à un leader terroriste. Pour le Hamas, il s’agit d’un «massacre contre des femmes et des enfants». Mais selon des voisins, la famille a été prévenue à la fois par téléphone et par un tir de mortier léger sur le toit.

Selon un membre des services de sécurité israéliens, les forces israéliennes ont attendu que la famille quitte le bâtiment pour tirer leur missile. Il ne comprend pas pourquoi des membres de cette famille, avec visiblement certains de leurs voisins, sont retournés à l’intérieur. Pour des personnes vivant sur place, c’est parce qu’ils ont voulu «former un bouclier humain».

Les boucliers humains sont un problème des plus ardus. Le Premier ministre israélien, Benjamin Netanyahou, a déclaré que le Hamas était responsable des civils tués à Gaza, parce qu’il installait délibérément ses lance-roquettes et autres infrastructures militaires dans des zones résidentielles. C’est une excuse trop générique.

Cette semaine, le bilan humain limité des raids aériens –et les explications fournies par des officiels israéliens sur la minimisation délibérée d’un tel bilan– montre qu’il est possible de détériorer les ressources militaires du Hamas sans tuer des centaines de personnes.

A Khan Younès, le scénario est différent. Le bouclier humain y était volontaire. Mercredi matin, selon le quotidien Haaretz, un officier israélien a insisté sur le fait que si d’autres civils suivaient cet exemple –en répondant aux sommations en montant sur les toits et en formant des boucliers humains– Israël ne retiendrait pas ses missiles.

C’est peut-être du bluff.

Et si le scénario se répète? Si de putatifs martyrs montent sur le toit et qu’Israël a encore le temps de rappeler ses bombes, contrairement à ce qui s’est passé à Khan Younès? Leurs morts relèveront-elles de l’homicide? Du suicide?

Difficile, très difficile à dire. Mais, dans ce conflit, quiconque se préoccupe des civils tués délibérément devrait d’abord se tourner vers le Hamas. Les tirs de roquettes de Gaza vers Israël ont commencé bien avant l’offensive israélienne sur Gaza. Au départ, les roquettes sont une idée du Djihad Islamique. Mais, ces derniers jours, le Hamas ne s’est pas fait prier pour la reprendre, et a revendiqué plusieurs tirs de missiles, tombés entre autres sur Tel Aviv, Jérusalem et Haïfa.

Voir enfin:

Tandis que les tirs de roquettes du Hamas et les frappes israéliennes sur Gaza s’intensifient, le hashtag #GazaUnderAttack se répand comme une traînée de poudre sur les réseaux sociaux. Venant du monde entier, la plupart de ces tweets reprennent les mêmes photos choc, représentant des bombardements et des enfants morts ou ensanglantés.

Pourtant, l’un des premiers tweets avec ce hashtag date du 3 juillet, soit quatre jours avant le début des frappes aériennes sur Gaza dans le cadre de l’opération israélienne «Bordure protectrice».

A l’origine de ce message, Tyler Durden alias WasimAhmed89, qui se présente sur son profil comme un fan du Liverpool FC habitant dans la banlieue sud de Londres. Le jeune homme a jugé opportun de prendre position sur la situation dans la bande de Gaza entre deux tweets sur la Coupe du monde, et d’illustrer son message par un montage de photos prises en Syrie, en Irak, à Gaza en 2012, comme l’explique la BBC qui les a identifiées. Le tout a été retweeté dans la foulée, sans plus de précautions, par près de 8000 utilisateurs.

La tendance était lancée. Quatre cent mille tweets ont déjà été publiés en une semaine avec ce hashtag, la plupart illustrés des mêmes six images. Quand on remonte le fil, on s’aperçoit que très peu de leurs auteurs peuvent être assimilés à des fidèles du Hamas ou à des antisionistes. Ils ont des âges et des profils variés, sont originaires de toutes les parties du globe et ils se sentent poussés par une volonté d’alerte citoyenne. Certains d’entre eux se targuant de montrer au monde ce que les médias refusent de montrer.

«C’est Gaza en ce moment»

C’est le cas d’une jeune fille de 16 ans qui a tweeté une photo de Gaza en flammes datant de novembre 2012 avec pour légende : «C’est Gaza en ce moment. Comme d’habitude, ce ne sera pas montré dans les journaux.» Interrogée par la BBC, elle raconte qu’elle ne savait pas que cette photo était ancienne mais que, de toute façon, «lorsqu’une bombe explose c’est toujours plus ou moins à cela que ça ressemble».

Ce n’est pas la première fois que ce genre de désinformation frappe Internet. Le conflit syrien, les troubles en Irak ou encore la mort de Ben Laden ont déjà donné lieu à la circulation massive de photographies détournées sur le Net.


Immigration: Qui sont les racistes ? (Who are the bigots ? While the Obama Administration simply chooses not to enforce existing laws and Silicon Valley and Wall Street pity the poor immigrants)

13 juillet, 2014
http://www.truthrevolt.org/sites/default/files/images/Ramirez%202(1).jpg
http://www.truthrevolt.org/sites/default/files/images/mckee.jpg
Ce ne sont pas les différences qui provoquent les conflits mais leur effacement. René Girard
En présence de la diversité, nous nous replions sur nous-mêmes. Nous agissons comme des tortues. L’effet de la diversité est pire que ce qui avait été imaginé. Et ce n’est pas seulement que nous ne faisons plus confiance à ceux qui ne sont pas comme nous. Dans les communautés diverses, nous ne faisons plus confiance à ceux qui nous ressemblent. Robert Putnam
Les Israéliens ne savent pas que le peuple palestinien a progressé dans ses recherches sur la mort. Il a développé une industrie de la mort qu’affectionnent toutes nos femmes, tous nos enfants, tous nos vieillards et tous nos combattants. Ainsi, nous avons formé un bouclier humain grâce aux femmes et aux enfants pour dire à l’ennemi sioniste que nous tenons à la mort autant qu’il tient à la vie. Fathi Hammad (responsable du Hamas, mars 2008)
Cela prouve le caractère de notre noble peuple, combattant du djihad, qui défend ses droits et ses demeures le torse nu, avec son sang. La politique d’un peuple qui affronte les avions israéliens la poitrine nue, pour protéger ses habitations, s’est révélée efficace contre l’occupation. Cette politique reflète la nature de notre peuple brave et courageux. Nous, au Hamas, appelons notre peuple à adopter cette politique, pour protéger les maisons palestiniennes. Sami Abu Zuhri (porte-parole du Hamas)
Depuis le début de l’opération, au moins 35 bâtiments résidentiels auraient été visés et détruits, entraînant dans la majorité des pertes civiles enregistrées jusqu’à présent, y compris une attaque le 8 Juillet à Khan Younis qui a tué sept civils, dont trois enfants, et blessé 25 autres. Dans la plupart des cas, avant les attaques, les habitants ont été avertis de quitter, que ce soit via des appels téléphoniques de l’armée d’Israël ou par des tirs de missiles d’avertissement. Rapport ONU (09.07.14)
Mais pourquoi n’appelle-t-on pas ce mur, qui sépare les Gazaouites de leurs frères égyptiens "mur de la honte" ou "de l’apartheid"? Liliane Messika (Primo-Europe)
Dieu, source de tensions, précisément au-dessus de ce mur, surplombé par la coupole du Dome, un lieu saint islamique contrôlé par la police israélienne. Cette Esplanade des mosquées interdite de fait à des milliers de musulmans exclus de la ville par cet autre mur érigé par Israël à l’est des remparts.  (…) Le dernier-né des murs de Jérusalem travesti en toile géante par des artistes de rue, rêvant de faire tomber cette muraille un jour prochain peut-être … Patrick Fandio
The idea that Palestinians use their children as human shields is racist and reprehensible. And the idea that the Israelis are somehow spewing this and we’re to believe it is also racist. … I somehow do not believe, though, that people are going to listen to somebody who says stay inside while your house is being bombed. People don’t want to die, Jake. And the fact that the Israelis continue to drop bombs on them doesn’t make them want to die any more. It’s simply a fact that what the Israelis are doing is they’re dropping bombs of a magnitude that we have never seen before on a captive civilian child population. Diana Buttu (human rights attorney and a former legal adviser to the PLO)
Washington va bientôt cesser d’expulser de jeunes immigrés sans papiers Cette annonce prochaine de Barack Obama pourrait renforcer sa popularité auprès de l’électorat Hispanique à cinq mois de la présidentielle.Les Etats-Unis vont cesser d’expulser de jeunes immigrés sans papiers sur la base de critères précis. Une décision favorable aux Hispaniques à l’approche de l’élection présidentielle de novembre. Cette annonce s’appliquera aux mineurs qui sont arrivés dans le pays avant l’âge de 16 ans, sont actuellement âgés de moins de trente ans, scolarisés ou ayant obtenu leur baccalauréat et n’ayant aucun antécédent judiciaire, ont expliqué vendredi 15 juin des responsables américains, avant une annonce en ce sens du président Barack Obama. Cette mesure, qui devrait susciter l’opposition vigoureuse des Républicains, peut permettre au président-candidat de renforcer sa popularité auprès des jeunes et des Hispaniques, dont le soutien peut s’avérer crucial dans certains Etats-clés. Le Nouvel Observateur (15.06.12)
Most Americans believe that our country has a clear and present interest in enacting immigration legislation that is both humane to immigrants living here and a contribution to the well-being of our citizens. Reaching these goals is possible. Our present policy, however, fails badly on both counts. We believe it borders on insanity to train intelligent and motivated people in our universities — often subsidizing their education — and then to deport them when they graduate. Many of these people, of course, want to return to their home country — and that’s fine. But for those who wish to stay and work in computer science or technology, fields badly in need of their services, let’s roll out the welcome mat. A “talented graduate” reform was included in a bill that the Senate approved last year by a 68-to-32 vote. It would remove the worldwide cap on the number of visas that could be awarded to legal immigrants who had earned a graduate degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics from an accredited institution of higher education in the United States, provided they had an offer of employment. The bill also included a sensible plan that would have allowed illegal residents to obtain citizenship, though only after they had earned the right to do so. Americans are a forgiving and generous people, and who among us is not happy that their forebears — whatever their motivation or means of entry — made it to our soil? For the future, the United States should take all steps to ensure that every prospective immigrant follows all rules and that people breaking these rules, including any facilitators, are severely punished. No one wants a replay of the present mess. We also believe that America’s self-interest should be reflected in our immigration policy. For example, the EB-5 “immigrant investor program,” created by Congress in 1990, was intended to allow a limited number of foreigners with financial resources or unique abilities to move to our country, bringing with them substantial and enduring purchasing power. Reports of fraud have surfaced with this program, and we believe it should be reformed to prevent abuse but also expanded to become more effective. People willing to invest in America and create jobs deserve the opportunity to do so. Their citizenship could be provisional — dependent, for example, on their making investments of a certain size in new businesses or homes. Expanded investments of that kind would help us jolt the demand side of our economy. These immigrants would impose minimal social costs on the United States, compared with the resources they would contribute. New citizens like these would make hefty deposits in our economy, not withdrawals. Whatever the precise provisions of a law, it’s time for the House to draft and pass a bill that reflects both our country’s humanity and its self-interest. Sheldon Adelson, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates
Illegal and illiberal immigration exists and will continue to expand because too many special interests are invested in it. It is one of those rare anomalies — the farm bill is another — that crosses political party lines and instead unites disparate elites through their diverse but shared self-interests: live-and-let-live profits for some and raw political power for others. For corporate employers, millions of poor foreign nationals ensure cheap labor, with the state picking up the eventual social costs. For Democratic politicos, illegal immigration translates into continued expansion of favorable political demography in the American Southwest. For ethnic activists, huge annual influxes of unassimilated minorities subvert the odious melting pot and mean continuance of their own self-appointed guardianship of salad-bowl multiculturalism. Meanwhile, the upper middle classes in coastal cocoons enjoy the aristocratic privileges of having plenty of cheap household help, while having enough wealth not to worry about the social costs of illegal immigration in terms of higher taxes or the problems in public education, law enforcement, and entitlements. No wonder our elites wink and nod at the supposed realities in the current immigration bill, while selling fantasies to the majority of skeptical Americans. Victor Davis Hanson
Who are the bigots — the rude and unruly protestors who scream and swarm drop-off points and angrily block immigration authority buses to prevent the release of children into their communities, or the shrill counter-protestors who chant back “Viva La Raza” (“Long Live the Race”)? For that matter, how does the racialist term “La Raza” survive as an acceptable title of a national lobby group in this politically correct age of anger at the Washington Redskins football brand? How can American immigration authorities simply send immigrant kids all over the United States and drop them into communities without firm guarantees of waiting sponsors or family? If private charities did that, would the operators be jailed? Would American parents be arrested for putting their unescorted kids on buses headed out of state? Liberal elites talk down to the cash-strapped middle class about their illiberal anger over the current immigration crisis. But most sermonizers are hypocritical. Take Nancy Pelosi, former speaker of the House. She lectures about the need for near-instant amnesty for thousands streaming across the border. But Pelosi is a multimillionaire, and thus rich enough not to worry about the increased costs and higher taxes needed to offer instant social services to the new arrivals. Progressives and ethnic activists see in open borders extralegal ways to gain future constituents dependent on an ever-growing government, with instilled grudges against any who might not welcome their flouting of U.S. laws. How moral is that? Likewise, the CEOs of Silicon Valley and Wall Street who want cheap labor from south of the border assume that their own offspring’s private academies will not be affected by thousands of undocumented immigrants, that their own neighborhoods will remain non-integrated, and that their own medical services and specialists’ waiting rooms will not be made available to the poor arrivals. … What a strange, selfish, and callous alliance of rich corporate grandees, cynical left-wing politicians, and ethnic chauvinists who have conspired to erode U.S. law for their own narrow interests, all the while smearing those who object as xenophobes, racists, and nativists. Victor Davis Hanson

Attention: un  raciste peut en cacher un autre !

Manifestants qui empêchent l’application de la loi contre les clandestins, gouvernements qui n’appliquent pas ladite loi, parents qui abandonnent leurs enfants aux griffes des passeurs dès leur plus jeune âge, responsables politiques milliardaires prônant l’amnistie, politiciens et militants associatifs lorgnant sur de futurs électeurs, capitalistes de Silicon Valley et de Wall Street à la recherche de main d’oeuvre bon marché …

A l’heure où, après le Pape et nos médias et pendant que pleuvent les roquettes sur ses villes et que le Hamas vante l’efficacité de sa chair à canon, il est de bon ton de condamner comme raciste toute mesure de l’Etat d’Israël pour se défendre de ceux qui appellent à son annihilation …

Et où, poussés par de véritables mafias de trafiquants humains toujours plus innovants et encouragés par les paroles lénifiantes de dirigeants toujours plus irresponsables (dont notamment une annonce d’amnistie partielle pour les jeunes immigrés irréguliers par le président Obama à cinq mois comme par hasard de sa réélection) …

C’est à présent par centaines à la fois que les nouveaux damnés de la terre s’échouent sur nos côtes ou s’attaquent à nos murs de la honte (pardon: "barrières de sécurité") …

Petite remise des pendules à l’heure avec l’historien militaire américain Victor Davis Hanson …

Qui, rappelant les intérêts politiques ou économiques bien compris de ceux qui n’ont jamais de mots assez durs pour stigmatiser l’intolérance des masses, montre que les racistes ne sont pas toujours ceux que l’on croit …

The Moral Crisis on Our Southern Border
A perfect storm of special interests have hijacked U.S. immigration law
Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online
July 10, 2014

No one knows just how many tens of thousands of Central American nationals — most of them desperate, unescorted children and teens — are streaming across America’s southern border. Yet this phenomenon offers us a proverbial teachable moment about the paradoxes and hypocrisies of Latin American immigration to the U.S.

For all the pop romance in Latin America associated with Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba, few Latinos prefer to immigrate to such communist utopias or to socialist spin-offs like Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, or Peru.

Instead, hundreds of thousands of poor people continue to risk danger to enter democratic, free-market America, which they have often been taught back home is the source of their misery. They either believe that America’s supposedly inadequate social safety net is far better than the one back home, or that its purportedly cruel free market gives them more opportunities than anywhere in Latin America — or both.

Mexico strictly enforces some of the harshest immigration laws in the world that either summarily deport or jail most who dare to cross Mexican borders illegally, much less attempt to work inside Mexico or become politically active. If America were to emulate Mexico’s immigration policies, millions of Mexican nationals living in the U.S. immediately would be sent home.

How, then, are tens of thousands of Central American children crossing with impunity hundreds of miles of Mexican territory, often sitting atop Mexican trains? Does Mexico believe that the massive influxes will serve to render U.S. immigration law meaningless, and thereby completely shred an already porous border? Is Mexico simply ensuring that the surge of poorer Central Americans doesn’t dare stop in Mexico on its way north?

The media talks of a moral crisis on the border. It is certainly that, but not entirely in the way we are told. What sort of callous parents simply send their children as pawns northward without escort, in selfish hopes of soon winning for themselves either remittances or eventual passage to the U.S? What sort of government allows its vulnerable youth to pack up and leave, without taking any responsibility for such mass flight?

Here in the U.S., how can our government simply choose not to enforce existing laws? In reaction, could U.S. citizens emulate Washington’s ethics and decide not to pay their taxes, or to disregard traffic laws, or to build homes without permits? Who in the pen-and-phone era of Obama gets to decide which law to follow and which to ignore?

Who are the bigots — the rude and unruly protestors who scream and swarm drop-off points and angrily block immigration authority buses to prevent the release of children into their communities, or the shrill counter-protestors who chant back “Viva La Raza” (“Long Live the Race”)? For that matter, how does the racialist term “La Raza” survive as an acceptable title of a national lobby group in this politically correct age of anger at the Washington Redskins football brand?

How can American immigration authorities simply send immigrant kids all over the United States and drop them into communities without firm guarantees of waiting sponsors or family? If private charities did that, would the operators be jailed? Would American parents be arrested for putting their unescorted kids on buses headed out of state?

Liberal elites talk down to the cash-strapped middle class about their illiberal anger over the current immigration crisis. But most sermonizers are hypocritical. Take Nancy Pelosi, former speaker of the House. She lectures about the need for near-instant amnesty for thousands streaming across the border. But Pelosi is a multimillionaire, and thus rich enough not to worry about the increased costs and higher taxes needed to offer instant social services to the new arrivals.

Progressives and ethnic activists see in open borders extralegal ways to gain future constituents dependent on an ever-growing government, with instilled grudges against any who might not welcome their flouting of U.S. laws. How moral is that?

Likewise, the CEOs of Silicon Valley and Wall Street who want cheap labor from south of the border assume that their own offspring’s private academies will not be affected by thousands of undocumented immigrants, that their own neighborhoods will remain non-integrated, and that their own medical services and specialists’ waiting rooms will not be made available to the poor arrivals.

Have immigration-reform advocates such as Mark Zuckerberg or Michael Bloomberg offered one of their mansions as a temporary shelter for needy Central American immigrants? Couldn’t Yale or Stanford welcome homeless immigrants into their now under-occupied summertime dorms? Why aren’t elite academies such as Sidwell Friends or the Menlo School offering their gymnasia as places of refuge for tens of thousands of school-age Central Americans?

What a strange, selfish, and callous alliance of rich corporate grandees, cynical left-wing politicians, and ethnic chauvinists who have conspired to erode U.S. law for their own narrow interests, all the while smearing those who object as xenophobes, racists, and nativists.

Voir aussi:

Break the Immigration Impasse
Sheldon Adelson, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates on Immigration Reform

By SHELDON G. ADELSON, WARREN E. BUFFETT and BILL GATES

The NYT

JULY 10, 2014

AMERICAN citizens are paying 535 people to take care of the legislative needs of the country. We are getting shortchanged. Here’s an example: On June 10, an incumbent congressman in Virginia lost a primary election in which his opponent garnered only 36,105 votes. Immediately, many Washington legislators threw up their hands and declared that this one event would produce paralysis in the United States Congress for at least five months. In particular, they are telling us that immigration reform — long overdue — is now hopeless.

Americans deserve better than this.

The three of us vary in our politics and would differ also in our preferences about the details of an immigration reform bill. But we could without doubt come together to draft a bill acceptable to each of us. We hope that fact holds a lesson: You don’t have to agree on everything in order to cooperate on matters about which you are reasonably close to agreement. It’s time that this brand of thinking finds its way to Washington.

Most Americans believe that our country has a clear and present interest in enacting immigration legislation that is both humane to immigrants living here and a contribution to the well-being of our citizens. Reaching these goals is possible. Our present policy, however, fails badly on both counts.

We believe it borders on insanity to train intelligent and motivated people in our universities — often subsidizing their education — and then to deport them when they graduate. Many of these people, of course, want to return to their home country — and that’s fine. But for those who wish to stay and work in computer science or technology, fields badly in need of their services, let’s roll out the welcome mat.

A “talented graduate” reform was included in a bill that the Senate approved last year by a 68-to-32 vote. It would remove the worldwide cap on the number of visas that could be awarded to legal immigrants who had earned a graduate degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics from an accredited institution of higher education in the United States, provided they had an offer of employment. The bill also included a sensible plan that would have allowed illegal residents to obtain citizenship, though only after they had earned the right to do so.

Americans are a forgiving and generous people, and who among us is not happy that their forebears — whatever their motivation or means of entry — made it to our soil?

For the future, the United States should take all steps to ensure that every prospective immigrant follows all rules and that people breaking these rules, including any facilitators, are severely punished. No one wants a replay of the present mess.

We also believe that America’s self-interest should be reflected in our immigration policy. For example, the EB-5 “immigrant investor program,” created by Congress in 1990, was intended to allow a limited number of foreigners with financial resources or unique abilities to move to our country, bringing with them substantial and enduring purchasing power. Reports of fraud have surfaced with this program, and we believe it should be reformed to prevent abuse but also expanded to become more effective. People willing to invest in America and create jobs deserve the opportunity to do so.

Their citizenship could be provisional — dependent, for example, on their making investments of a certain size in new businesses or homes. Expanded investments of that kind would help us jolt the demand side of our economy. These immigrants would impose minimal social costs on the United States, compared with the resources they would contribute. New citizens like these would make hefty deposits in our economy, not withdrawals.

Whatever the precise provisions of a law, it’s time for the House to draft and pass a bill that reflects both our country’s humanity and its self-interest. Differences with the Senate should be hammered out by members of a conference committee, committed to a deal.

A Congress that does nothing about these problems is extending an irrational policy by default; that is, if lawmakers don’t act to change it, it stays the way it is, irrational. The current stalemate — in which greater pride is attached to thwarting the opposition than to advancing the nation’s interests — is depressing to most Americans and virtually all of its business managers. The impasse certainly depresses the three of us.

Signs of a more productive attitude in Washington — which passage of a well-designed immigration bill would provide — might well lift spirits and thereby stimulate the economy. It’s time for 535 of America’s citizens to remember what they owe to the 318 million who employ them.

How did such immoral special interests hijack U.S. immigration law and arbitrarily decide for 300 million Americans who earns entry into America, under what conditions, and from where?

Voir également:

Washington va bientôt cesser d’expulser de jeunes immigrés sans papiers
Cette annonce prochaine de Barack Obama pourrait renforcer sa popularité auprès de l’électorat Hispanique à cinq mois de la présidentielle.
Le Nouvel Observateur avec AFP
15-06-2012

Les Etats-Unis vont cesser d’expulser de jeunes immigrés sans papiers sur la base de critères précis. Une décision favorable aux Hispaniques à l’approche de l’élection présidentielle de novembre.

Cette annonce s’appliquera aux mineurs qui sont arrivés dans le pays avant l’âge de 16 ans, sont actuellement âgés de moins de trente ans, scolarisés ou ayant obtenu leur baccalauréat et n’ayant aucun antécédent judiciaire, ont expliqué vendredi 15 juin des responsables américains, avant une annonce en ce sens du président Barack Obama.

Cette mesure, qui devrait susciter l’opposition vigoureuse des Républicains, peut permettre au président-candidat de renforcer sa popularité auprès des jeunes et des Hispaniques, dont le soutien peut s’avérer crucial dans certains Etats-clés.
"Nos lois en matière d’immigration doivent être appliquées de façon ferme et judicieuse", a déclaré la secrétaire à la Sécurité intérieure, Janet Napolitano, chargée des questions d’immigration

"Mais elles ne sont pas conçues pour être appliquées aveuglément, sans tenir compte des circonstances individuelles de chaque cas", a-t-elle poursuivi. "Elles ne sont pas non plus conçues pour perdre des jeunes gens productifs et les renvoyer vers des pays où ils n’ont peut-être pas vécu ou dont ils ne parlent pas la langue".

Cette décision consacre les objectifs d’un projet de loi — baptisé DREAM Act — soutenu par la Maison Blanche et qui permettrait, s’il était voté, aux jeunes immigrés arrivés avec leurs parents de devenir des résidents permanents du pays.

Ce projet de loi, auquel le candidat républicain Mitt Romney et les conservateurs s’opposent, n’a pas obtenu l’aval du Congrès.

Voir encore:

Migration
The mobile masses
The costs and benefits of mass immigration
The Economist
Sep 28th 2013

Exodus: How Migration is Changing Our World. By Paul Collier. Oxford University Press USA; 309 pages; $27.95. Allen Lane; £20. Buy from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk

PAUL COLLIER is one of the world’s most thoughtful economists. His books consistently illuminate and provoke. “Exodus” is no exception. Most polemics about migration argue either that it is good or bad. They address the wrong question, says Mr Collier. The right one is: how much more migration would be beneficial, and to whom?

He examines this question from three perspectives: the migrants themselves, the countries they leave and the countries to which they move.

Migration makes migrants better off. If it did not, they would go home. Those who move from poor countries to rich ones quickly start earning rich-country wages, which may be ten times more than they could have earned back home. “Their productivity rockets upwards,” says Mr Collier, because they are “escaping from countries with dysfunctional social models”.

This is a crucial insight. Bar a few oil sheikhdoms, rich countries are rich because they are well organised, and poor countries are poor because they are not. A factory worker in Nigeria produces less than he would in New Zealand because the society around him is dysfunctional: the power keeps failing, spare parts do not arrive on time and managers are busy battling bribe-hungry bureaucrats. When a rich country lets in immigrants, it is extending to them the benefits of good governance and the rule of law.

What of the countries that receive immigrants? Mr Collier argues that they have benefited from past immigration, but will probably suffer if it continues unchecked.

So far, immigrants have typically filled niches in the labour market that complement rather than displace the native-born. For most citizens of rich countries, immigration has meant slightly higher wages, as fresh brains with new ideas make local firms more productive. It may have dragged down wages for the least-skilled, but only by a tiny amount.

However, says Mr Collier, continued mass immigration threatens the cultural cohesion of rich countries. Some diversity adds spice: think of Thai restaurants or Congolese music. But a large unabsorbed diaspora may cling to the cultural norms that made its country of origin dysfunctional, and spread them to the host country. Furthermore, when a society becomes too heterogeneous, its people may be unwilling to pay for a generous welfare state, he says. Support for redistribution dwindles if taxpayers think the beneficiaries will be people unlike themselves.

Finally, Mr Collier looks at the effect of emigration on poor countries. Up to a point, it makes them better off. Emigrants send good ideas and hard currency home. The prospect of emigration prompts locals to study hard and learn useful skills; many then stay behind and enrich the domestic talent pool instead. But if too many educated people leave, poor countries are worse off. Big emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil benefit from emigration, but the smallest and poorest nations do not: Haiti, for example, has lost 85% of its educated people.

Mr Collier’s most arresting argument is that past waves of migration have created the conditions under which migration will henceforth accelerate. Emigration is less daunting if you can move to a neighbourhood where lots of your compatriots have already settled. There, you can speak your native language, eat familiar food and ask your cousins to help you find a job. Because many Western countries allow recent immigrants to sponsor visas for their relatives, Mr Collier frets that large, unassimilated diasporas will keep growing. And as they grow, they will become harder to assimilate.

Mr Collier is plainly not a bigot and his arguments should be taken seriously. Nonetheless, he is far too gloomy. He lives in Britain, which is nearly 90% white and has seen substantial immigration only relatively recently. His worries are mostly about the harm that immigration might do, rather than any it has already done. Indeed, the evidence he marshals suggests that so far it has been hugely beneficial.

It is possible that Britain will prove unable to cope with greater diversity in the future, but one cannot help noticing that the most diverse part of the country—London, which is less than 50% white British—is also by far the richest. It is also rather livelier than the lily-white counties that surround it.

America’s population consists almost entirely of immigrants and their descendants, yet it is rich, dynamic, peaceful and united by abundant national pride. Every past wave of newcomers has assimilated; why should the next one be different? The recent history of Canada, Australia and New Zealand also suggests that large-scale immigration is compatible with prosperity and social cohesion.

Mr Collier is right that there is a tension between mass immigration and the welfare state. A rich country that invited all and sundry to live off the dole would not stay rich for long. Immigrants assimilate better in America than in most European countries in part because welfare is less generous there. In parts of Europe it is possible for able-bodied newcomers to subsist on handouts, which infuriates the native-born. In America, by and large, immigrants have to work, so they do. Through work, they swiftly integrate into society.

Mr Collier approves of the European-style welfare state, so his policy prescriptions are aimed largely at preventing immigration from undermining it. He would peg the number of immigrants to how well previous arrivals have integrated. He would welcome quite a lot of skilled migrants and students (a good idea) but curb family reunions (which sounds harsh). He would allow in asylum-seekers from war zones but send them back when peace returns to their homelands. (This, he explains, would help their homelands rebuild themselves.) As for illegal immigrants, he would offer them the chance to register as guest workers who pay taxes but receive no social benefits.

Insisting that immigrants work is sound policy, but the tone of “Exodus” is problematic. Mr Collier finds endless objections to a policy—more or less unlimited immigration—that no country has adopted. In the process, he exaggerates the possible risks of mobility and underplays its proven benefits.

Voir encore:

Obama administration to stop deporting some young illegal immigrants
Tom Cohen
CNN
June 16, 2012

In an election-year policy change, the Obama administration said Friday it will stop deporting young illegal immigrants who entered the United States as children if they meet certain requirements.

The shift on the politically volatile issue of immigration policy prompted immediate praise from Latino leaders who have criticized Congress and the White House for inaction, while Republicans reacted with outrage, saying the move amounts to amnesty — a negative buzz word among conservatives — and usurps congressional authority.

Those who might benefit from the change expressed joy and relief, with celebratory demonstrations forming outside the White House and elsewhere.

Pedro Ramirez, a student who has campaigned for such a move, said he was "definitely speechless," then added: "It’s great news."

In a Rose Garden address Friday afternoon, President Barack Obama said the changes caused by his executive order will make immigration policy "more fair, more efficient and more just."

"This is not amnesty. This is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It’s not a permanent fix," Obama said to take on conservative criticism of the step. "This is a temporary stopgap measure."

Noting children of illegal immigrants "study in our schools, play in our neighborhoods, befriend our kids, pledge allegiance to our flag," Obama said, "it makes no sense to expel talented young people who are, for all intents and purposes, Americans."

When a reporter interrupted Obama with a hostile question, the president admonished him and declared that the policy change is "the right thing to do."

Under the new policy, people younger than 30 who came to the United States before the age of 16, pose no criminal or security threat, and were successful students or served in the military can get a two-year deferral from deportation, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said.

It also will allow those meeting the requirements to apply for work permits, Napolitano said, adding that participants must be in the United States now and be able to prove they have been living in the country continuously for at least five years.

The change is part of a department effort to target resources at illegal immigrants who pose a greater threat, such as criminals and those trying to enter the country now, Napolitano said, adding it was "well within the framework of existing laws."

The move addresses a major concern of the Hispanic community and mimics some of the provisions of a Democratic proposal called the DREAM Act that has failed to win enough Republican support to gain congressional approval.

Obama has been criticized by Hispanic-American leaders for an overall increase in deportations of illegal aliens in recent years. Last year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed 396,906 illegal immigrants, the largest number in the agency’s history.

Friday’s policy change is expected to potentially affect 800,000 people, an administration official told CNN on background.

Both Obama and Napolitano called for Congress to pass the DREAM Act, which would put into law similar steps for children of illegal immigrants to continue living and working in the country.

"I’ve been dealing with immigration enforcement for 20 years and the plain fact of the matter is that the law that we’re working under doesn’t match the economic needs of the country today and the law enforcement needs of the country today," Napolitano told CNN. "But as someone who is charged with enforcing the immigration system, we’re setting good, strong, sensible priorities, and again these young people really are not the individuals that the immigration removal process was designed to focus upon."

Republicans who have blocked Democratic efforts on immigration reform immediately condemned the move, with some calling it an improper maneuver to skirt congressional opposition.

Rep. Steve King of Iowa, a leading GOP foe of Democratic proposals for immigration reform, threatened to file a lawsuit asking the courts to stop Obama "from implementing his unconstitutional and unlawful policy."

In a Twitter post, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina called the decision "a classic Barack Obama move of choosing politics over leadership," while House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, called the change a "decision to grant amnesty to potentially millions of illegal immigrants."

"Many illegal immigrants will falsely claim they came here as children and the federal government has no way to check whether their claims are true," Smith said in a statement. "And once these illegal immigrants are granted deferred action, they can then apply for a work permit, which the administration routinely grants 90% of the time."

Others complained the move will flood an already poor job market for young Americans with illegal immigrants.

However, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, who sponsored the DREAM Act, welcomed the announcement that he said "will give these young immigrants their chance to come out of the shadows and be part of the only country they’ve ever called home."

He rejected the GOP argument that Obama’s move was all about politics, noting "there will be those who vote against him because of this decision, too. That’s what leadership is about."

Durbin also noted that Obama repeatedly called for Congress to pass immigration reform legislation, including the DREAM Act. Now that it is clear no progress would occur this Congress, the president acted, Durbin said.

Obama has used executive orders more frequently in recent months to launch initiatives he advocates that have been stymied by the deep partisan divide in Congress. A White House campaign of such steps involving economic programs was labeled "We Can’t Wait."

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who has been working on an alternative version of the DREAM Act, criticized Obama for taking a piecemeal approach Friday. He said in a statement that "by once again ignoring the Constitution and going around Congress, this short-term policy will make it harder to find a balanced and responsible long-term one."

Rubio is considered a possible running mate for certain GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who rejected the DREAM Act in the heat of the Republican primary campaign but has since expressed willingness to consider whatever Rubio proposes.

Later Friday, Romney told reporters that the issue needs more substantive action than an executive order, which can be replaced by a subsequent president.

He said he agrees with Rubio’s statement that Obama’s move makes finding a long-term solution more difficult. As president, Romney said, he would seek to provide "certainty and clarity for people who come into this country through no fault of their own by virtue of the actions of their parents."

Hispanics make up the fastest-growing immigrant population in the country, and the Latino vote is considered a crucial bloc for the November presidential election.

A spokeswoman for a major Latino group, the National Council of La Raza, hailed the administration’s move.

"In light of the congressional inaction on immigration reform, this is the right step for the administration to take at this time," said NCLR spokeswoman Laura Vazquez.

Immigration lawyers also called the change a major step in the right direction. However, one immigration expert warned that the new policy does not guarantee the result sought by participants.

"I worry that the announcement will be implemented more stingily than the administration would like," said Stephen Yale-Loehr, who teaches immigration law at Cornell Law School.

Meanwhile, some evangelical Christian leaders who recently met at the White House to discuss immigration issues also endorsed Friday’s move, along with the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops and some Jewish groups.

For Jose Luis Zelaya, who came to the United States illegally from Honduras at age 14 to find his mother, also an illegal immigrant, the new policy means that "maybe I will be able to work without being afraid that someone may deport me."

"There is no fear anymore," he said.

Voir par ailleurs:

A vastly changed Middle East

Caroline B. Glick

The Jerusalem Post

11/21/2013

When America returns, it will likely find a changed regional landscape; nations are disintegrating, only to reintegrate in new groupings.

A week and a half ago, Syria’s Kurds announced they are setting up an autonomous region in northeastern Syria.

The announcement came after the Kurds wrested control over a chain of towns from al-Qaida in the ever metastasizing Syrian civil war.

The Kurds’ announcement enraged their nominal Sunni allies – including the al-Qaida forces they have been combating – in the opposition to the Assad regime. It also rendered irrelevant US efforts to reach a peace deal between the Syrian regime and the rebel forces at a peace conference in Geneva.

But more important than what the Kurds’ action means for the viability of the Obama administration’s Syria policy, it shows just how radically the strategic landscape has changed and continues to change, not just in Syria but throughout the Arab world.

The revolutionary groundswell that has beset the Arab world for the past three years has brought dynamism and uncertainty to a region that has known mainly stasis and status quo for the past 500 years. For 400 years, the Middle East was ruled by the Ottoman Turks. Anticipating the breakup of the Ottoman Empire during World War I, the British and the French quickly carved up the Ottoman possessions, dividing them between themselves. What emerged from their actions were the national borders of the Arab states – and Israel – that have remained largely intact since 1922.

As Yoel Guzansky and Erez Striem from the Institute for National Security Studies wrote in a paper published this week, while the borders of Arab states remain largely unchanged, the old borders no longer reflect the reality on the ground.

“As a result of the regional upheavals, tribal, sectarian, and ethnic identities have become more pronounced than ever, which may well lead to a change in the borders drawn by the colonial powers a century ago that have since been preserved by Arab autocrats.”

Guzansky and Striem explained, “The iron-fisted Arab rulers were an artificial glue of sorts, holding together different, sometimes hostile sects in an attempt to form a single nation state.

Now, the de facto changes in the Middle East map could cause far-reaching geopolitical shifts affecting alliance formations and even the global energy market.”

The writers specifically discussed the breakdown of national governments and the consequent growing irrelevance of national borders in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen.

And while it is true that the dissolution of central government authority is most acute in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, in every Arab state national authorities are under siege, stressed, or engaged in countering direct threats to their rule. Although central authorities retain control in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Bahrain, they all contend with unprecedented challenges. As a consequence, today it is impossible to take for granted that the regime’s interests in any Arab state will necessarily direct the actions of the residents of that state, or that a regime now in power will remain in power tomorrow.

Guzansky and Striem note that the current state of flux presents Israel with both challenges and opportunities. As they put it, “The disintegration of states represents at least a temporary deterioration in Israel’s strategic situation because it is attended by instability liable to trickle over into neighboring states…. But the changes also mean dissolution of the regular armies that posed a threat in the past and present opportunities for Israel to build relations with different minorities with the potential to seize the reins of government in the future.”

Take the Kurds for example. The empowerment of the Kurds in Syria – as in Iraq – presents a strategic opportunity for Israel. Israel has cultivated and maintained an alliance with the Kurds throughout the region for the past 45 years.

Although Kurdish politics are fraught with internal clashes and power struggles, on balance, the empowerment of the Kurds at the expense of the central governments in Damascus and Baghdad is a major gain for Israel.

And the Kurds are not the only group whose altered status since the onset of the revolutionary instability in the Arab world presents Israel with new opportunities. Among the disparate factions in the disintegrating Arab lands from North Africa to the Persian Gulf are dozens of groups that will be thrilled to receive Israeli assistance and, in return, be willing to cooperate with Israel on a whole range of issues.

To be sure, these new allies are not likely to share Israeli values. And many may be no more than the foreign affairs equivalent of a one-night stand. But Israel also is not obliged to commit itself to any party for the long haul. Transactional alliances are valuable because they are based on shared interests, and they last for as long as the actors perceive those interests as shared ones.

Over the past week, we have seen a similar transformation occurring on a regional and indeed global level, as the full significance of the Obama administration’s withdrawal of US power from the region becomes better understood.

When word got out two weeks ago about the US decision to accept and attempt to push through a deal with Iran that would strip the international sanctions regime of meaning in return for cosmetic Iranian concessions that will not significantly impact Iran’s completion of its nuclear weapons program, attempts were made by some Israeli and many American policy-makers to make light of the significance of President Barack Obama’s moves.

But on Sunday night, Channel 10 reported that far from an opportunistic bid to capitalize on a newfound moderation in Tehran, the draft agreement was the result of months-long secret negotiations between Obama’s consigliere Valerie Jarrett and Iranian negotiators.

According to the report, which was denied by the White House, Jarrett, Obama’s Iranian-born consigliere, conducted secret talks with Iranian negotiators for the past several months. The draft agreement that betrayed US allies throughout the Arab world, and shattered Israeli and French confidence in the US’s willingness to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, was presented to negotiators in Geneva as a fait accompli. Israel and Saudi Arabia, like other US regional allies were left in the dark about its contents. As we saw, it was only after the French and the British divulged the details of the deal to Israel and Saudi Arabia that the Israelis, Saudis and French formed an ad hoc alliance to scuttle the deal at the last moment.

The revelation of Jarrett’s long-standing secret talks with the Iranians showed that the Obama administration’s decision to cut a deal with the mullahs was a well-thought-out, long-term policy to use appeasement of the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism as a means to enable the US to withdraw from the Middle East. The fact that the deal in question would also pave the way for Iran to become a nuclear power, and so imperil American national security, was clearly less of a concern for Obama and his team than realizing their goal of withdrawing the US from the Middle East.

Just as ethnic, regional and religious factions wasted no time filling the vacuum created in the Arab world by the disintegration of central governments, so the states of the region and the larger global community wasted no time finding new allies to replace the United States.

Voicing this new understanding, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said Wednesday that it is time for Israel to seek out new allies.

In his words, “The ties with the US are deteriorating.

They have problems in North Korea, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Egypt, China, and their own financial and immigration troubles. Thus I ask – what is our place in the international arena? Israel must seek more allies with common interests.”

In seeking to block Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Israel has no lack of allies. America’s withdrawal has caused a regional realignment in which Israel and France are replacing the US as the protectors of the Sunni Arab states of the Persian Gulf.

France has ample reason to act. Iran has attacked French targets repeatedly over the past 34 years. France built Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor while Saddam was at war with Iran.

France has 10 million Muslim citizens who attend mosques financed by Saudi Arabia.

Moreover, France has strong commercial interests in the Persian Gulf. There is no doubt that France will be directly harmed if Iran becomes a nuclear power.

Although Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s meeting Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin did not bring about a realignment of Russian interests with the Franco- Sunni-Israeli anti-Iran consortium, the very fact that Netanyahu went to Moscow sent a clear message to the world community that in its dealings with outside powers, Israel no longer feels itself constrained by its alliance with the US.

And that was really the main purpose of the visit. Netanyahu didn’t care that Putin rejected his position on Iran. Israel didn’t need Russia to block Jarrett’s deal. Iran is no longer interested in even feigning interest in a nuclear deal. It was able to neutralize US power in the region, and cast the US’s regional allies into strategic disarray just by convincing Obama and Jarrett that a deal was in the offing. This is why Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei again threatened to annihilate Israel this week. He doesn’t think he needs to sugar coat his intentions any longer.

It is not that the US has become a nonentity in the region overnight, and despite Obama’s ill-will toward Israel, under his leadership the US has not become a wholly negative actor. The successful Israeli-US test of the David’s Sling short-range ballistic missile interceptor on Wednesday was a clear indication of the prevailing importance of Israel’s ties with the US. So, too, the delivery this week of the first of four US fast missile boats to the Egyptian navy, which will improve Egypt’s ability to secure maritime traffic in the Suez Canal, showed that the US remains a key player in the region. Congress’s unwillingness to bow to Obama’s will and weaken sanctions on Iran similarly is a positive portent for a post-Obama American return to the region.

But when America returns, it will likely find a vastly changed regional landscape. Nations are disintegrating, only to reintegrate in new groupings.

Monolithic regimes are giving way to domestic fissures and generational changes. As for America’s allies, some will welcome its return.

Others will scowl and turn away. All will have managed to survive, and even thrive in the absence of a guiding hand from Washington, and all will consequently need America less.

This changed landscape will in turn require the US to do some long, hard thinking about where its interests lie, and to develop new strategies for advancing them.

So perhaps in the fullness of time, we may all end up better off for this break in US strategic rationality.


Gaza: Avant, j’étais beaucoup plus critique à l’égard d’Israël (Pat Condell discovers the great Palestinian lie)

9 juillet, 2014

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Notre journaliste à Gaza confirme que les habitants sont utilisés comme boucliers humains. Richard C. Schneider
Le roi de Moab, voyant qu’il avait le dessous dans le combat, prit avec lui sept cents hommes tirant l’épée pour se frayer un passage jusqu’au roi d’Édom; mais ils ne purent pas. Il prit alors son fils premier-né, qui devait régner à sa place, et il l’offrit en holocauste sur la muraille. Et une grande indignation s’empara d’Israël, qui s’éloigna du roi de Moab et retourna dans son pays. 2 Rois 3: 26-27
J’ai une prémonition qui ne me quittera pas: ce qui adviendra d’Israël sera notre sort à tous. Si Israël devait périr, l’holocauste fondrait sur nous. Eric Hoffer
Nous avons constaté que le sport était la religion moderne du monde occidental. Nous savions que les publics anglais et américain assis devant leur poste de télévision ne regarderaient pas un programme exposant le sort des Palestiniens s’il y avait une manifestation sportive sur une autre chaîne. Nous avons donc décidé de nous servir des Jeux olympiques, cérémonie la plus sacrée de cette religion, pour obliger le monde à faire attention à nous. Nous avons offert des sacrifices humains à vos dieux du sport et de la télévision et ils ont répondu à nos prières. Terroriste palestinien (Jeux olympiques de Munich, 1972)
Les Israéliens ne savent pas que le peuple palestinien a progressé dans ses recherches sur la mort. Il a développé une industrie de la mort qu’affectionnent toutes nos femmes, tous nos enfants, tous nos vieillards et tous nos combattants. Ainsi, nous avons formé un bouclier humain grâce aux femmes et aux enfants pour dire à l’ennemi sioniste que nous tenons à la mort autant qu’il tient à la vie. Fathi Hammad (responsable du Hamas, mars 2008)
Cela prouve le caractère de notre noble peuple, combattant du djihad, qui défend ses droits et ses demeures le torse nu, avec son sang. La politique d’un peuple qui affronte les avions israéliens la poitrine nue, pour protéger ses habitations, s’est révélée efficace contre l’occupation. Cette politique reflète la nature de notre peuple brave et courageux. Nous, au Hamas, appelons notre peuple à adopter cette politique, pour protéger les maisons palestiniennes. Sami Abu Zuhri (porte-parole du Hamas)
L’occupation actuelle de la Cisjordanie par Israël est mal et conduit à une instabilité régionale et à une déshumanisation des Palestiniens (…) Israël fait face à une réalité indéniable : il ne peut pas maintenir un contrôle militaire sur un autre peuple indéfiniment. Faire ainsi est non seulement mal, mais c’est aussi une recette pour créer du ressentiment et une instabilité récurrente, a déclaré Gordon. Cela renforce les extrémistes de deux côtés, cela déchire la tissu démocratique israélien et nourrit une deshumanisation mutuelle. (…) Les Etats-Unis soutiendront toujours Israël. Nous combattons pour Israël tous les jours aux Nations Unies (…) Pourtant, en tant que meilleur ami et plus puissant soutien d’Israël, Washington doit pouvoir poser certaines questions fondamentales(…) Comment Israël restera-t-il démocratique et juif s’il essaie de gouverner les millions d’arabes palestiniens qui vivent en Cisjordanie ? Comment aura-t-il la paix s’il ne veut pas délimiter une frontière, mettre un terme à l’occupation et permettre une souveraineté, une sécurité et une dignité palestinienne ? Comment empêcherons nous d’autres états de soutenir les efforts palestiniens dans la communauté internationale, si Israël n’est pas perçu comme impliqué pour la paix ? (…) nous nous trouvons dans une situation délicate (…)  D’un côté, nous n’avons aucun intérêt à un jeu de critique. La difficile réalité est qu’aucune des parties n’a préparé leurs populations ou s’est montrée prête à prendre les décisions difficiles pour un accord. La confiance s’est effritée des deux côtés. Jusqu’à ce qu’elle soit restaurée, aucune des deux parties ne sera probablement prête à prendre des risques pour la paix, même s’ils vivent avec les terribles conséquences qui résultent de cette absence (…) Les « dernières semaines » montrent que l’incapacité de résoudre le conflit israélo-palestinien « implique inévitablement plus de tensions, plus de ressentiment, plus d’injustice, plus d’insécurité, plus de tragédie et plus de peine (…) La vue de familles en deuil, aussi bien israélienne que palestinienne, nous rappelle que le coût du conflit demeure insupportablement haut. (…)  Israël ne devrait pas prendre pour acquis la possibilité de négocier une telle paix avec Abbas qui a montré a plusieurs reprises qu’il était impliqué pour la non violence, la coexistence et la coopération avec Israël. (…)  Les Etats-Unis condamnent fermement ces attaques. (…) Aucun pays ne devrait vivre sous la menace constante d’une violence hasardeuse contre des civils innocents », a rappelé Gordon, dont l’administration avait été fortement critiquée par le gouvernement israélien pour avoir accepté de travailler rapidement avec le nouveau gouvernement d’unité soutenu par le Hamas qui avait été établi le mois dernier. L’administration soutient le droit d’Israël à se défendre contre ces attaques (…)  En même temps, nous apprécions l’appel du Premier ministre Netanyahu à agir responsablement, et nous appelons à notre tour les deux parties à faire tout ce qu’elles peuvent pour ramener le calme et protéger les civils. Philip Gordon (assistant spécial du président américain Barack Obama et coordinateur de la Maison Blanche pour le Moyen-Orient)
Le peuple palestinien n’existe pas. La création d’un État palestinien n’est qu’un moyen pour continuer la lutte contre l’Etat d’Israël afin de créer l’unité arabe. En réalité, aujourd’hui, il n’y a aucune différence entre les Jordaniens, les Palestiniens, les Syriens et les Libanais. C’est uniquement pour des raisons politiques et tactiques, que nous parlons aujourd’hui de l’existence d’un peuple palestinien, étant donné que les intérêts arabes demandent que nous établissions l’existence d’un peuple palestinien distinct, afin d’opposer le sionisme. Pour des raisons tactiques, la Jordanie qui est un Etat souverain avec des frontières bien définies, ne peut pas présenter de demande sur Haifa et Jaffa, tandis qu’en tant que palestinien, je peux sans aucun doute réclamer Haifa, Jaffa, Beersheba et Jérusalem. Toutefois, le moment où nous réclamerons notre droit sur l’ensemble de la Palestine, nous n’attendrons pas même une minute pour unir la Palestine à la Jordanie.  Zahir Muhsein (membre du comité exécutif de l’OLP, proche de la Syrie, "Trouw", 31.03. 77)
La libération de la Palestine a pour but de “purifier” le pays de toute présence sioniste. (…) Le partage de la Palestine en 1947 et la création de l’État d’Israël sont des événements nuls et non avenus. (…) La Charte ne peut être amendée que par une majorité des deux tiers de tous les membres du Conseil national de l’Organisation de libération de la Palestine réunis en session extraordinaire convoquée à cet effet. Charte de l’OLP (articles 15, 19 et 33, 1964)
Je mentirais si je vous disais que je vais l’abroger. Personne ne peut le faire. Yasser Arafat (Harvard, octobre 1995)
Des tonnes d’explosifs, de roquettes, de lance-grenades, de grenades, de fusils d’assaut et des missiles anti-chars (…) ont été stockés dans des maisons de civils, des mosquées, des écoles et même des hôpitaux. (…) le Hamas a utilisé les larges espaces ouverts des mosquées pour stocker des armes, ce qui est interdit par le droit international et a ainsi transformé ces zones urbaines en zones de combat. L’utilisation de femmes, personnes âgées et enfants fait partie intégrante de la stratégie terroriste du Hamas. Des écoles ont été piégées, mettant la vie des enfants en danger. Des écoles et des centres d’éducation ont été transformés en sites de lancement de roquettes et de mortiers. (…) les terroristes du Hamas ont placé des rampes de lancement de roquettes à proximité de bâtiments publics tels que des centres médicaux, terrains de football, les bureaux de l’Association palestinienne pour la réhabilitation des handicapés et des stations d’essence (…) Le Hamas a délibérément construit ses infrastructures terroristes et militaires au coeur des infrastructures civiles. IDF
Les tactiques de combat et l’idéologie du Hamas sont, "par excellence, un cas d’école" de violations systématiques du droit international humanitaire. Il n’y a "presqu’aucun exemple comparable" où que ce soit dans le monde d’aujourd’hui d’un groupe qui viole aussi systématiquement les accords internationaux liés aux conflits armés. Irwin Cotler (ancien Ministre de la Justice du Canada, membre du parlement de ce pays et professeur de droit à l’Université McGill de Montreal)
L’Institut américain Pew a interrogé plus de 14 200 personnes dans 14 pays, dont le Nigeria, en proie aux attaques de Boko Haram. La peur d’un extrémisme islamiste grandit dans les pays majoritairement musulmans du Proche-Orient jusqu’en Asie du Sud, selon un sondage publié mardi aux Etats-Unis. Cette crainte s’est développée depuis un an, du fait de la guerre en Syrie qui continue de faire rage et à laquelle participent des mouvements islamistes, et des attaques meurtrières du mouvement nigérian Boko Haram, relève l’institut américain Pew qui a interrogé plus de 14 200 personnes dans 14 pays musulmans. Les mouvements islamistes comme Al-Qaeda, le Hezbollah, Boko Haram ou le Hamas, perdent aussi des soutiens. Et le nombre de personnes favorables aux attentats suicide contre des civils a considérablement diminué ces dix dernières années. Le sondage a été réalisé du 10 avril au 25 mai, soit avant l’offensive fulgurante lancée le 9 juin de l’Etat islamique en Irak et en Levant (EIIL), qui se fait appeler Etat islamique (EI), dans le nord et le centre de l’Irak. (…) Une majorité de Palestiniens (53%) ont une opinion défavorable du Hamas, qu’Israël tient pour responsable de l’enlèvement et du meurtre de trois adolescents. Ce chiffre atteint 63% dans la bande de Gaza. Seuls 46% des Palestiniens considèrent les attentats suicide comme justifiés contre des civils, contre 70% en 2007. Libération
Au sujet de l’islam (…) D’abord, j’aime bien leur symbole, leur croissant lunaire, je le trouve beaucoup plus beau que la croix, peut-être parce qu’il n’a pas quelqu’un cloué dessus.  Pat Condell (cité par Harold Kroto, prix Nobel de chimie 1996)
Des trois dogmes des enfants d’Abraham, les musulmans, les chrétiens et les juifs, mes préférés sont les juifs. Quand je dis je les aime: je pense que toutes les religions sont une insulte à l’humanité, mais les juifs n’ont pas autant de revendications et de recherche de privilèges que les deux autres dogmes. Et, plus important, tandis que les musulmans et chrétiens veulent vous imposer leurs croyances, les juifs se fichent pas mal de ce que vous croyez tant que vous les laissez tranquilles. (…) Maintenant, étant donné l’histoire des juifs, il est facile de comprendre pourquoi ils voudraient avoir leur Etat autonome. Mais le problème, c’est qu’il est au mauvais endroit. Parce que s’il y avait vraiment une justice dans ce monde, Israël occuperait actuellement la moitié de l’Allemagne. Mais ce qu’il y a derrière Israël, ce n’est pas la justice, c’est Jérusalem, autrement dit la Bible et autrement dit la prophétie, autrement dit, comme on le sait, la folie. What about the Jews?
Avant, j’étais beaucoup plus critique à l’égard d’Israël et je croyais qu’il y avait une solution à deux états assez simple. Parce que je croyais que les Arabes étaient de bonne foi. J’aimerais toujours le croire mais les faits me montrent que je serais un imbécile de le croire. Car j’ai vu que chaque concession faite par Israël ne reçoit en réponse que toujours plus d’exigences et de prétextes pour ne pas négocier. Ils auraient pu avoir la paix dix fois s’ils avaient voulu. Mais ils ne veulent pas la paix, ils veulent la victoire et ne seront pas satisfaits tant qu’Israël ne sera pas rayé de la carte. Un membre du Comité central de l’OLP l’a dit récemment à la télévision récemment, ajoutant qu’ils doivent garder ça pour eux car ils tiennent un autre discours au reste du monde. (…) Malgré ce que vous dit l’Agence de relations publiques palestinienne (cad les médias occidentaux) ce n’est pas une question de territoire et ça n’a absolument rien à voir avec la justice ou les droits de l’homme parce que les sociétés arabes ne connaissent pas la signification de ces mots. C’est une question de haine contre les Juifs, commandée par le Coran, prêchée dans les mosquées et enseignée aux enfants dans les pays arabes jour après jour et qui empoisonne génération après génération. les Arabes ne détestent pas les Juifs à cause d’Israël, ils détestent Israël à cause des Juifs. La situation en Cisjordanie et à Gaza existe parce qu’il y a 45 ans plusieurs pays arabes ont attaqué Israël délibérément, avec un avantage numérique écrasant, parce que c’était un Etat juif. Si ça n’avait pas été un Etat juif, ils ne l’auraient pas attaqué, ils l’ont attaqué avec l’intention de l’effacer de la carte et de commettre un génocide mais ils ont échoué parce que les juifs avaient plus de sang dans les veines que les Arabes pensaient. Et qui pourraient s’en étonner après tout ce par quoi ils sont passés dans l’indifférence du reste du monde ? Beaucoup, de Juifs auraient pu échapper aux nazis s’ils avaient eu un endroit où se réfugier mais les autres pays ne voulaient pas d’eux. Le Moufti de Jérusalem à l’époque était un ami d’Hitler et, en bon musulman, il approuvait la Solution finale et avait des plans pour mettre en oeuvre son propre holocauste au Moyen-Orient après la victoire des Nazis. Aussi qui pourrait reprocher aujourd’hui aux Israéliens de se défendre, en sachant très bien qu’ils ont à faire à des gens à qui ils ne peuvent pas faire confiance et en sachant que ces gens les haïssent au point de vouloir les exterminer comme peuple. N’importe qui d’autre dans la même situation se comporterait de la même manière. Je sais que c’est ce que je ferais et je ne suis pas près de m’en excuser. Israël est entouré d’ennemis et a plus intérêt à la paix que n’importe qui d’autre et c’est pour ça qu’il continue à faire des concessions. mais ce n’est pas l’intérêt des leaders palestiniens. La paix, c’est dernière chose qu’ils veulent. Ils ont besoin de maintenir la situation en ébullition, de maintenir leur peuple en colère dans le ressentiment et la haine des Juifs. La paix gâcherait tout parce qu’ils ne seront pas contents tant qu’Israël ne sera pas effacé de la carte et les Juifs jetés à la mer. Il faut que le monde arrête de faire comme si la question palestinienne était une question de justice et de droits de l’homme. Il faut qu’il ait le courage moral d’appeler les choses par leur nom et de mettre un point d’arrêt à cette comédie, cette danse sans fin autour d’une table de négociation qui n’existe pas. Il nous faut rendre aux Arabes le grand service de leur dire la vérité qu’ils ont si cruellement besoin d’entendre que leur haine est la cause de leur misère, qu’ils en sont devenus prisonniers, elle en est arrivée à définir leur véritable identité. Et tant qu’ils n’auront pas trouvé un moyen de libérer leurs coeurs de cette souillure, ils y resteront enchainés et ni eux ni leurs enfants ne seront jamais libres. Printemps arabe ou pas. (…) Combien de générations habitées par la haine pensez-vous qu’il faudra encore sacrifier ? Pat Condell

A l’heure où, coupé de la plupart de ses soutiens après le désastreux enlèvement et assassinat du mois dernier et ne pouvant même plus payer ses fonctionnaires, un Hamas aux abois a repris une fuite en avant qui pourrait finir un jour par lui être fatale …

Et où, terrés dans leurs abris sous-terrains et cachés derrière les boucliers humains de sa population écoles et mosquées comprises, ses leaders balancent à nouveau leurs roquettes à l’aveugle sur les villes israéliennes …

Pendant qu’aussi indécise que jamais et comme à son habitude, l’Administration Obama continue à souffler le chaud et le froid sur ses alliés y compris au moment même où Israël est la victime desdites roquettes …

Et qu’apparemment inconscients de la menace qui pèse sur leur propre territoire et sans compter nos faussaires patentés à la Enderlin ou Fandio, nos belles âmes et nos habituels idiots utiles du terrorisme ont repris comme à leur habitude leurs sempiternelles geigneries et imprécations contre la prétendue disproportion de la réaction israélienne …

Comment, avec l’humoriste britannique Pat Condell, ne pas s’étonner de cette incroyable conspiration du plus pur cynisme du côté arabe et de la plus atterrante hypocrisie ou naïveté du côté occidental …

Qui, décennie après décennie, continue à soutenir le "grand mensonge palestinien" ?

The Great Palestinian Lie
Pat Condell
Oct 11, 20111

Is it racist to criticize the Palestinians as the world’s most tiresome cry-babies with a bogus cause and a plight that’s entirely self-inflicted? I bet it is. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was against the law in certain European countries but I’m going to do it anyway because somebody has to. And I realize I’ll probably lose a few friends with this video but that’s okay. Friends like that, I can do without.

All any of us can do is tell the truth as we see it. I mean as we actually see it and not as we think we’re supposed to see it. The worst thing you can do is to see the truth and tell a lie and I see the Palestinian cause as a lie. A lie designed to exploit Western liberal guilt; like the lie of Islamophobia and the lie of the mythical religion of peace that nobody has ever seen in action.

I used to be a lot more critical of Israel and I used to believe there was a fairly simple two-state solution because I used to believe the Arabs were acting in good faith. I still want to believe that but the evidence tells me I’d be a fool to believe it. Because I’ve seen that every concession Israel makes is met with more demands and more excuses not to negotiate. They could have had peace ten times over if they wanted it. But they don’t want peace. They want victory. And they won’t be happy ‘til Israel is wiped from the map.

A member of Fatah Central Committee said as much on television recently but, as he said, they keep that to themselves and tell the rest of the world a different story. And as part of that story, the bogus claim for Palestinian statehood is currently passing through the United Nations and we’re all waiting to see what plops out the other end. Not that it really matters, because despite what the Palestinian public relations industry (i.e. the Western media) might tell you, this is not about territory and it certainly isn’t about justice or human rights because Arab societies don’t know the meaning of those words.

It’s about Jew hatred, as mandated by the Quran, and as preached in the mosques and taught to the children in Arab countries, day in and day out, generation after poisonous generation. The Arabs don’t hate Jews because of Israel. They hate Israel because of Jews.

The situation in the West Bank and Gaza exists because, 45 years ago, several Arab countries attacked Israel, unprovoked, with overwhelming odds, because it was a Jewish state. If it hadn’t been a Jewish state, they wouldn’t have attacked it. And they attacked with the intention of wiping it from the map and of committing genocide. But they failed because the Jews had a bit more steel in their blood than the Arabs had bargained for. And who could be surprised after all they had been through and after seeing how the rest of the world had responded to their plight.

Large numbers of Jews could have escaped the Nazis if they had somewhere else to go but other countries wouldn’t let them in. The mufti of Jerusalem at the time was a friend of Hitler’s and, good Muslim that he was, he approved of the Final Solution and had plans for his own holocaust in the Middle East, once the Nazis had won the war.

So who can blame the Israelis today for defending themselves as if they mean it? When they know they’re dealing with people they know they can’t trust and who they know hate them enough to want to exterminate them as a people. Anybody else in their situation would behave the same way. I know I would and I wouldn’t apologize for it.

Israel is surrounded by enemies. Peace is more in their interest than anyone else’s: which is why they keep making concessions. But it’s not in the interest of the Palestinian leadership. Peace is the last thing they want. They need to keep the pot boiling. They need to keep their people angry and resentful and hating Jews. Peace would ruin everything because they won’t be happy until Israel is wiped from the map and the Jews have been driven into the sea. If they really believe that’s going to happen, they’re insane. And if they don’t really believe it, they’re even more insane. Wouldn’t you say?

And all you good-hearted Western liberals who keep banging the drum for the poor Palestinians: I sympathize with you because you’re doing it for the right reason. But you’re being used and exploited just as the people in the West Bank and Gaza are being exploited by people who have no intention of negotiating peace because they’re driven, primarily, by crude, irrational, religious hatred.

When you protest for Palestine, you know you’ll be in the company of people who are calling for Jews to be gassed. Do you think that’s an accident? You’re dealing with something here beyond politics and beyond reason. Something truly ugly that drives a spike through all your cozy left/right assumptions and your naivety is helping to stoke it like bellows to a fire.

The world needs to stop pretending that Palestine is about justice and human rights and have the moral courage to call this thing what it is: to put a stop to this charade, this endless dance around a nonexistent negotiating table. We need to do the Arabs a huge favor and tell them the truth they so badly need to hear: that their hatred is the cause of their misery. They’ve become prisoners of it. It has come to define their very identity and until they can find a way to remove this ugly stain from their hearts, they’ll always be chained to it. And they and their children will never be free: Arab Spring or no Arab Spring.

Peace . . . how many wasted generations of hate do you think it will take?

Voir aussi:

Le Hamas plus isolé que jamais
Décapité en Cisjordanie, après la mort de trois jeunes Israéliens, et aux abois à Gaza, où il a rendu le pouvoir, le mouvement palestinien est en crise.
Le Point
01/07/2014 à 17:11

Décapité en Cisjordanie, après l’enlèvement meurtrier de trois jeunes Israéliens, et aux abois à Gaza, où il a officiellement rendu le pouvoir, le Hamas se retrouve encore plus isolé qu’avant la réconciliation avec le président palestinien Mahmoud Abbas, selon des experts. "Le Hamas est responsable et le Hamas paiera", a affirmé lundi soir le Premier ministre israélien Benyamin Netanyahou, peu après la découverte des corps des trois jeunes Israéliens enlevés dans un bloc de colonies en Cisjordanie occupée le 12 juin. Le Hamas a nié être impliqué dans le rapt mais a salué l’opération, imputée par Israël à deux de ses membres qu’elle recherche toujours à Hébron. Le mouvement palestinien a averti que "si les occupants se lan(çaient) dans une guerre ou une escalade, ils ouvrir(aient) les portes de l’enfer".

Selon Ghazi Hammad, un haut responsable du mouvement, "toutes les options sont envisageables et le Hamas prend au sérieux les menaces d’Israël. Mais il ne cherche pas l’affrontement, la balle est dans le camp d’Israël". "La découverte des corps a été un choc pour Israël et a révélé une faille, c’est pourquoi Israël veut se venger et en faire payer le prix au Hamas, quelle que soit sa responsabilité", a-t-il déclaré. Le chef en exil du Hamas, Khaled Mechaal, a assuré le 23 juin que la direction politique du mouvement n’avait aucune information sur le rapt, mais a dit "soutenir tout acte de résistance contre l’occupation israélienne, qui doit payer pour sa tyrannie". Cette prise de distance avec l’enlèvement permettra au mouvement islamiste d’"atténuer" le choc de la riposte israélienne, estime Walid al-Moudallal, professeur de sciences politiques à l’Université islamique de Gaza. "Mais le Hamas ne restera pas silencieux s’il est visé. Il se battra si sa survie est en jeu", prévient-il.

"Balle dans le pied"

Selon le correspondant militaire du quotidien israélien Yediot Aharonot, la responsabilité du Hamas est engagée, les ravisseurs ayant sans doute agi, sinon sur ordre, conformément à la ligne fixée par la direction du mouvement. Après son "annus horribilis" dû au renversement par l’armée en Égypte du président islamiste Mohamed Morsi en juillet 2013, "le Hamas fondait ses espoirs sur le gouvernement de réconciliation palestinien, sa proximité croissante avec l’Occident et sur le monde arabe, principalement l’Égypte", écrit Alex Fishman, mais avec l’enlèvement "il s’est tiré une balle dans le pied". À la suite de l’enlèvement, l’armée israélienne a arrêté 420 Palestiniens en Cisjordanie, dont 305 membres du Hamas, parmi lesquels de nombreux dirigeants et députés du mouvement.

Depuis la découverte des corps lundi, "le Hamas ne veut pas seulement donner à Israël un prétexte pour attaquer, il l’invite même à attaquer pendant le ramadan", estime le commentateur israélien, afin de "détourner l’attention de ce ramadan morose sur l’ennemi qui a gâché la fête : Israël". Il souligne l’amertume soulevée par la perte d’emploi et de salaire des quelque 40 000 ex-fonctionnaires du Hamas depuis la formation, le 2 juin, d’un gouvernement de consensus composé de personnalités indépendantes, commun à Gaza et à la Cisjordanie. Signe de cette rancoeur, dans la nuit de lundi à mardi, des hommes masqués ont incendié des caméras de surveillance de banques et des distributeurs automatiques de billets à Gaza.

Étranglé par le blocus israélien de la bande de Gaza et la fermeture de la frontière avec l’Égypte, le Hamas a accepté la réconciliation aux conditions de Mahmoud Abbas afin d’assurer sa survie à terme, au prix d’un abandon du pouvoir sur l’enclave palestinienne, d’après les commentateurs. Mais Moussa Abou Marzouk, le responsable du Hamas chargé du dossier de la réconciliation avec le mouvement Fatah du président palestinien, a accusé dimanche Mahmoud Abbas d’avoir abandonné Gaza à son sort, malgré l’accord de réconciliation. "Aujourd’hui, je crains que le Hamas ne soit invité à revenir pour protéger la sécurité de son peuple, la bande de Gaza ne vivra pas dans le vide. Or, elle n’est ni sous la responsabilité du gouvernement précédent ni sous celle du gouvernement d’entente nationale", a écrit Moussa Abou Marzouk sur sa page Facebook.

Voir également:

La peur de l’extrémisme grandit dans les pays musulmans
Libération/AFP
2 juillet 2014

SONDAGE
L’Institut américain Pew a interrogé plus de 14 200 personnes dans 14 pays, dont le Nigeria, en proie aux attaques de Boko Haram.

La peur d’un extrémisme islamiste grandit dans les pays majoritairement musulmans du Proche-Orient jusqu’en Asie du Sud, selon un sondage publié mardi aux Etats-Unis. Cette crainte s’est développée depuis un an, du fait de la guerre en Syrie qui continue de faire rage et à laquelle participent des mouvements islamistes, et des attaques meurtrières du mouvement nigérian Boko Haram, relève l’institut américain Pew qui a interrogé plus de 14 200 personnes dans 14 pays musulmans.

Les mouvements islamistes comme Al-Qaeda, le Hezbollah, Boko Haram ou le Hamas, perdent aussi des soutiens. Et le nombre de personnes favorables aux attentats suicide contre des civils a considérablement diminué ces dix dernières années.

Le sondage a été réalisé du 10 avril au 25 mai, soit avant l’offensive fulgurante lancée le 9 juin de l’Etat islamique en Irak et en Levant (EIIL), qui se fait appeler Etat islamique (EI), dans le nord et le centre de l’Irak.

Au Liban, frontalier de la Syrie, 92% des personnes interrogées disent avoir peur de la montée de l’extrémisme islamiste, un chiffre en hausse de 11 points par rapport à 2013, réparti à quasi égalité entre communautés chiites, sunnites, et chrétiennes du pays.

53% des Palestiniens défavorables au Hamas

L’inquiétude grandit aussi en Jordanie et en Turquie, deux pays également frontaliers de la Syrie, qui accueillent des milliers de réfugiés depuis le début du conflit en mars 2011. Quelque 62% des Jordaniens expriment leur inquiétude à propos de l’extrémisme islamiste, en hausse de 13 points par rapport à 2012. En Turquie, 50% partagent cette crainte, un chiffre en hausse de 18 points par rapport à 2012.

«En Asie, de fortes majorités au Bangladesh (69%), au Pakistan (66%) et en Malaisie (63%) s’inquiètent de l’extrémisme islamiste», selon Pew. Ce chiffre est cependant beaucoup moins élevé en Indonésie, un des pays musulmans les plus peuplés, avec 40% des habitants qui sont inquiets.

Une majorité de Nigérians (79%) disent leur opposition à Boko Haram, qui a enlevé en avril quelque 200 jeunes filles, tandis que 59% des Pakistanais affirment détester les talibans.

Une majorité de Palestiniens (53%) ont une opinion défavorable du Hamas, qu’Israël tient pour responsable de l’enlèvement et du meurtre de trois adolescents. Ce chiffre atteint 63% dans la bande de Gaza. Seuls 46% des Palestiniens considèrent les attentats suicide comme justifiés contre des civils, contre 70% en 2007.
AFP

Voir encore:

ANALYSIS: Stunned by Israel’s fierce response, Hamas sends distress signals
Khaled Abu Toameh
Jerusalem Post
07/09/2014

Hamas apparently expected a limited response to the recent rocket attacks on Israeli cities and towns; The organization is concerned the IDF’s operation could be the end to Hamas’s rule over the Gaza Strip.

Despite fiery statements issued by Hamas spokesmen over the past 48 hours, it was obvious Tuesday night that the Islamist movement was searching for ways to rid itself of the current escalation.

Hamas feels that it has been forced into a confrontation with Israel – one that it did not want at this stage because of its increased isolation and financial crisis.

The massive Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip over the past 24 hours have surprised Hamas and other Palestinian groups. Hamas apparently expected a limited response to the recent rocket attacks on Israeli cities and towns. But as the IDF intensified its strikes against Hamas targets – including the homes of some of its top commanders – it became clear to the movement’s leaders that Israel means business.

On Tuesday night, Hamas spokesmen were sending distress signals to various parties. The organization is concerned that if the IDF operation continues for another few days, the movement will pay a very heavy price – one that could even bring about an end to Hamas’s rule over the Gaza Strip.

Hamas accused Israel of “crossing all the redlines” by bombing the homes of its military commanders. This shows that Hamas did not expect Israel to take such a drastic move. Less than 24 hours after the beginning of the IDF offensive, Hamas talked about the need to return to the truce that was reached with Israel in 2012.

A spokesman for Hamas’s armed wing, Izzadin Kassam, listed this demand as part of his movement’s effort to end the current confrontation. The spokesman called for an end to the IDF crackdown on Hamas members in the West Bank, which began after the abduction and murder of three Israeli youths last month.

On Tuesday night, Hamas and other Palestinian groups appealed to Egypt and Arab countries to intervene to stop the IDF operation. Given Hamas’s bad relations with the Egyptian authorities, it’s unlikely that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi would rush to save the movement that is openly aligned with his enemy, the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Palestinian Authority, which has condemned the Israeli “aggression,” is also unlikely to make a big effort to save Hamas from destruction. In fact, President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction would be happy to see Hamas severely defeated.

Hamas is beginning to feel the heat and that’s why its leaders, who have gone into hiding, are seeking an “honorable” way out of the confrontation, which, they say, they didn’t want to begin with.

Voir de plus:

Security source: Hamas started this escalation to improve its poor situation
Yaakov Lappin
Jerusalem Post
07/09/2014

After poor results from the kidnapping, Hamas is seeking to achieve an accomplishment.

Hamas initiated the latest round of fighting to try and alleviate the distress it has found itself in recent months, a senior security source said on Tuesday.

In the West Bank, the organization’s position has been damaged by the army’s response to the kidnap and murder of three Israeli youths in June, which resulted in the arrest of hundreds of Hamas members, and raids on weapons caches and against its civilian and economic networks.

In the Gaza Strip, too, the Islamist movement is feeling increased pressure, the source said.

As a result, Hamas is “seeking to achieve an accomplishment,” he said. “Hamas had high expectations two months ago. It had just joined a Palestinian unity government [with Fatah]. Now, it finds itself in a poor situation. It has gotten poor results from the kidnapping, its position in terms of Palestinian security prisoners has worsened [due to the arrest of hundreds of Hamas members last month], and its sovereignty in Gaza has sustained blows,” he continued.

“Hamas is under pressure, and this has caused it to begin shooting [rockets and mortars].

Its status among the public [in the Strip] is also problematic.

In the middle of Ramadan, it has no good news to offer Palestinians recently,” the source said.

Hamas has been directly and indirectly orchestrating the growing rocket salvos from Gaza, which reached a peak on Monday night, when many dozens of rockets were launched within an hour.

“Hamas will always want to be the one that fires the last rocket, and to be able to claim that Israel is deterred. For its part, Israel will gradually increase the scope of its military operation, to obtain deterrence and damage Hamas,” the source said.

Voir aussi:

Faux Fairness at The New York Times
Tamar Sternthal
Times of Israel
July 8, 2014

It’s no wonder then that The Times says it places a premium on fairness, a laudable journalistic value. Its Standards and Ethics guidelines state: “The goal of The New York Times is to cover the news as impartially as possible – ‘without fear or favor,’ in the words of Adolph Ochs, our patriarch.”

Maybe that’s why editors habitually issue a pro-forma condemnation of both Israelis and Palestinians – before it proceeds to single out Israel for real or perceived wrongdoings, while downplaying or ignoring foul play on the other side. Today’s editorial (“Four Horrific Killings”) follows the familiar formula. First, the blanket exhortation to both sides: “It is the responsibility of leaders on both sides to try and calm the volatile emotions that once again threaten both peoples.”

After inserting additional background information (including an egregious factual error about the Israeli prime minister), The Times tackles its real beef. Editors provide a detailed litany of Israeli misdoings, followed by a perfunctory reference to “Hamas’s violence” and unidentified Palestinian “hateful speech”:

After the attack on the Israeli teenagers, some Israelis gave in to their worst prejudices. During funerals for the boys, hundreds of extreme right-wing protesters blocked roads in Jerusalem chanting “Death to Arabs.” A Facebook page named ‘People of Israel Demand Revenge’ gathered 35,000 ‘likes’ before being taken down; a blogger gave prominence to a photo, also on Facebook, that featured a sign saying: “Hating Arabs is not racism, it’s values.” Even Mr. Netanyahu referenced an Israeli poem that reads: “Vengeance for the blood of a small child, Satan has not yet created.” Israelis have long had to cope with Hamas’s violence, including a recent increase in rocket attacks from Gaza. And Palestinians have been fully guilty of hateful speech against Jews.

While readers are treated to a four specific examples of Israelis succumbing to their worst prejudices, The Times does not identify even one single case of recent Palestinian incitement, of which there is no shortage. Palestinians celebrated the kidnapping of Eyal Yifrach, Gil-Ad Shaar and Naphtali Frankel with a social media campaign called “The Three Shalits” which went viral; hateful cartoons in a Palestinian Authority-controlled newspaper and on the Fatah Facebook page; and the distribution of sweets in Gaza. In recent days, Fatah, headed by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, warned Israelis to prepare body bags and declared “We wish for the blood to become rivers.”

After the grossly lopsided accounting, in which The Times deems examples of heated rhetoric worthy of specific mention only when uttered by Israelis, the “Paper of Record” reverts to its faux fairness, describing “an atmosphere in which each side dehumanizes the other.” The editorial closes with its formulaic parity: “These deaths should cause the two communities to think again about the need for a permanent peace, but the loss of four young men may not be motivation enough.”

Subtitled “Can Israeli and Palestinian Leaders End the Revenge Attacks?”, the editorial ought to have been particularly precise in reporting the leaders’ respective words and deeds. And, yet, the author/s grossly erred: “On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, after days of near silence, condemned that killing and promised that anyone found guilty would ‘face the full weight of the law.’”

Netanyahu did not remain silent for days concerning the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir. The Israeli prime minister spoke out against the killing of Abu Kheir from July 2, the very same day of the murder. As The Times’ own Isabel Kershner reported: “On Wednesday, after the body of the Palestinian teenager was found in the woods, the prime minister called on Israelis to obey the law, and asked investigators to quickly look into what he called ‘the abominable murder.’”

Netanyahu again denounced the murder Thursday, July 3 at the home of American Ambassador Daniel Shapiro during the July 4th celebration. As CNN reported:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged Thursday to find the perpetrators responsible for the boy’s killing, an act Netanyahu described as “a despicable crime.”

Netanyahu made the comment during a speech at the American Embassy in Tel Aviv where he and Israeli President Shimon Peres attended the annual July 4 Independence Day party.

Given that The Times editorial writer did not accurately report events recorded last week in the paper’s own news pages, it’s unsurprising that s/he trips up on a Hebrew poem written more than a century ago.

Thus, The Times’ cites Netanyahu’s recitation of a line from Chaim Nachman Bialik’s poem “The Slaughter” as an indication that, he, like the crowds chanting “Death to Arabs” also gave in to his “worst prejudices.” In fact, Bialik’s lines, and Netanyahu’s quotation of them, are widely understood as a call for heavenly justice and a rejection of human vengeance for the killing of a small child. The full stanza in question and the preceding stanza (in translation), which Bialik wrote in response to the Kishinev pogrom) are:

And if there is justice – let it show
itself at once! But if justice show itself
after I have been blotted out from
beneath the skies – let its throne be
hurled down forever! Let heaven rot
with eternal evil! And you, the arrogant,
go in this violence of yours, live by
your bloodshed and be cleansed by it.

And cursed be the man who says:
Avenge! No such revenge – revenge for
the blood of a little child – has yet been
devised by Satan. Let the blood pierce
through the abyss! Let the blood seep
down into the depths of darkness, and
eat away there, in the dark, and breach
all the rotting foundations of the earth.

If there is fairness at The New York Times editorial page — let it show itself at once!

Voir de même:

Un haut responsable américain critique Israël
« Comment Israël peut-il avoir la paix s’il ne veut pas délimiter une frontière, arrêter l’occupation ? » a demandé le chef de la Maison Blanche pour le Proche-Orient, Philipp Gordon dans un discours cinglant à Tel Aviv
Raphael Ahren
Times of Israel
9 juillet 2014
Raphael Ahren est le correspondant diplomatique du Times of Israel

« L’occupation actuelle de la Cisjordanie par Israël est mal et conduit à une instabilité régionale et à une déshumanisation des Palestiniens », a déclaré mardi à Tel Aviv un haut responsable du gouvernement américain.

Au cours d’une déclaration de politique étrangère inhabituelle et dure, Philipp Gordon, assistant spécial du président américain Barack Obama et coordinateur de la Maison Blanche pour le Moyen-Orient, a appelé les dirigeants israéliens et palestiniens à faire les compromis nécessaires pour obtenir un accord de paix permanent.

Jérusalem « ne devrait pas prendre pour acquis la possibilité de négocier » un tel traité avec l’Autorité palestinienne du président Mahmoud Abbas, qui s’est révélé être un partenaire fiable, a déclaré Gordon.

« Israël fait face à une réalité indéniable : il ne peut pas maintenir un contrôle militaire sur un autre peuple indéfiniment. Faire ainsi est non seulement mal, mais c’est aussi une recette pour créer du ressentiment et une instabilité récurrente, a déclaré Gordon. Cela renforce les extrémistes de deux côtés, cela déchire la tissu démocratique israélien et nourrit une deshumanisation mutuelle ».

Faisant son discours à la Conférence israélienne pour la Paix du journal Haaretz, Gordon a réitéré la position d’Obama qu’un accord final devrait être basé sur les frontières de 1967 avec des échanges de terre mutuellement acceptés.

L’administration est consciente qu’Israël doit faire face à des menaces sur plusieurs fronts et Obama reste impliqué pour la sécurité d’Israël, a-t-il déclaré, en s’exprimant le jour où Israël a lancé son l’opération Bordure protectrice pour contrer les tirs de roquettes de la bande de Gaza contrôlée par le Hamas. Juste quelques instants plus tard, les participants à la conférence ont dû aller courir se mettre à l’abri après qu’une alerte ait signalé l’approche d’un missile sur Tel Aviv.

« Les Etats-Unis soutiendront toujours Israël. Nous combattons pour Israël tous les jours aux Nations Unies », a-t-il déclaré. Pourtant, en tant que meilleur ami et plus puissant soutien d’Israël, Washington doit pouvoir poser certaines questions fondamentales, a-t-il dit.

Gordon a poursuivi son discours : « Comment Israël restera-t-il démocratique et juif s’il essaie de gouverner les millions d’arabes palestiniens qui vivent en Cisjordanie ? Comment aura-t-il la paix s’il ne veut pas délimiter une frontière, mettre un terme à l’occupation et permettre une souveraineté, une sécurité et une dignité palestinienne ? Comment empêcherons nous d’autres états de soutenir les efforts palestiniens dans la communauté internationale, si Israël n’est pas perçu comme impliqué pour la paix ? »

L’administration a été déçue que les dernières tentatives de négociations de paix organisées par les Etats-Unis aient échoué et qu’actuellement « nous nous trouvons dans une situation délicate », a souligné Gordon.

« D’un côté, nous n’avons aucun intérêt à un jeu de critique. La difficile réalité est qu’aucune des parties n’a préparé leurs populations ou s’est montrée prête à prendre les décisions difficiles pour un accord. La confiance s’est effritée des deux côtés. Jusqu’à ce qu’elle soit restaurée, aucune des deux parties ne sera probablement prête à prendre des risques pour la paix, même s’ils vivent avec les terribles conséquences qui résultent de cette absence ».

Les « dernières semaines » montrent que l’incapacité de résoudre le conflit israélo-palestinien « implique inévitablement plus de tensions, plus de ressentiment, plus d’injustice, plus d’insécurité, plus de tragédie et plus de peine », a-t-il dit. « La vue de familles en deuil, aussi bien israélienne que palestinienne, nous rappelle que le coût du conflit demeure insupportablement haut ».

Dans son discours de 25 minutes, la première intervention d’un haut responsable de la Maison Blanche directement au peuple israélien depuis le discours de mars 2013 d’Obama a Jérusalem, Gordon a rejeté toutes les autres alternatives à la solution de deux états. Il a appelé le Premier ministre Benjamin Netanyahu à rependre les pourparlers de paix avec l’Autorité palestinienne, en suggérant qu’Abbas était le meilleur dirigeant palestinien que Jérusalem pouvait espérer. « Israël ne devrait pas prendre pour acquis la possibilité de négocier une telle paix avec Abbas qui a montré a plusieurs reprises qu’il était impliqué pour la non violence, la coexistence et la coopération avec Israël ».

A un moment de son discours, Gordon semblait contredire directement une déclaration faite par Netanyahu la semaine dernière concernant les besoins de sécurité d’Israël vis-à-vis sa frontière est.

Se référant aux discussions que le général américain à la retraire John Allen avait tenu avec des officiers de l’armée israélienne concernant les moyens de sécuriser la frontière israélienne avec la Jordanie, Gordon a expliqué que les plans d’Allen prennent en compte « une série d’éventualités, y compris des menaces grandissantes que nous percevons au Moyen-Orient ». Allen évoquait probablement les gains territoriaux effectués lors des récentes semaines par le groupe terroriste radical l’Etat Islamique, anciennement connu comme ISIL ou ISIS.

« Les démarches discutées créeraient une des frontières les plus sure du monde de deux côtés du Jourdain, a expliqué Gordon. En développant une couche de défense qui inclut un renforcement significatif des barrières des deux côtés de la frontière, en s’assurant du nombre adéquat de soldats au sol, en déployant la technologie de dernier cri, un programme global de test rigoureux, nous pouvons rendre la frontière sure contre n’importe quel type de menace conventionnelle ou non conventionnelle, des terroristes individuels aux forces armées conventionnelles ».

Le 29 juin, Netanyahu avait déclaré que l’un des défis centraux pour la sécurité d’Israël était de « stabiliser la zone ouest de ligne de sécurité du Jourdain ». Dans cette partie de la Cisjordanie, le Premier ministre a déclaré « aucune autre force que notre armée et nos services de sécurité ne peut garantir la sécurité d’Israël… Qui sait ce qui l’avenir nous réserve ? La vague de l’ISIS pourrait rapidement être redirigée contre la Jordanie », a-t-il déclaré lors d’une conférence à Tel Aviv.

Israël devrait donc maintenir un contrôle sécuritaire à long terme du territoire le long du Jourdain quel que soit l’accord avec les Palestiniens, a déclaré le Premier ministre. « L’évacuation des forces israéliennes mènerait directement à l’effondrement de l’Autorité palestinienne et à la montée en puissance de forces islamiques radicales, comme cela a été le cas à Gaza. Cela mettrait sérieusement Israël en danger ».

Dans son discours à l’hôtel David Intercontinental de Tel Aviv, Gordon a également évoqué la pluie de roquettes qui s’abat sur Israël depuis la bande de Gaza contrôlée par le Hamas. « Les Etats-Unis condamnent fermement ces attaques.

« Aucun pays ne devrait vivre sous la menace constante d’une violence hasardeuse contre des civils innocents », a rappelé Gordon, dont l’administration avait été fortement critiquée par le gouvernement israélien pour avoir accepté de travailler rapidement avec le nouveau gouvernement d’unité soutenu par le Hamas qui avait été établi le mois dernier.

L’administration soutient le droit d’Israël à se défendre contre ces attaques, a-t-il ajouté. « En même temps, nous apprécions l’appel du Premier ministre Netanyahu à agir responsablement, et nous appelons à notre tour les deux parties à faire tout ce qu’elles peuvent pour ramener le calme et protéger les civils ».

Voir enfin:

Les cibles du jihadiste : la tour Eiffel, le Louvre, les festivals…

Élisabeth Fleury

Le Parisien

09.07.2014

Sur le site Islamiste Shoumouk al-Islam, Ali M. s’appelait Abu Naji. Sous ce pseudo, à l’aide d’un logiciel de cryptage et sur une messagerie spécialement dédiée, cet Algérien de 29 ans, marié et père de deux enfants, a élaboré pendant un an des projets d’attentats en France avec l’un des plus hauts responsables d’Al-Qaïda au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi), alias Redouane18.

Découverts à la suite de l’arrestation d’AliM. il y a un an, ces messages ont été décryptés. Leur lecture fait froid dans le dos. Installé dans le Vaucluse où il travaillait dans une boucherie halal, Ali M., qui s’apprêtait à rejoindre un maquis dans le Sud algérien, serait-il passé à l’acte ? « Il a vécu son arrestation comme un soulagement », indique en tout cas son avocate, Me Daphné Pugliesi.

Sélectionner des cibles
Le 1er avril 2013, AbuNaji est prié de faire parvenir « quelques suggestions relatives à l’orientation à donner à l’activité du jihad à l’endroit où [il se] trouve ». Dès le lendemain, dans un long mail, il s’exécute. « L’objectif qui mérite d’être visé s’avère la population française modeste et paupérisée », écrit-il. Ces futures victimes fréquentent les bars, les marchés, « certaines petites localités et les boîtes de nuit », poursuit-il. Soucieux de préserver les musulmans, Abu Naji suggère notamment d’éviter les centres commerciaux. Les patrouilles de police et de gendarmerie, en revanche, peuvent faire l’objet d’embuscades. De même les centrales d’électricité nucléaire ou encore « les avions au moment du décollage » peuvent être ciblés.

Abu Naji évoque les monuments historiques et énumère, à ce titre, « la tour Eiffel et le musée du Louvre ». Sans citer nommément le Festival d’Avignon, il parle des «manifestations culturelles qui ont lieu dans des villes du sud de la France au cours desquelles des milliers de chrétiens se rassemblent pendant un mois ». « Les artères deviennent noires de monde et une simple grenade peut blesser des dizaines de personnes, détaille-t-il. Je vous laisse imaginer si c’est un engin piégé. »

Constituer un réseau dormant
Visiblement satisfait par la réponse d’Abu Naji, Redouane18 veut à présent tester ses capacités de recruteur. « Est-ce que tu peux disposer d’un contact avec des frères qui auraient eux-mêmes des contacts avec nos frères dans le grand Sud saharien ? » demande-t-il le 6 avril ? Dans un message daté du 18 avril, Abu Naji évoque un « frère de Bel Abbes » et plusieurs autres « désireux de rejoindre l’Organisation ». « Combien sont-ils ? Où résident-ils ? Savent-ils manier des armes ? Ont-ils fait l’objet des poursuites de la part des Tyrans », demande aussitôt son interlocuteur.

Réponse prudente d’Abu Naji : « des frères, il y en a légion, mais je ne sais pas si tous veulent faire le jihad. » Une semaine plus tard, Redouane18 invite Abu Naji et son « frère de Bel Abbes » à rejoindre ses troupes sur place, pour une dizaine de jours, « afin de bénéficier auprès des frères d’une formation militaire et d’un entraînement dans les techniques de combat ». Redouane18 précise : « A la suite de cela, vous retournerez dans le pays où vous résidez et vous attendrez les instructions. »

Partir s’entraîner
Redouane18 est clair : il n’attend aucune aide financière de la part de sa nouvelle recrue. « Nous ne sommes pas dans le besoin quand il s’agit de gérer nos activités », écritil à Abu Naji le 18 avril 2013. « Nous attendons de toi que tu mettes en place un réseau dont tu seras le dirigeant sous la bannière de l’Organisation », poursuit-il. La mission assignée à Abu Naji consistera, dans un premier temps, à « faire des repérages d’objectifs et à collecter des renseignements ». Dans un deuxième temps, « il te sera nécessaire de venir nous rencontrer en vue de planifier ensemble le projet ». Ali M. étant dans le collimateur des autorités algériennes, ses interlocuteurs lui suggèrent de passer par la Tunisie.

« Le plus important à retenir est que je vous annonce que, grâce à Dieu, je suis fin prêt et bien paré », écrit Abu Naji le 1er mai, déterminé à venir participer aux entraînements. Le 17 juin, il a son billet. « J’arriverai dans la capitale tunisienne le 22 juillet », se réjouit-il. Huit jours après ce message, il sera arrêté. « Seule l’interpellation d’Ali M. quelques semaines avant la date effective du déplacement a empêché son départ en Algérie », indique, sur PV, un officier de la Direction générale de la sécurité intérieure (DGSI).

COMPLEMENT:

Correction: July 10, 2014

An editorial on Tuesday about the death of a Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem referred incorrectly to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s response to the killing of Muhammad Abu Khdeir. On the day of the killing, Mr. Netanyahu’s office issued a statement saying he had told his minister for internal security to quickly investigate the crime; it is not the case that “days of near silence” passed before he spoke about it.

NYT


Meurtre de Mohammed Abu Khudair: Pourquoi il n’y aura jamais de nom de place pour les tueurs (Why there will never be any public squares named after Mohammed Abu Khudair’s killers)

8 juillet, 2014
https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpf1/t1.0-9/s526x395/10389551_4411717148122_237425698760742694_n.jpg http://www.indexoncensorship.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/deathofklinghoffer.jpg
Three-finger- saluting French supporters of Algerian football team promoting Hamas kidnapping or just traditional "un deux trois viva l'Algérie" salute ?(Jul. 2014)
Three-finger-ssaluting pro-Palestinian demonstrator promoting Hamas kidnapping (San Francisco, Jul. 2014)La vilenie que vous m’enseignez, je la pratiquerai et ce sera dur, mais je veux surpasser mes maîtres. Shylock ("Le Marchand de Venise", Shakespeare, III, 67-76)
From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free ! Slogan (manifestants pro-palestiniens, San Francisco, 08.07.14)
I tried to show that the Jewish world at that time was also violent, among other things because it had been hurt by Christian violence. Of course I do not claim that Judaism condones murder. But within Ashkenazi Judaism there were extremist groups that could have committed such an act and justified it. I found there were statements and parts of the testimony that were not part of the Christian culture of the judges, and they could not have been invented or added by them. They were components appearing in prayers known from the [Jewish] prayer book.Over many dozens of pages I proved the centrality of blood on Passover. "Based on many sermons, I concluded that blood was used, especially by Ashkenazi Jews, and that there was a belief in the special curative powers of children’s blood. It turns out that among the remedies of Ashkenazi Jews were powders made of blood. The rabbis permitted it both because the blood was already dried," and because in Ashkenazi communities it was an accepted custom that took on the force of law, Toaff said. There is no proof of acts of murder, Toaff said, but there were curses and hatred of Christians, and prayers inciting to cruel vengeance against Christians. There was always the possibility that some crazy person would do something. In Germany, it became a real craze. Peddlers of medicines would sell human blood, the way you have a transfusion today. The Jews were influenced by this and did the same things. In one of the testimonies in the Trento trial, a peddler of sugar and blood is mentioned, who came to Venice. I went to the archives in Venice and found that there had been a man peddling sugar and blood, which were basic products in pharmacies of the period. A man named Asher of Trento was also mentioned in the trial, who had ostensibly come with a bag and sold dried blood. One of the witnesses said he was tried for alchemy in Venice and arrested there. I took a team to the archives and found documentation of the man’s trial. Thus, I found that it is not easy to discount all the testimony.I am being presented like the new Yigal Amir. But one shouldn’t be afraid to tell the truth. Unfortunately my research has become marginal, and only the real or false implications it might have are being related to. I directed the research at intelligent people, who know that in the Jewish world there are different streams. I believe that academia cannot avoid dealing with issues that have an emotional impact. This is the truth, and if I don’t publish it, someone else will find it and publish it. (…) Extremists in the past brought disaster on us by false accusations. I wanted to show that hatred and incitement of this kind can develop, because there will always be someone who will take advantage of it. Professor Ariel Toaff (Bar-Ilan University)
It had a damaging place in history, it had a murderous place in history. You know, Jews were murdered after such accusations were made, but to cover it up I think is in some ways to forget or deny a painful past. And so to uncover it, to show it publically, is and something that no one believes in anymore. Chief rabbi Michael Schudrich
What kind of society produces such mothers? Whence the women who cheer on their boys to blow themselves up or murder the children of their neighbors? Well-intentioned Western liberals may prefer not to ask, because at least some of the conceivable answers may upset the comforting cliché that all human beings can relate on some level, whatever the cultural differences. Or they may accuse me of picking a few stray anecdotes and treating them as dispositive, as if I’m the only Western journalist to encounter the unsettling reality of a society sunk into a culture of hate. Or they can claim that I am ignoring the suffering of Palestinian women whose innocent children have died at Israeli hands. But I’m not ignoring that suffering. To kill innocent people deliberately is odious, to kill them accidentally or "collaterally" is, at a minimum, tragic. I just have yet to meet the Israeli mother who wants to raise her boys to become kidnappers and murderers—and who isn’t afraid of saying as much to visiting journalists. (…) As for the Palestinians and their inveterate sympathizers in the West, perhaps they should note that a culture that too often openly celebrates martyrdom and murder is not fit for statehood, and that making excuses for that culture only makes it more unfit. Postwar Germany put itself through a process of moral rehabilitation that began with a recognition of what it had done. Palestinians who want a state should do the same, starting with the mothers. Bret Stephens
Bret Stephens claims that he has « yet to meet the Israeli mother who wants to raise her boys to become kidnappers and murderers » (« Where Are the Palestinian Mothers?, » Global View, July 1). Actually, every Israeli mother is legally obligated by the Israeli government to enter her sons and daughters into an institution that systematically kidnaps and murders. It’s called the Israeli Defense Force. Since 1948, the IDF has been creating mourning mothers for the longest occupation of war crimes and human-rights atrocities in human history. Its illegal and immoral actions have been denounced in more U.N. resolutions than any other country in the world. (…) Since the disappearance of the three Israelis on June 12, at least eight Palestinian civilians have been killed in retribution and hundreds more imprisoned with no charges. One of the three Israelis was old enough to have already served in the IDF, and all three of them were on an illegal settlement on Palestinian territory. Israeli settlers have been engaging in some of the worst hate crimes in the conflict, notoriously known for pillaging mosques, attacking and even running over Palestinians, and vandalizing Palestinian property with calls for the death of all Arabs. On July 2, Palestinian teenager Mohammad Hussein Abu Khdeir was kidnapped, murdered and burned by an Israeli mob, and among many Israelis his death was celebrated. All facets of Israeli society, even up to the government, called for this sort of retribution, with Benjamin Netanyahu demanding « revenge » and Michael Ben-Ari calling for « death to the enemy. » While the call for justice is expected of any democratic country, what Israel is calling for is indiscriminate revenge. Amani al-Khatahtbeh (American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee)
Les colons ont utilisé le corps de Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir, 17 ans, de Shuafat, au nord de Jérusalem, pour perpétrer leur [acte de] vengeance sacré en le torturant et le brûlant à mort, par un crime qui rappelle leurs saintes matzot, devenues partie intégrante de leur histoire de trahisons et d’assassinats. En effet, la culture de la violence sanguinaire s’est développée chez les juifs au point d’infiltrer leurs rites et prières sacrés. Par « matzot sacrées », je pense à ces matzot mélangées à du sang humain, le sang des gentils, à savoir de l’autre non-juif, [qu’ils cuisent] pour célébrer la fête juive appelée la Pâque. Selon les récits historiques, ils assassinaient des chrétiens, de préférence des enfants de moins de dix ans, recueillaient leur sang, puis le remettaient à un rabbin, pour qu’il le mélange aux matzot de la fête avant de les servir aux croyants, qui les dévoraient pendant leur fête. Ces anciens rites trouvent un écho à l’époque moderne, où [les juifs] sanctifient le sang de [leurs coreligionnaires] juifs, considérés comme des êtres humains de premier ordre, et dénigrent le sang des Palestiniens. Cela oblige [le Palestinien] Mahmoud Abbas à définir et à classer le garçon martyr Abu Khdeir, après que ce même [Abbas] eut exprimé sa rage aux ministres des Affaires étrangères des pays musulmans [le 18 juin 2014, à la conférence de Djeddah] et déclaré que les trois colons qui avaient été enlevés en Cisjordanie étaient des êtres humains comme nous et que nous devions les rechercher et les ramener, répondant ainsi à demande [des Israéliens] d’entourer ces trois colons d’un halo de divinité et de noble humanité et de les qualifier d’« êtres humains exceptionnels »… Ce monde injuste, des États-Unis et de l’Union européenne au président de l’Autorité palestinienne, a largement déploré la mort des trois colons, mais ne se lamente pas de celle de l’enfant palestinien Abu Khdeir, car il appartient au groupe dont le sang n’est pas [considéré] comme sacré, selon la classification de la communauté internationale des groupes humains, ethniques et politiques, qui place Israël en haut de l’échelle et les Palestiniens en bas. Cette différentiation faite par la communauté internationale face au sang israélien et palestinien ressuscite le patrimoine de la théorie nazie. Les juifs, avec leur comportement criminel, adoptent la vision d’Hitler, basée sur la classification des gens en races supérieures, comme la race aryenne, et en races inférieures, comme les noirs, les Arabes et les juifs, [concluant que] la supériorité de la race blanche sur tous les autres peuples lui octroie de nombreux droits absolus, tels que le droit de régner sur les autres peuples. De même, nous voyons qu’Israël estime que la supériorité de la race juive lui confère le droit absolu d’occuper, de construire des colonies, de se venger et de répandre du sang. C’est ainsi qu’ils cuisaient le pain sacré dans le passé, et qu’ils perpètrent leurs rites sacrés vengeurs au présent, dont la victime [cette fois] fut le jeune Abu Khdeir. Wissam Afifa (Al-Risalah, Journal du Hamas, Gaza, 3 juillet 2014)
Je tiens à adresser mes condoléances à la famille Abu Khudair. Je m’engage à ce que les auteurs de ce crime horrible, qui doit être résolument condamné dans les termes les plus énergiques, je m’engage à ce que les auteurs de ce crime horrible subissent tout le poids de la loi. Je sais que dans notre société, la société d’Israël, il n’y a pas de place pour de tels meurtriers. Et c’est la différence entre nous et nos voisins. Ils considèrent que les meurtriers sont des héros. Ils donnent leur nom à des places publiques. Nous ne le faisons pas. Nous les condamnons et nous les jugeons et nous allons les mettre en prison. Et ce n’est pas la seule différence. Tandis que nous traduisons ces meurtriers devant les tribunaux, au sein de l’Autorité palestinienne, l’incitation à détruire l’État d’Israël perdure. Elle constitue la base des médias officiels et du système éducatif. C’est un conflit asymétrique. Nous ne cherchons pas leur destruction ; ils enseignent à une très grande partie de leur société à rechercher notre destruction. Et cela doit cesser. Il y a trop de souffrance. Il y a trop de douleur. Nous ne faisons aucune distinction entre les terroristes et nous répondrons à tous, d’où qu’ils viennent, d’une main ferme. Nous ne laisserons pas des extrémistes, d’où qu’ils viennent enflammer la région et répandre plus de sang. Benjamin Netanyahou
If terrorism — specifically, the commission or advocacy of deliberate acts of deadly violence directed randomly at the innocent — is to be defeated, world public opinion has to be turned decisively against it. The only way to do that is to focus resolutely on the acts rather than their claimed (or conjectured) motivations, and to characterize all such acts, whatever their motivation, as crimes. This means no longer romanticizing terrorists as Robin Hoods and no longer idealizing their deeds as rough poetic justice. If we indulge such notions when we happen to agree or sympathize with the aims, then we have forfeited the moral ground from which any such acts can be convincingly condemned. Does "The Death of Klinghoffer" romanticize the perpetrators of deadly violence toward the innocent? Its creators tacitly acknowledged that it did, when they revised the opera for American consumption after its European premieres in Brussels and Paris. In its original version, the opening "Chorus of Exiled Palestinians" was followed not by a balancing "Chorus of Exiled Jews" but by a scene, now dropped from the score, that showed the Klinghoffers’ suburban neighbors gossiping merrily about their impending cruise ("The dollar’s up. Good news for the Klinghoffers") to an accompaniment of hackneyed pop-style music. That contrast set the vastly unequal terms on which the conflict of Palestinians and Jews would be perceived throughout the opera. The portrayal of suffering Palestinians in the musical language of myth and ritual was immediately juxtaposed with a musically trivial portrayal of contented, materialistic American Jews. The paired characterizations could not help linking up with lines sung later by "Rambo," one of the fictional terrorists, who (right before the murder) wrathfully dismisses Leon Klinghoffer’s protest at his treatment with the accusation that "wherever poor men are gathered you can find Jews getting fat." Is it unfair to discuss a version of the opera that has been withdrawn from publication and remains unrecorded? It would have been, except that Mr. Adams, throwing his own pie at the Boston Symphony in an interview published recently on the Andante.com Web site, saw fit to point out that the opera "has never seemed particularly shocking to audiences in Europe." He was playing the shame game, trying to make the Boston cancellation look provincial. But when one takes into account that the version European audiences saw in 1991 catered to so many of their favorite prejudices — anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-bourgeois — the shame would seem rather to go the other way. Nor have these prejudices been erased from the opera in its revised form. The libretto commits many notorious breaches of evenhandedness, but the greatest one is to be found in Mr. Adams’s music. In his interview, the composer repeats the oft drawn comparison between the operatic Leon Klinghoffer and the "sacrificial victim" who is "at the heart of the Bach Passions." But his music, precisely insofar as it relies on Bach’s example, undermines the facile analogy. In the "St. Matthew Passion," Bach accompanies the words of Jesus with an aureole of violins and violas that sets him off as numinous, the way a halo would do in a painting. There is a comparable effect in "Klinghoffer": long, quiet, drawn-out tones in the highest violin register (occasionally spelled by electronic synthesizers or high oboe tones). They recall not only the Bach ian aureole but also effects of limitless expanse in time or space, familiar from many Romantic scores. (An example is the beginning of Borodin’s "In the Steppes of Central Asia.") These numinous, "timeless" tones accompany virtually all the utterances of the choral Palestinians or the terrorists, beginning with the opening chorus. They underscore the words spoken by the fictitious terrorist Molqui: "We are not criminals and we are not vandals, but men of ideals." Together with an exotically "Oriental" obbligato bassoon, they accompany the fictitious terrorist Mamoud’s endearing reverie about his favorite love songs. They add resonance to the fictitious terrorist Omar’s impassioned yearnings for a martyr’s afterlife; and they also appear when the ship’s captain tries to mediate between the terrorists and the victims. They do not accompany the victims, except in the allegorical "Aria of the Falling Body," sung by the slain Klinghoffer’s remains as they are tossed overboard by the terrorists. Only after death does the familiar American middle-class Jew join the glamorously exotic Palestinians in mythic timelessness. Only as his body falls lifeless is his music exalted to a comparably romanticized spiritual dimension. Why should we want to hear this music now? Is it an edifying challenge, as Mr. Wiegand and Mr. Tommasini contend? Does it give us answers that we should prefer, with Mr. Swed, to comfort? Or does it express a reprehensible contempt for the real-life victims of its imagined "men of ideals," all too easily transferable to the victims who perished on Sept. 11? Richard Taruskin
Les six suspects sont des fanatiques hystériques du Beitar Jérusalem. Selon un officier de police familier du dossier, qui s’est exprimé anonymement sur Buzzfeed , les membres de cette cabale meurtrière sont tous affiliés à « La Familia », un petit groupe de plusieurs milliers (5.500) de Fans connus pour leurs préjugés anti-arabes et leur penchant plus général pour la voyoucratie. Ces six jeunes hommes se sont rencontrés lors d’un rassemblement lié à une épreuve de football et ont décidé d’étendre la portée de leur hooliganisme aussi loin qu’ils le pourraient, ce qui a débouché sur la mort d’Abu Khdair, peu de temps après. Ce scénario peut paraître incompréhensible. Pourtant si vous comprenez le monde du football et si vous connaissez le Beitar, vous commencez de réaliser qu’un acte d’ultra-violence du style Orange Mécanique est une conséquence dramatique, tout-à-fait possible, et même prévisible, de la sous-culture des fans de cette équipe. Je parle à partir de ma propre expérience : je suis, moi-même un fan se consacrant, sa vie durant, au Beitar de Jerusalem, et au cours des années que j’ai passées à assister à ses matchs, j’ai eu ma part de témoignage de brutalités épouvantables, en temps de crise comme en temps de paix, presque toujours sans la moindre impulsion véritablement raciste ou nationaliste. Pour autant que je puisse le dire, le but poursuivi, c’était simplement le pur, viscéral, écœurant frisson de violence. Parfois, il s’approprie le langage de la politique, s’attachant à un parti ou une idéologie ou à un groupe ethnique. Mais c’est toujours, d’abord et avant tout, à propos de football, à cause de la violence ritualisée qui procure aux jeunes gens sans espoir un sens dans la vie et un sentiment enivrant de bien-être. Malheureusement, La Familia – qui, selon certains rapports est forte de 5.500 – est passée de la barbarie de basse intensité aux agressions de masse enragées. Parfois, ces attaques se saisissent d’un prétexte raciste, comme lorsqu’un groupe de 300 fans, enivrés par une victoire du Beitar, sont entrés dans un centre commercial, en 2012, en chantant « Mahomet est mort ! » et en tentant de passer à tabac tout Arabe qui lui tombait sous la main. On doit aussi insister pour dire que la Direction du Beitar, comme la vaste majorité de ses fans, ont été particulièrement révoltés par le terrorisme de La Familia et ont fait ce qu’ils ont pu pour l’infléchir. La police israélienne a lancé des poursuites, et fait tout ce qu’il fallait pour diffuser des ordres de restriction, interdisant l’accès aux meneurs de La Familia et tâchant d’arrêter quiconque était en lien avec des actes de violence et de vandalisme. La Ministre des Sports et de la Culture était intervenue pour fustiger le racisme et la violence comme n’ayant aucune place dans les stades, après l’incendie de la maison du Club, faisant ainsi écho aux sentiments de beaucoup d’Israéliens. Il y aura ceux qui compareront la rapidité avec laquelle la police a été en mesure de localiser les meurtriers de Muhammed Abu-Khudair, à l’incapacité de traîner en Justice les assassins de Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, et Eyal Yifrach. Pourtant, une des raisons pour lesquelles la police a pu les arrêter si vite, c’est tout simplement, parce qu’elle a consacré des ressources considérables, au cours de la dernière décennie, à tenir des rapports sur les hooligans violents se réclamant de l’équipe de la Ville, tout comme la police l’a fait à Munich, à Varsovie, à Bruxelles, Londres, Madrid ou au Paris-St Germain. Abu Khdair est mort à cause des mêmes forces obscures, si lié à ce sport que j’aime, qui a déjà tué Tony Deogan, un jeune supporter suédois de l’IFK Göteborg mort sous les coups acharnés des fans de l’équipe rivale de l’AIK en aout 2002, où le jeune Mariusz B. poignardé dans le dos en 2003, après que des hooligans polonais, armés de couteaux, de barres de fer et de pierres, se soient rassemblés dans une rue près du stade de Wroclaw ; le même élan qui a mené les fans d’Al-Masry à tomber à bras raccourcis sur leurs frères et semblables qui soutenaient Al-Ahly dans le stade de Port-Saïd, en Egypte, en 2012, faisant 79 morts et plus d’un millier de blessés. Liel Leibovitz
Ce sont des colons. Ils vivent là où ils ne devraient pas vivre. Les colons n’ont rien à faire là-bas. Mais ce n’est pas parce que ce sont des colons qu’on doit pour autant les kidnapper. Amos Gitai (cinéaste israélien)
L’usage magique du mot "colon" donne-t-il donc un permis de tuer ? Une justification morale des meurtres ? Une raison de négliger les meurtres d’Israéliens pour sur-représenter et exalter la cause palestinienne et faire silence sur les turpitudes et le racisme de la société palestinienne ? Nul n’a vu sur les écrans que la députée à la Knesset, Hanan Zouabi avait justifié les trois enlèvements, ni les supporters franco-algériens de l’équipe algérienne de football faire le signal de victoire des trois doigts de la main pour fêterle rapt des trois adolescents, ni les célébrations de l’enlèvement dans toute la société palestinienne. Celà, après tout, était "normal" puisque c’étaient des colons…. Ce constat prend encore plus de puissance lorsque l’on sait que les trois victimes israéliennes ne résidaient pas dans les territoires et n’étaient donc pas des "colons". Eyal Yifrach, 19 ans, était originaire d’Elad, situé en territoire israélien internationalement reconnu, Naftali Frenkel, 16 ans, était originaire de Nof Ayalon, situé également en territoire israélien internationalement reconnu. Quant à Gilad Shaer, 16 ans, il était originaire de la localité de Tamon, située en Zone C, reconnue par les Accords d’Oslo comme sous souveraineté israélienne, une souveraineté autant reconnue par l’Autorité palestinienne et par le Hamas pour se dédouaner de toute responsabilité dans l’enlèvement. Cette information est gravissime, car elle signifie quelque chose de très clair : le discours médiatique reprend et assume le discours palestinien aux yeux duquel, rappelons-le, l’Etat d’Israël lui même, sans rapport avec les territoires contestés, est une colonie sous occupation . Finalement aux yeux des journalistes français, tous les Juifs d’Israël (et ceux d’ici ? – qui les soutiennent) ne sont-ils pas des colons ? Sans doute le pensent-ils secrètement à voir la façon dont ils ont exclu les Juifs français de la scène publique. Cette remarque n’est pas une affirmation sans fondement car, dans les compte-rendus médiatiques du profil des assassins de Toulouse et de Bruxelles – qui ont tué au nom de Gaza et de l’islam -, les explications sociologiques et psychologiques de ces mêmes médias – qui, donc, "excusent" les meurtriers – sont la règle pour toutes sortes de "raisons", imputables, ici à la société française (raciste et colonialiste envers les immigrés) et, là bas, à Israël ("colon") … De sorte qu’on "comprenne"… La thématique du "colon" n’est pas l’effet d’un hasard ni d’une maladresse. Ce que nous confirme, vendredi 4 juillet, le site JForum qui s’est enquis auprès de la rédaction de France 2 de la raison pour laquelle ses journalistes employaient le qualificatif de "colon" pour les 3 jeunes assassinés, alors qu’ils ne le sont pas, dans un reportage intitulé « Jeunes colons assassinés : la riposte israélienne ». Le site s’est vu répondre que c’était là un « choix éditorial ». Un choix très conscient, donc, et assumé. « Tous les autres médias en font de même », justifient-ils, ce qui est vrai. Il faudrait donc vérifier si la source n’est pas tout simplement l’Agence France Presse dont on connaît depuis 15 ans l’adhésion aux thèses palestiniennes , une agence semi-étatique, ce qui est encore plus grave et jette le discrédit sur la société dans son ensemble et les pouvoirs publics. Cette manipulation rhétorique est la même que celle qui permet de tenir des discours antisémites en prétendant qu’ils sont "antisionistes". Qu’est l’antisionisme, en effet, si ce n’est le projet de prôner "moralement" (puisque "colon" !) la destruction d’un Etat et donc des six millions de Juifs qui y vivent ? Il y a là un choix idéologique et politique qui, dans sa logique, justifie le meurtre et excuse les meurtriers. C’est prendre une grave responsabilité sur l’incitation à la violence en France même. Ce ne sont pas ici des banlieues en rupture qui sont en question mais le système central de communication de la société française. Il faudra en tirer les conclusions qui s’imposent. Ce que l’opinion veut ignorer – parce que cela la terrorise – c’est l’intention religieuse de ces crimes, avouée par les assassins eux-mêmes. Ainsi, le meurtrier d’un policier israélien tué à la veille de Pâque et identifié à l’occasion de la traque des ravisseurs, a-t-il reconnu, dans ces termes mêmes, le motif de son crime : son père lui avait dit que, dans l’islam, tuer un Juif ouvrait les portes du paradis… La mère palestinienne des 2 ravisseurs, elle même, s’est félicitée de l’acte religieux de ses fils et l’on sait la connotation religieuse attribuée universellement par la société palestinienne aux suicides meurtriers sur motif islamique. Ces vrais crimes rituels sont monnaie courante sous la férule du "califat" proclamé dans une région d’Irak où, en plus des exécutions de masse typiques des régimes totalitaires, sont perpétrées des crucifixions. Oui, des crucifixions au XXI ° siècle. Là bas, il n’y a plus de Juifs, mais il y a des chrétiens et d’autres musulmans, les Chiites. Le silence journalistique quasi total règne sur ces exactions monstrueuses, et notamment les persécutions des chrétiens encore présents dans le monde arabo-musulman. C’est normal, elles ne "cadrent" pas avec la version des médias. A la lumière de tout celà il faut oser un jugement gravissime : n’entrons-nous pas dans une guerre de religion alors que le monde "postmoderne" de l’Occident "postdémocratique" est congénitalement aveugle à un tel phénomène ? Et démissionnaire. Concernant Israël et les Juifs, cette attitude a des dessous psychiques très pervers car la France sait pertinemment qu’elle est aussi menacée par cette guerre de religion sur son sol même, et pas uniquement dans ses cibles juives. En trouvant une "raison" à ces crimes contre les Juifs, elle croit limiter l’incendie à des boucs émissaires. Elle amadoue les meurtriers en montrant de la complaisance pour leurs forfaitures, tout en se persuadant qu’elles ont des "raisons", comme pour conjurer sa peur et dévier, un temps, la menace certaine qui plane sur elle. Post scriptum : la Télévision israélienne annonce ce soir, dimanche, que les responsables du crime abominable contre le jeune Palestinien ont été identifiés et arrétés. Ils seraient un groupe de 6 personnes, non organisées politiquement, quoique proches de l’extrême droite, qui auraient agi par improvisation, après avoir participé à une manifestation violente à Jérusalem et en réaction de vengeance au meurtre des trois adolescents israéliens. La nouvelle semble confirmée. C’est un bon signe de ce que le chaos et l’aventurisme ne l’a pas emporté sur l’Etat de droit dans la société israélienne, ce qui serait une victoire des Palestiniens dans la guerre asymétrique qu’ils mènent contre Israël : rétrograder Israël à la logique tribale. Il est en effet capital que, dans une situation aussi violente, les individus soient empéchés de se faire justice eux mêmes, privilège de l’Etat, et quelle justice, criminelle et barbare. Shmuel Trigano
Some would say that Arab violence against Jews is no villainy at all, but merely an alternate form of national politics. Representatives of the American government seeking peace in the Middle East have been shuttling between Israeli and Palestinian leaders as though dealing with equivalent societies with an equal investment in territorial compromise. In the arts, the Metropolitan Opera in New York this season plans to present a work that gives sympathetic voice to Palestinian terrorists who in 1985 shoved a disabled American off a cruise ship and into the ocean because he was a Jew. Reflecting the abjuration of evil, the opera is called "The Death of Klinghoffer" instead of "The Murder of Klinghoffer." Now that Jewish suspects have been apprehended in the Jerusalem murder of 16-year-old Arab Mohammed Abu Khudair, there are those who would cite the parallel between this heinous crime and the recent murders of Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach, and Naftali Frenkel as proof of moral and political equivalence between the two societies. One anticipates that in the coming days the standard outlets for such views will offer standard justifications for Arab rioting and condemnations of Jewish extremism as part of the same alleged cycle of violence. But are the situations comparable? Arab rioters did not wait for the identification or apprehension of suspects in the killing of Mohammed Abu Khudair to begin destroying Jewish life and property. One of their first targets was Jerusalem’s new light-rail system that connects Jewish and Arab sectors of the city. In their own communities, murderers of Israelis enjoy support, encouragement, adulation. News of the abduction of three Israeli boys had no sooner hit the Internet on June 13 than Arab celebrants were handing out candies and posting three-fingered salutes, called Gilad Shalits, for the Israeli soldier seized by Hamas and held for five years until "swapped" in 2011 for 1,027 Arab prisoners whose crimes had included the killing of 569 Israelis. The celebrants of mid-June were mocking the value that Jews place on individual life, one that contrasts so sharply with the value they place on taking Jewish life. Three Shalits would have given them three times the bargaining power had the abduction not ended with the boys being shot instead. Almost a month after the murder of the Jewish boys, the Arab perpetrators are still on the loose. In startling contrast, Israeli police instantly distinguished among several false leads to track down the Arab victim’s suspected killers. Some Israelis had already denounced the presumed Jewish seekers of vengeance, with neither side waiting for formal indictment much less due process before engaging in self-recrimination on one hand and accusation on the other. The identification of Jewish suspects by the Jerusalem police triggered instantaneous condemnations: Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, who heads the Yeshiva at Elon Moreh, said Jewish law calls for capital punishment for crimes of murder, citing first the crime against the Israeli Arab and then the crime against the Jewish students. Speaking at the funeral of the three Jewish boys on July 1, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "A deep and wide moral abyss separates us from our enemies. They sanctify death while we sanctify life. They sanctify cruelty while we sanctify compassion." He made the same allusion to political and moral asymmetry four days later in his message of condolence to the Abu Khudair family, pledging that the crime against their son would be punished because "[that is] the difference between us and our neighbors. They consider murderers to be heroes. They name public squares after them. We don’t. We condemn them and we put them on trial and we’ll put them in prison." It is one of the ironies of Israel that Jewish parents whose children are murdered by Arabs are not guaranteed justice as surely as Arabs whose children are murdered by Jews. The problem of evil may be universal, but Jews have faced evil in an existential and political form to a degree that makes it different in kind. In reclaiming their land, Jews acquired the ability to defend what they create, and perhaps by their example to inspire others to resist criminal forces. In 1957, Golda Meir, who was later to become Israel’s prime minister, told an American audience that peace would come "when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us." To pretend otherwise is to fail those Arab children no less than the Israeli schoolboys who looked forward to a long and useful life. Ruth Wisse

Attention: des supporters peuvent en cacher d’autres !

En ces temps où, pendant qu’on crucifie des chrétiens en Syrie, du côté arabe réémergent des accusations de crime rituel contre les Juifs tout droit sorties du Moyen-Age …

Et où du côté occidental on écrit et joue des opéras en l’honneur des pires terroristes …

Mais où, se décidant enfin à faire face à la réalité historique, une église polonaise ressort une toile antisémite du XVIIIe siècle  …

Et où,malgré l’ostracisme dont il est victime, un chercheur israélien rappelle courageusement que les communautés juives médiévales n’étaient elles pas non plus à l’occasion à l’abri de la violence …

Comment après l’arrestation et les aveux partiels des membres apparemment du "gang des barbares" d’un club de football israélien qui ont sauvagement assassiné le jeune adolescent palestinien Mohammed Abu Khudair …

Suite à l’enlèvement et à l’assassinat, il y a près d’un mois, de trois adolescents juifs  par de probables terroristes du Hamas toujours en fuite …

Ne pas voir à l’avance, avec l’historienne Ruth Wisse, les mines réjouies de tous nos maitres es équivalence morale …

Trop contents, entre leur quasi-absolution des premiers crimes sous prétexte que les victimes étaient des "colons" et leur refus de voir, du côté palestinien comme du côté même peut-être de certains supporters franco-algériens, les démonstrations de joie auxquels ceux-ci avaient donné lieu …

Et se gardant bien de rappeler, comme vient de le faire le premier ministre israélien, que  la société israélienne, elle, ne "nommait pas des places publiques et des écoles en l’honneur d’assassins" mais les "mettait en prison" …

D’avoir enfin la preuve tangible d’une prétendue barbarie de l’Etat hébreu tout entier ?

The Abyss Between Two Heinous Episodes
Now will come assertions of equivalence between Israeli and Palestinian societies. But are the situations comparable?
Ruth R. Wisse
WSJ
July 6, 2014

As America approached its national holiday this year, Israel and world Jewry were plunged into mourning for three students who were abducted and murdered by members of the Palestinian terror group Hamas. Thirty-eight years ago, on July 4, 1976, jubilation greeted the news that an Israeli commando raid had freed 102 fellow citizens held hostage by Palestinian terrorists at an airport in Entebbe, Uganda. These different outcomes for the same kind of villainy directed at Jewish targets prompts us to ask which side is winning this unilateral war.

Some would say that Arab violence against Jews is no villainy at all, but merely an alternate form of national politics. Representatives of the American government seeking peace in the Middle East have been shuttling between Israeli and Palestinian leaders as though dealing with equivalent societies with an equal investment in territorial compromise. In the arts, the Metropolitan Opera in New York this season plans to present a work that gives sympathetic voice to Palestinian terrorists who in 1985 shoved a disabled American off a cruise ship and into the ocean because he was a Jew. Reflecting the abjuration of evil, the opera is called "The Death of Klinghoffer" instead of "The Murder of Klinghoffer."

Now that Jewish suspects have been apprehended in the Jerusalem murder of 16-year-old Arab Mohammed Abu Khudair, there are those who would cite the parallel between this heinous crime and the recent murders of Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach, and Naftali Frenkel as proof of moral and political equivalence between the two societies. One anticipates that in the coming days the standard outlets for such views will offer standard justifications for Arab rioting and condemnations of Jewish extremism as part of the same alleged cycle of violence.

But are the situations comparable?

Arab rioters did not wait for the identification or apprehension of suspects in the killing of Mohammed Abu Khudair to begin destroying Jewish life and property. One of their first targets was Jerusalem’s new light-rail system that connects Jewish and Arab sectors of the city. In their own communities, murderers of Israelis enjoy support, encouragement, adulation. News of the abduction of three Israeli boys had no sooner hit the Internet on June 13 than Arab celebrants were handing out candies and posting three-fingered salutes, called Gilad Shalits, for the Israeli soldier seized by Hamas and held for five years until "swapped" in 2011 for 1,027 Arab prisoners whose crimes had included the killing of 569 Israelis. The celebrants of mid-June were mocking the value that Jews place on individual life, one that contrasts so sharply with the value they place on taking Jewish life. Three Shalits would have given them three times the bargaining power had the abduction not ended with the boys being shot instead. Almost a month after the murder of the Jewish boys, the Arab perpetrators are still on the loose.

In startling contrast, Israeli police instantly distinguished among several false leads to track down the Arab victim’s suspected killers. Some Israelis had already denounced the presumed Jewish seekers of vengeance, with neither side waiting for formal indictment much less due process before engaging in self-recrimination on one hand and accusation on the other. The identification of Jewish suspects by the Jerusalem police triggered instantaneous condemnations: Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, who heads the Yeshiva at Elon Moreh, said Jewish law calls for capital punishment for crimes of murder, citing first the crime against the Israeli Arab and then the crime against the Jewish students.

Speaking at the funeral of the three Jewish boys on July 1, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "A deep and wide moral abyss separates us from our enemies. They sanctify death while we sanctify life. They sanctify cruelty while we sanctify compassion." He made the same allusion to political and moral asymmetry four days later in his message of condolence to the Abu Khudair family, pledging that the crime against their son would be punished because "[that is] the difference between us and our neighbors. They consider murderers to be heroes. They name public squares after them. We don’t. We condemn them and we put them on trial and we’ll put them in prison." It is one of the ironies of Israel that Jewish parents whose children are murdered by Arabs are not guaranteed justice as surely as Arabs whose children are murdered by Jews.

The problem of evil may be universal, but Jews have faced evil in an existential and political form to a degree that makes it different in kind. In reclaiming their land, Jews acquired the ability to defend what they create, and perhaps by their example to inspire others to resist criminal forces. In 1957, Golda Meir, who was later to become Israel’s prime minister, told an American audience that peace would come "when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us." To pretend otherwise is to fail those Arab children no less than the Israeli schoolboys who looked forward to a long and useful life.

Ms. Wisse, research professor of Yiddish literature and comparative literature at Harvard University, is the author, most recently, of "No Joke: Making Jewish Humor" (Princeton, 2013).

Voir aussi:

Les médias français délivrent-ils un permis de tuer ?
Shmuel Trigano * A partir d’une tribune sur Radio J le vendredi 4 juillet 2014.
6 juillet 2014

On remarquera la différence sidérale de traitement dans la façon dont les médias français ont rendu compte du meurtre des trois jeunes adolescents israéliens et des émeutes qui ont suivi le meurtre, pour l’instant non élucidé, du jeune Palestinien. Sur les chaines françaises, à ce propos, c’est l’habituel grand spectacle qui a été relancé : hémoglobine, scènes de violence comme si vous y étiez et version exclusivement palestinienne des faits. Sur BFM, un titre annonçait que le jeune Palestinien avait été assassiné "en représailles", de sorte qu’on pouvait penser qu’il s’agissait d’un acte d’Etat.

Par contre, on n’a nulle part entendu l’échange pathétique, par portable, d’une des trois victimes israéliennes qui a pu appeler au secours la police dans la voiture des meurtriers. L’enregistrement donne à entendre le meurtre en direct et les chants de joie des assassins, une fois leur forfait commis.

Doit-on estimer, à la lumière de ce constat, que les "médias" et la classe journalistique "comprennent" pourquoi on assassine des Juifs (des "colons" !), de sorte qu’elle n’en parle que du bout des lèvres ? Cela rappelle Hubert Védrines qui, en 2001, "comprenait" que des musulmans français attaquent des Juifs français du fait de ce qui se passait au Moyen Orient.

"Comprennent-ils" aussi, au fond, le pourquoi des assassinats collectifs de Toulouse et de Bruxelles, certes en les déplorant et en les condamnant mais du bout des lèvres ?

L’usage magique du mot "colon" donne-t-il donc un permis de tuer ? Une justification morale des meurtres ? Une raison de négliger les meurtres d’Israéliens pour sur-représenter et exalter la cause palestinienne et faire silence sur les turpitudes et le racisme de la société palestinienne ? Nul n’a vu sur les écrans que la députée à la Knesset, Hanan Zouabi avait justifié les trois enlèvements, ni les supporters franco-algériens de l’équipe algérienne de football faire le signal de victoire des trois doigts de la main pour fêterle rapt des trois adolescents, ni les célébrations de l’enlèvement dans toute la société palestinienne. Celà, après tout, était "normal" puisque c’étaient des colons….

Les trois victimes n’étaient pas des "colons"

Ce constat prend encore plus de puissance lorsque l’on sait que les trois victimes israéliennes ne résidaient pas dans les territoires et n’étaient donc pas des "colons". Eyal Yifrach, 19 ans, était originaire d’Elad, situé en territoire israélien internationalement reconnu, Naftali Frenkel, 16 ans, était originaire de Nof Ayalon, situé également en territoire israélien internationalement reconnu. Quant à Gilad Shaer, 16 ans, il était originaire de la localité de Tamon, située en Zone C, reconnue par les Accords d’Oslo comme sous souveraineté israélienne, une souveraineté autant reconnue par l’Autorité palestinienne et par le Hamas pour se dédouaner de toute responsabilité dans l’enlèvement.

Cette information est gravissime, car elle signifie quelque chose de très clair : le discours médiatique reprend et assume le discours palestinien aux yeux duquel, rappelons-le, l’Etat d’Israël lui même, sans rapport avec les territoires contestés, est une colonie sous occupation . Finalement aux yeux des journalistes français, tous les Juifs d’Israël (et ceux d’ici ? – qui les soutiennent) ne sont-ils pas des colons ? Sans doute le pensent-ils secrétement à voir la façon dont ils ont exclu les Juifs français de la scène publique.

Cette remarque n’est pas une affirmation sans fondement car, dans les compte-rendus médiatiques du profil des assassins de Toulouse et de Bruxelles – qui ont tué au nom de Gaza et de l’islam -, les explications sociologiques et psychologiques de ces mêmes médias – qui, donc, "excusent" les meurtriers – sont la règle pour toutes sortes de "raisons", imputables, ici à la société française (raciste et colonialiste envers les immigrés) et, là bas, à Israël ("colon") … De sorte qu’on "comprenne"…

La thématique du "colon" n’est pas l’effet d’un hasard ni d’une maladresse. Ce que nous confirme, vendredi 4 juillet, le site JForum qui s’est enquis auprès de la rédaction de France 2 de la raison pour laquelle ses journalistes employaient le qualificatif de "colon" pour les 3 jeunes assassinés, alors qu’ils ne le sont pas, dans un reportage intitulé « Jeunes colons assassinés : la riposte israélienne ». Le site s’est vu répondre que c’était là un « choix éditorial ». Un choix très conscient, donc, et assumé. « Tous les autres médias en font de même », justifient-ils, ce qui est vrai. Il faudrait donc vérifier si la source n’est pas tout simplement l’Agence France Presse dont on connaît depuis 15 ans l’adhésion aux thèses palestiniennes , une agence semi-étatique, ce qui est encore plus grave et jette le discrédit sur la société dans son ensemble et les pouvoirs publics.

Cette manipulation rhétorique est la même que celle qui permet de tenir des discours antisémites en prétendant qu’ils sont "antisionistes". Qu’est l’antisionisme, en effet, si ce n’est le projet de prôner "moralement" (puisque "colon" !) la destruction d’un Etat et donc des six millions de Juifs qui y vivent ?

Il y a là un choix idéologique et politique qui, dans sa logique, justifie le meurtre et excuse les meurtriers. C’est prendre une grave responsabilité sur l’incitation à la violence en France même. Ce ne sont pas ici des banlieues en rupture qui sont en question mais le système central de communication de la société française. Il faudra en tirer les conclusions qui s’imposent.
Des crimes rituels

Ce que l’opinion veut ignorer – parce que cela la terrorise – c’est l’intention religieuse de ces crimes, avouée par les assassins eux-mêmes. Ainsi, le meurtrier d’un policier israélien tué à la veille de Pâque et identifié à l’occasion de la traque des ravisseurs, a-t-il reconnu, dans ces termes mêmes, le motif de son crime : son père lui avait dit que, dans l’islam, tuer un Juif ouvrait les portes du paradis… La mère palestinienne des 2 ravisseurs, elle même, s’est félicitée de l’acte religieux de ses fils et l’on sait la connotation religieuse attribuée universellement par la société palestinienne aux suicides meurtriers sur motif islamique. Ces vrais crimes rituels sont monnaie courante sous la férule du "califat" proclamé dans une région d’Irak où, en plus des exécutions de masse typiques des régimes totalitaires, sont perpétrées des crucifixions. Oui, des crucifixions au XXI ° siècle. Là bas, il n’y a plus de Juifs, mais il y a des chrétiens et d’autres musulmans, les Chiites. Le silence journalistique quasi total règne sur ces exactions monstrueuses, et notamment les persécutions des chrétiens encore présents dans le monde arabo-musulman. C’est normal, elles ne "cadrent" pas avec la version des médias.

A la lumière de tout celà il faut oser un jugement gravissime : n’entrons-nous pas dans une guerre de religion alors que le monde "postmoderne" de l’Occident "postdémocratique" est congénitalement aveugle à un tel phénomène ? Et démissionnaire.

Concernant Israël et les Juifs, cette attitude a des dessous psychiques très pervers car la France sait pertinemment qu’elle est aussi menacée par cette guerre de religion sur son sol même, et pas uniquement dans ses cibles juives. En trouvant une "raison" à ces crimes contre les Juifs, elle croit limiter l’incendie à des boucs émissaires. Elle amadoue les meurtriers en montrant de la complaisance pour leurs forfaitures, tout en se persuadant qu’elles ont des "raisons", comme pour conjurer sa peur et dévier, un temps, la menace certaine qui plane sur elle.

Post scriptum : la Télévision israélienne annonce ce soir, dimanche, que les responsables du crime abominable contre le jeune Palestinien ont été identifiés et arrétés. Ils seraient un groupe de 6 personnes, non organisées politiquement, quoique proches de l’extrême droite, qui auraient agi par improvisation, après avoir participé à une manifestation violente à Jérusalem et en réaction de vengeance au meurtre des trois adolescents israéliens. La nouvelle semble confirmée. C’est un bon signe de ce que le chaos et l’aventurisme ne l’a pas emporté sur l’Etat de droit dans la société israélienne, ce qui serait une victoire des Palestiniens dans la guerre asymétrique qu’ils mènent contre Israël : rétrograder Israël à la logique tribale. Il est en effet capital que, dans une situation aussi violente, les individus soient empéchés de se faire justice eux mêmes, privilège de l’Etat, et quelle justice, criminelle et barbare.

Voir également:

BELGIQUE-ALGERIE- Coupe du monde : des supporters algériens fêtent à Paris l’enlèvement des 3 otages israéliens
Monde juif
18 juin 2014

En marge d’un rassemblement improvisé dans le quartier de Barbès, à Paris, à l’occasion du match de Coupe du monde entre la Belgique et l’Algérie, des supporters de l’équipe d’Algérie ont fêté mardi l’enlèvement des trois adolescents israéliens.

Posant tout sourire devant des drapeaux algériens et palestiniens, une dizaine de supporters ont effectué le geste provocateur des trois doigts de la victoire, très en vogue dans les territoires palestiniens depuis l’enlèvement, marquant la capture des trois adolescents israéliens.

Ce geste provocateur des trois doigts, intitulé les « trois Shalit », est au cœur d’une campagne de propagande dans les médias palestiniens et dans les pays arabes, en référence à l’ex otage franco-israélien Gilad Shalit, capturé en 2006 par l’organisation terroriste du Hamas et libéré en 2011 contre la libération de 1027 criminels et terroristes palestiniens détenus en Israël.

Voir encore:

Journaliste du Hamas : L’assassinat de l’adolescent palestinien rappelle la coutume juive consistant à cuire le pain azyme avec du sang non-juif
MEMRI
7 juillet 2014

Dans un article antisémite, le rédacteur en chef du journal du Hamas Al-Risalah, Wissam Afifa, associe la mort de Muhammad Abu Khdeir, l’adolescent palestinien dont le cadavre a été retrouvé le 2 juillet 2014, à Jérusalem, à l’accusation de crime rituel selon lequel les juifs se serviraient de sang pour cuire leur pain azyme .

Si l’identité et la motivation des meurtriers d’Abu Khdeir restent inconnues à ce jour, tout porte à croire qu’il s’agit d’un crime haineux perpétré par des juifs pour se venger de l’assassinat récent des trois adolescents israéliens. Afifa commente que, tout comme les juifs tuaient des non-juifs et utilisaient leur sang pour confectionner leur pain azyme, aujourd’hui ils se livrent encore à « des rites sacrés » de vengeance. Et d’ajouter qu’Israël a adopté l’idéologie nazie, qui distingue les races supérieures et inférieures.

Ci-dessous des extraits de l’article : [1]

Les colons ont utilisé le corps de Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir, 17 ans, de Shuafat, au nord de Jérusalem, pour perpétrer leur [acte de] vengeance sacré en le torturant et le brûlant à mort, par un crime qui rappelle leurs saintes matzot, devenues partie intégrante de leur histoire de trahisons et d’assassinats. En effet, la culture de la violence sanguinaire s’est développée chez les juifs au point d’infiltrer leurs rites et prières sacrés.

Par « matzot sacrées », je pense à ces matzot mélangées à du sang humain, le sang des gentils, à savoir de l’autre non-juif, [qu’ils cuisent] pour célébrer la fête juive appelée la Pâque. Selon les récits historiques, ils assassinaient des chrétiens, de préférence des enfants de moins de dix ans, recueillaient leur sang, puis le remettaient à un rabbin, pour qu’il le mélange aux matzot de la fête avant de les servir aux croyants, qui les dévoraient pendant leur fête.

Ces anciens rites trouvent un écho à l’époque moderne, où [les juifs] sanctifient le sang de [leurs coreligionnaires] juifs, considérés comme des êtres humains de premier ordre, et dénigrent le sang des Palestiniens. Cela oblige [le Palestinien] Mahmoud Abbas à définir et à classer le garçon martyr Abu Khdeir, après que ce même [Abbas] eut exprimé sa rage aux ministres des Affaires étrangères des pays musulmans [le 18 juin 2014, à la conférence de Djeddah] et déclaré que les trois colons qui avaient été enlevés en Cisjordanie étaient des êtres humains comme nous et que nous devions les rechercher et les ramener, répondant ainsi à demande [des Israéliens] d’entourer ces trois colons d’un halo de divinité et de noble humanité et de les qualifier d’« êtres humains exceptionnels »…

Ce monde injuste, des États-Unis et de l’Union européenne au président de l’Autorité palestinienne, a largement déploré la mort des trois colons, mais ne se lamente pas de celle de l’enfant palestinien Abu Khdeir, car il appartient au groupe dont le sang n’est pas [considéré] comme sacré, selon la classification de la communauté internationale des groupes humains, ethniques et politiques, qui place Israël en haut de l’échelle et les Palestiniens en bas. Cette différentiation faite par la communauté internationale face au sang israélien et palestinien ressuscite le patrimoine de la théorie nazie. Les juifs, avec leur comportement criminel, adoptent la vision d’Hitler, basée sur la classification des gens en races supérieures, comme la race aryenne, et en races inférieures, comme les noirs, les Arabes et les juifs, [concluant que] la supériorité de la race blanche sur tous les autres peuples lui octroie de nombreux droits absolus, tels que le droit de régner sur les autres peuples.

De même, nous voyons qu’Israël estime que la supériorité de la race juive lui confère le droit absolu d’occuper, de construire des colonies, de se venger et de répandre du sang. C’est ainsi qu’ils cuisaient le pain sacré dans le passé, et qu’ils perpètrent leurs rites sacrés vengeurs au présent, dont la victime [cette fois] fut le jeune Abu Khdeir.

Notes :

[1] Al-Risalah (Gaza), le 3 juillet 2014.

Voir par ailleurs:

La complicité de l’Europe et des États-Unis dans les enlèvements et la violence
Richard Kemp

France-Israel Marseille

7 Juillet 2014

Le colonel britannique Richard Kemp pose un regard d’expérience sur le terrible rapt des trois jeunes israéliens et il met et cause le comportement inqualifiable des Occidentaux. [NdT]

Résumé:

Quelques jours avant le rapt des trois jeunes garçons, Catherine Ashton, la responsable de la politique étrangère de l’Union européenne, souhaitait la bienvenue au Hamas au sein du gouvernement de l’Autorité palestinienne. Elle venait d’étriller Israël, accusé de maintenir des terroristes sous les verrous et de prendre des mesures les empêcher d’opérer à partir de Gaza et de la Rive ouest du Jourdain. Ashton, si diligente quand il s’agit de condamner Israël, a mis cinq jours pour dénoncer ces enlèvements. Ses paroles et ses actes ont plutôt légitimé et encouragé le Hamas.

Les États-Unis et l’Union européenne paient les salaires des terroristes palestiniens en tant que donateurs de l’Autorité palestinienne ; ils financent aussi ses activités de propagande et d’incitation à la haine.

Comme tout gouvernement, Israël a le devoir absolu de protéger ses citoyens et conjurer toute menace terroriste est un aspect essentiel de cette obligation.
*****************************************
Cette semaine, le monde a éprouvé un terrible sentiment de répulsion devant des vidéos montrant des rangées de jeunes irakiens à genoux, abattus par des terroristes endurcis d’al Qaïda à Mossoul. Mais pour sa part, dans la Bande de Gaza et sur la Rive ouest du Jourdain, le Hamas a montré qu’il était tout à fait capable lui aussi de commettre des meurtres de sang-froid. C’est ce péril qui a provoqué la chasse désespérée d’Israël aux auteurs des enlèvements des jeunes Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar et Eyal Yifrach. Ils faisaient du stop pour rentrer chez eux après la sortie de l’école dans le Gush Etzion, quand ils ont été kidnappés il y a une semaine.
En tant que membre de Cobra, la Commission nationale britannique de gestion des crises, j’ai été impliqué dans des opérations visant à sauver des citoyens enlevés par des terroristes islamistes en Irak et en Afghanistan. Il n’y a pas d’action militaire de l’époque moderne qui soit aussi stressante : les probabilités jouent contre les captifs, l’avantage est du côté des ravisseurs, c’est une course contre la montre, et elle devient une affaire extrêmement personnelle.
Les victimes nous regardent à travers leurs photos et nous les regardons dans les yeux. Nous ressentons leurs espoirs, leurs familles, leurs amis, et leur vie quotidienne. Rien – rien – ne doit faire obstacle à nos efforts pour les ramener chez eux. Bien que nous espérions le meilleur, nous nous préparions pour le pire.

De l’extérieur, il est difficile de comprendre la réalité d’un enlèvement. Ceux qui ont la responsabilité de sauver ces vies sont forcés de jouer au chat et à la souris, un jeu où ils doivent à la fois rassurer l’opinion et semer des graines de désinformation chez les ravisseurs. Jusqu’ici, pour Naftali, Gilad et Eyal, les signes ne sont pas encourageants. Pour ce que nous en savons, une semaine plus tard, il n’y a ni preuve de vie, ni revendication, ni négociation.

Hier, le 19 juin, le chef Hamas Salah Bardawil aurait affirmé selon l’agence d’information palestinienne Ma’an, que la "résistance palestinienne" (Hamas est l’acronyme de "mouvement de la résistance islamique") est bien l’auteur des enlèvements.

La première priorité est toujours d’établir l’identité et les motifs des ravisseurs. Dès le début, le premier ministre Benjamin Netanyahou a affirmé que le Hamas était coupable. Le secrétaire d’État américain Kerry a été d’accord, et il semble que ce soit l’opinion dominante à Gaza et dans la Rive ouest du Jourdain.

De son côté, un autre leader du Hamas, Muhammad Nazzal, a présenté l’enlèvement des trois jeunes civils comme "une capture héroïque," et "un événement clé" pour le peuple palestinien. Il a dit que chaque jour qui passait sans que les Israéliens parviennent à trouver les jeunes garçons était "un formidable succès."

Les commentaires de Nazzal illustrent la vision traditionnelle de la direction du Hamas sur les rapts et les meurtres d’Israéliens. Le groupe terroriste, que la communauté internationale a mis à l’index, est responsable des tirs "dans le tas" de milliers de roquettes mortelles sur la population civile d’Israël depuis la Bande de Gaza, les dernières salves datant de cette semaine.

C’est ce même groupe terroriste que les Nations unies, les États-Unis et l’Union européenne – dans une démonstration magistrale de banqueroute morale et de trahison – ont reconnu d’une même voix comme le partenaire légitime d’un gouvernement unifié de l’Autorité palestinienne [AP]. Le jour qui a précédé le rapt des trois jeunes garçons, la responsable de la politique étrangère de l’Union européenne, Catherine Ashton, a souhaité la bienvenue au Hamas au sein du gouvernement de l’AP. Elle venait d’étriller Israël accusé de maintenir des terroristes sous les verrous et de les empêcher d’agir à partir de Gaza et de la Rive ouest du Jourdain.

Ashton, si diligente quand il s’agit de condamner Israël, a mis cinq jours pour dénoncer ces rapts. Ses paroles et ses actes ont plutôt légitimé et encouragé le Hamas. Sa passivité face à la répétition des opérations terroristes a renforcé la conviction du groupe terroriste qu’il est sur la bonne voie.
Le kidnapping recevra un bon accueil chez les nouveaux amis intimes de Ashton en Iran. Prêt à tout lui aussi pour apaiser les ayatollahs, le Secrétaire aux Affaires étrangères britanniques, William Hague, a annoncé cette semaine la réouverture de l’ambassade de son pays à Téhéran, fermée en 2011 après son saccage sur les ordres du gouvernement iranien. On annonce même une collaboration des Renseignements militaires américains avec l’Iran sur la crise actuelle en Irak, où il y a seulement quelques années un grand nombre de soldats US et britanniques ont été massacrés. Ils utiliseraient des fournitures de munitions iraniennes, opérées par des terroristes entraînés, dirigés et équipés par Téhéran et l’un de ses groupes terroristes affiliés, le Hezbollah libanais.

Au moment où l’Occident se rapproche des ayatollahs, les ayatollahs se rapprochent à nouveau du Hamas. Il a une semaine, Hassan Nasrallah, le chef du Hezbollah, a rencontré les dirigeants du Hamas pour réduire les divergences surgies entre eux et l’Iran à propos du conflit en Syrie. Le Hamas, isolé par l’Égypte suite à l’effondrement du régime des Frères musulmans, semble prêt à tout pour restaurer des relations de pleine confiance avec la tyrannie iranienne. L’Iran est également tout à fait enthousiaste à l’idée de ramener le Hamas dans son giron : les ayatollahs le considèrent toujours comme un important instrument pour réaliser leur objectif primordial de destruction de l’État d’Israël.

Dans ces circonstances, il n’est pas impossible que l’enlèvement des trois jeunes garçons ait été un geste du Hamas pour retrouver la grâce des ayatollahs.

Il est difficile de ne pas être glacé jusqu’aux os à la pensée que trois jeunes garçons, qui pourrait facilement être nos enfants ou nos frères, passent nuit après nuit entre les mains de terroristes impitoyables… ou pire encore. L’angoisse des parents de ces enfants doit être inimaginable.
Dans la population arabe palestinienne de la Rive ouest du Jourdain et de Gaza, y compris les enfants, un nouveau symbole est apparu, un salut avec trois doigts, signe de la joie provoquée par l’enlèvement de trois jeunes innocents. Parmi les nombreuses les images déplorables concoctées par les ordinateurs et les imprimantes palestiniennes la plus répugnante est probablement le dessein de trois rats, affublés de l’étoile de David, pendouillant sur le fil d’une canne à pêche, publié sur la page Facebook officielle du Fatah.

On voir désormais partout ces expressions de joie, suivies de la distribution de douceurs. Le président de l’AP, Mahmoud Abbas, a condamné les enlèvements, et son appareil de sécurité a fourni une assistance à l’opération de sauvetage israélienne. Mais en introduisant les terroristes du Hamas dans son gouvernement, Abbas est aussi responsable des manifestations de joie obscènes d’une si grande partie de son peuple. Son Autorité palestinienne répand infatigablement dans les écoles, les programmes de télévision, dans les livres et dans les magazines, une propagande anti-israélienne et antisémite mensongère et cruelle, illustrée par une imagerie inspirée des nazis. Les Américains et l’Union européenne paient les salaires des terroristes palestiniens par le canal de dons à l’AP ; ils financent aussi sa propagande et son incitation à la haine, dont on a une échantillon dans l’imagerie qui célèbre l’enlèvement des enfants.

L’opération de sécurité israélienne est focalisée à ce jour sur la recherche des trois enfants. Plus de 330 suspects appartenant au Hamas ont été arrêtés, des armes et des munitions illégales ont été saisies. En écho au nom de code de l’opération de sauvetage, "Gardiens de nos frères," le chef d’état-major de l’armée israélienne, Benny Gantz, a invité ses soldats à mettre dans leur prospection la même vigueur que s’il était en train de chercher leur propre frère ou des membres de leur unité. Il leur a aussi rappelé que la plupart des gens qui vivent dans la région où se déroulent les recherches ne sont pas impliquées dans les enlèvements, et qu’ils doivent les traiter avec attention et humanité.

Simultanément, l’armée a pris des mesures pour affaiblir et démanteler le Hamas dans la Rive ouest du Jourdain. Dans certains milieux ces mesures ont été critiquées: elle seraient purement opportunistes, élargissant l’opération sans nécessité. Or il n’en est rien. Avec ces derniers kidnappings, le Hamas a confirmé qu’il a toujours pour but d’enlever, d’attaquer, et de tuer les civils Israéliens dans la Rive ouest du Jourdain. Comme tout gouvernement, Israël a le devoir absolu de protéger ses citoyens, et prévenir la menace terroriste est un aspect essentiel de cette obligation.

Il y a beaucoup d’imprévu dans toute opération militaire ; il est possible que l’opération "Gardiens de nos frères" conduise à une escalade de la violence. Des incidents se sont déjà produits. Probablement, Israël n’étendra pas l’opération actuelle à Gaza, à moins d’une sérieuse montée de la violence, ou si un lien entre les terroristes de Gaza et les rapts est mis en lumière.

Quelle que soit la direction que prendra cette opération, la communauté internationale doit éviter de donner la même réponse à l’action défensive actuelle que celle qu’elle a si souvent affiché chaque fois qu’Israël cherche à se défendre des attaques de missiles en provenance de Gaza. La communauté internationale fait généralement silence sur les vagues de roquettes tirées sur les civils israéliens, et elle condamne ensuite Israël pour ses actions défensives destinées à empêcher les attaques suivantes. Ce sont ces réponses de la communauté internationale qui ont encouragé le Hamas, et qui ne représentent rien de moins qu’un soutien au terrorisme. Ce sont ces réponses, en même temps que son accord pour que le Hamas participe à un gouvernement d’unité palestinienne, qui ont conduit à l’enlèvement des enfants dans la Rive ouest du Jourdain.

Le colonel Richard Kemp, membre distingué de Gatestone Institute, a fait carrière pendant 30 ans dans l’armée britannique où il a combattu le terrorisme et les soulèvements. Il a été sur la ligne de front dans les zones de guerre les plus dures du monde, en Irak, dans les Balkans, en Asie du Sud-est, et en Irlande du Nord. En 2003, il était commandant dans les forces britanniques en Afghanistan.

Titre original : Europe’s and U.S. Complicity in Kidnapping and Violence
par Richard Kemp, Gatestone Institute, le 20 juin 2014
Traduction : Jean-Pierre Bensimon

Voir encore:

Where are the Palestinian Mothers?
A culture that celebrates kidnapping is not fit for statehood.
Bret Stephens
WSJ

July 1, 2014

In March 2004 a Palestinian teenager named Hussam Abdo was spotted by Israeli soldiers behaving suspiciously as he approached the Hawara checkpoint in the West Bank. Ordered at gunpoint to raise his sweater, the startled boy exposed a suicide vest loaded with nearly 20 pounds of explosives and metal scraps, constructed to maximize carnage. A video taken by a journalist at the checkpoint captured the scene as Abdo was given scissors to cut himself free of the vest, which had been strapped tight to his body in the expectation that it wouldn’t have to come off. He’s been in an Israeli prison ever since.

Abdo provided a portrait of a suicide bomber as a young man. He had an intellectual disability. He was bullied by classmates who called him "the ugly dwarf." He came from a comparatively well-off family. He had been lured into the bombing only the night before, with the promise of sex in the afterlife. His family was outraged that he had been recruited for martyrdom.

"I blame those who gave him the explosive belt," his mother, Tamam, told the Jerusalem Post, of which I was then the editor. "He’s a small child who can’t even look after himself."

Yet asked how she would have felt if her son had been a bit older, she added this: "If he was over 18, that would have been possible, and I might have even encouraged him to do it." In the West, most mothers would be relieved if their children merely refrained from getting a bad tattoo before turning 18.

***

I’ve often thought about Mrs. Abdo, and I’m thinking about her today on the news that the bodies of three Jewish teenagers, kidnapped on June 12, have been found near the city of Hebron "under a pile of rocks in an open field," as an Israeli military spokesman put it. Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16, had their whole lives ahead of them. The lives of their families will forever be wounded, or crippled, by heartbreak.

What about their killers? The Israeli government has identified two prime suspects, Amer Abu Aysha, 33, and Marwan Qawasmeh, 29, both of them Hamas activists. They are entitled to a presumption of innocence. Less innocent was the view offered by Mr. Abu Aysha’s mother.

"They’re throwing the guilt on him by accusing him of kidnapping," she told Israel’s Channel 10 news. "If he did the kidnapping, I’ll be proud of him."

It’s the same sentiment I heard expressed in 2005 in the Jabalya refugee camp near Gaza City by a woman named Umm Iyad. A week earlier, her son, Fadi Abu Qamar, had been killed in an attack on the Erez border crossing to Israel. She was dressed in mourning but her mood was joyful as she celebrated her son’s "martyrdom operation." He was just 21.

Here’s my question: What kind of society produces such mothers? Whence the women who cheer on their boys to blow themselves up or murder the children of their neighbors?

Well-intentioned Western liberals may prefer not to ask, because at least some of the conceivable answers may upset the comforting cliché that all human beings can relate on some level, whatever the cultural differences. Or they may accuse me of picking a few stray anecdotes and treating them as dispositive, as if I’m the only Western journalist to encounter the unsettling reality of a society sunk into a culture of hate. Or they can claim that I am ignoring the suffering of Palestinian women whose innocent children have died at Israeli hands.

But I’m not ignoring that suffering. To kill innocent people deliberately is odious, to kill them accidentally or "collaterally" is, at a minimum, tragic. I just have yet to meet the Israeli mother who wants to raise her boys to become kidnappers and murderers—and who isn’t afraid of saying as much to visiting journalists.

***

Because everything that happens in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is bound to be the subject of political speculation and news analysis, it’s easy to lose sight of the raw human dimension. So it is with the murder of the boys: How far will Israel go in its retaliation? What does it mean for the future of the Fatah-Hamas coalition? What about the peace process, such as it is?

These questions are a distraction from what ought to be the main point. Three boys went missing one night, and now we know they are gone. If nothing else, their families will have a sense of finality and a place to mourn. And Israelis will know they are a nation that leaves no stone unturned to find its missing children.

As for the Palestinians and their inveterate sympathizers in the West, perhaps they should note that a culture that too often openly celebrates martyrdom and murder is not fit for statehood, and that making excuses for that culture only makes it more unfit. Postwar Germany put itself through a process of moral rehabilitation that began with a recognition of what it had done. Palestinians who want a state should do the same, starting with the mothers.

Voir enfin:

Journée du Judaïsme : l’Eglise polonaise dévoile un tableau longtemps caché

La Voix de la Russie | L’Eglise catholique de Pologne a célébré jeudi la Journée annuelle du Judaïsme en dévoilant un tableau longtemps caché, car présentant un meurtre rituel choquant, annonce l’AFP.

La grande toile du peintre du XVIIIe siècle Charles de Prévôt, ayant pour thème le meurtre rituel d’enfants chrétiens perpétré par des Juifs, est longtemps restée cachée par un rideau rouge dans la cathédrale de Sandomierz (sud de la Pologne), à la suite des protestations émanant aussi bien des Juifs que des catholiques.

Mais cette année, l’Eglise a décidé, avec le soutien de la communauté juive de Pologne, de montrer au public ce tableau, accompagné d’une plaque expliquant que la peinture était historiquement incorrecte : les Juifs ne pouvaient en réalité commettre de meurtres rituels, car leur religion l’interdisait.

Le grand rabbin de Pologne Michael Schudrich s’est réjoui de l’initiative de présenter au public le tableau de Prévôt Meurtre rituel, caché depuis 2006.

Ce tableau « a joué un rôle sanglant dans l’histoire. Vous savez que des Juifs ont été assassinés après de telles accusations. Mais je pense que le cacher, c’est en quelque sorte oublier ou nier un passé douloureux », a déclaré le rabbin à l’AFP.

La décision de dévoiler le tableau a été prise par la Commission de l’épiscopat chargée du dialogue avec le judaïsme, et le texte de la plaque explicative a été rédigé avec le concours de la communauté juive de Pologne.

Il y a actuellement, selon diverses estimations, entre 8.000 et 40.000 juifs dans ce pays comptant 38 millions d’habitants. La vie juive y renaît avec diverses manifestations culturelles et religieuse mais l’antisémitisme n’a pas complètement disparu, alimenté par des groupes ultranationalistes et ultracatholiques.

Voir par ailleurs:

FOOTBALL La dérive raciste des supporters du Beitar Jérusalem
Ce club israélien a subi ces dernières semaines des actes de violence de la part de ses supporters, en colère contre le recrutement de deux joueurs musulmans dans l’équipe. Une affaire qui choque le pays.
Paul Grisot
Courrier international
19 février 2013

Des supporters du Beitar Jerusalem avec une bannière "Votre haîne a brulé notre amour" pendant le match contre Bnei Sakhnin, en réaction aux actes violents des supporters racistes du club – AFP Des supporters du Beitar Jerusalem avec une bannière "Votre haîne a brulé notre amour" pendant le match contre Bnei Sakhnin, en réaction aux actes violents des supporters racistes du club – AFP
Quand Gabriel Kadiev, jeune joueur musulman de 20 ans originaire de Tchétchénie, est entré sur la pelouse à la 79e minute, les supporters extrémistes du Beitar lui ont réservé un accueil des plus détestables. "A chaque fois qu’il a touché la balle, le nouveau joueur a reçu des salves de sifflets et d’insultes au cours du match contre l’équipe de la ville israélo-arabe de Sakhnin qui s’est terminé sur un résultat nul [2-2]", raconte The Washington Post. Ce 10 février, c’était la première entrée en jeu de Kadiev au Teddy Stadium. Il est l’un des deux joueurs musulmans de Tchétchénie recrutés il y a peu par le Beitar Jérusalem.

C’est la première fois que des joueurs musulmans intègrent l’équipe du Beitar, seul club israélien à ne compter jusqu’ici que des joueurs juifs dans son effectif. Un recrutement "qui a plongé le club dans un scandale national et international, et suscité de nombreux appels à contrer le racisme manifeste d’un noyau dur de supporters", note The Guardian. Cette frange extrême, dont le slogan favori est "Mort aux Arabes !" et qui a l’habitude d’étendre dans les tribunes une bannière avec l’inscription "Beitar pur pour toujours", a violemment réagi à l’arrivée des deux joueurs musulmans. Un accès de violence raciste sans précédent dans l’histoire du club. "Depuis leur arrivée à Jérusalem, [les deux joueurs] subissent railleries et harcèlement, note The World. Quatre supporters du Beitar ont été accusés d’actes de violence à caractère raciste. Et le vendredi 8 février, un incendie d’origine criminelle a visé les locaux du club de Jérusalem", poursuit le site d’information.

"Beitar était la surprise de la saison jusqu’à la mi-janvier. Mais depuis que les deux joueurs sont arrivés, l’équipe a perdu trois matchs d’affilée", explique Ha’Aretz. Les supporters les plus extrémistes – regroupés au sein du gang La Familia – ont alors cherché à "convaincre tout le monde que l’arrivée des deux musulmans [était] responsable du blocage mental qui empêche l’équipe de jouer", poursuit le quotidien israélien. Et ce dernier ajoute : "La vérité, c’est que le Beitar est devenu moins bon récemment. Le club avait désespérément besoin de l’arrivée de nouveaux joueurs pour élever le niveau de l’équipe, malgré des finances en piteux état."

Dans ce contexte, les autorités redoutaient le match contre Sakhnin, et un dispositif de sécurité exceptionnel a été déployé autour du Teddy Stadium : 700 policiers ont interdit l’accès au stade à toute personne portant des symboles d’appartenance à La Familia. Ces mesures ont semblé fonctionner au début du match, mais l’atmosphère s’est tendue lorsque les visiteurs ont ouvert le score, doublant même la mise avant la mi-temps (0-2 à la pause). Ce n’est qu’avec l’égalisation du Beitar en seconde période que les supporters se sont calmés – plusieurs d’entre eux ayant été expulsés par les forces de sécurité.

Le journal Ha’Aretz tient toutefois à nuancer le bilan, soulignant que de nombreux spectateurs ont applaudi l’entrée de Gabriel Kadiev, pour s’opposer aux hooligans. "Sur l’ensemble du match, [les membres de La Familia] ont perdu face aux supporters raisonnables de Beitar – largement majoritaires –, qui les ont tout simplement fait taire à chaque fois qu’ils tentaient d’empoisonner la partie", se réjouit Ha’Aretz.

Cependant, l’affaire a profondément choqué le pays, et les condamnations ont été unanimes. Le président Shimon Pérès a vivement condamné ces actes de violence, et le Premier ministre Benyamin Nétanyahou les a qualifiés de "honteux", ajoutant que "le peuple juif, [qui a] souffert de boycotts et de persécutions, devrait montrer la lumière aux autres nations", rapporte le Guardian. L’ancien Premier ministre Ehoud Olmert, fan du Beitar depuis quarante ans, a indiqué qu’il ne se rendrait plus aux matchs à cause du comportement des supporters : "Cette affaire nous concerne tous. Soit on bannit ce groupe raciste de nos terrains, soit on est tous comme eux. Tant que cela ne sera pas fait, je ne suivrai plus l’équipe."

Voir aussi:

D’où vient le «One, two, three, viva l’Algérie!»?

Mathieu Grégoire

Slate.fr

Mondial 2014
23.06.2014

Ou comment un slogan né dans les rangs des combattants pour l’indépendance algérienne a «colonisé» le foot, voire a inspiré le «Et 1, et 2, et 3 zéro» français.

On joue la 40e minute de jeu ce dimanche soir, lors d’un Corée du Sud-Algérie étincelant, le petit Abdelmoumene Djabou, mi-Messi, mi-Sammaritano, vient de marquer, les Fennecs mènent 3 buts à 0, et le slogan résonne de manière parfaite dans une bonne partie des rues:

«One, two, three, viva l’Algérie!»

A Paris, dans un bar bondé de la Butte aux Cailles, un plaisantin monte sur une table et livre un audacieux remix:

«One, two, three, et ce n’est pas fini!»

Même si vous ne connaissez aucun joueur de l’équipe d’Algérie, vous avez probablement déjà entendu cette punchline festive. Ses origines sont lointaines, bien plus anciennes que le «Et un, et deux, et trois zéro» de l’été 1998, peut-être vaguement inspiré, qui sait?

Il est sûr, en revanche, que l’expression prend ses racines au milieu des années 1950, à l’époque de la décolonisation. Les partisans de l’indépendance algérienne décident d’internationaliser leur message et se mettent à l’anglais: «Nous voulons être libres» est traduit en «We want to be free». Avec une petite contraction, cela donne «Want to free, Viva l’Algérie» et cela fait fureur dans de nombreuses manifestations.

Le 3 mai 1974, au stade Bouakeul d’Oran, l’équipe d’Algérie affronte le club anglais de Sheffield United. Belkedrouci, Lalmas et Belbahri inscrivent les trois buts de la sélection. En tribunes, les supporters des Verts transforment le slogan politique en:

«One, two, three, viva l’Algérie!»

Les fans de foot se l’accaparent pour la première fois, ils ne le lâcheront plus. Le chant commence à vraiment se répandre après la victoire de l’Algérie contre la France en finale des Jeux méditerranéens de 1975, puis aura un écho international en 1982, avec le brillant parcours des Fennecs au Mondial espagnol.

L’équipe d’Algérie enchaînant les résultats quelconques dans les années 1990 puis 2000, il retombera dans un relatif anonymat, avant de reverdir de façon spectaculaire en 2009, avec la qualification pour la Coupe du monde en Afrique du Sud, face à l’éternel rival égyptien.

Plusieurs chanteurs l’ont ensuite utilisé à toutes les sauces. Et notamment le band Groupe Torino & Milano, spécialisé dans les tubes footballisco-discos:

ou le duo Cheb Mahfoud-Cheba Sonia …


Hommage: Fouad Ajami ou l’anti-Edward Saïd (Edward Said accused him of having “unmistakably racist prescriptions")

24 juin, 2014
http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/kXV199fIWjw/0.jpgEdward Said, the Palestinian cultural critic who died in 2003, accused him of having “unmistakably racist prescriptions. The NYT
Après la chute des Twin Towers, des universitaires américains renommés, Bernard Lewis et Fouad Ajami en tête, ont avalisé cet orientalisme de stéréotypes, et fourni ainsi une caution intellectuelle au discours ambiant, néoconservateur et belliciste, affirmant que la démocratie était étrangère aux Arabes, qu’il fallait la leur imposer par la contrainte. Jean-Pierre Filiu
What makes self-examination for Arabs and Muslims, and particularly criticism of Islam in the West very difficult is the totally pernicious influence of Edward Said’s Orientalism. The latter work taught an entire generation of Arabs the art of self-pity – “ were it not for the wicked imperialists , racists and Zionists , we would be great once more ”- encouraged the Islamic fundamentalist generation of the 1980s , and bludgeoned into silence any criticism of Islam , and even stopped dead the research of eminent Islamologists who felt their findings might offend Muslims sensibilities , and who dared not risk being labelled “orientalist ”. The aggressive tone of Orientalism is what I have called “ intellectual terrorism ” , since it does not seek to convince by arguments or historical analysis but by spraying charges of racism, imperialism , Eurocentrism ,from a moral highground ; anyone who disagrees with Said has insult heaped upon him. The moral high ground is an essential element in Said’s tactics ; since he believes his position is morally unimpeachable , Said obviously thinks it justifies him in using any means possible to defend it , including the distortion of the views of eminent scholars , interpreting intellectual and political history in a highly tendentious way , in short twisting the truth. But in any case , he does not believe in the “truth”. (…) In order to achieve his goal of painting the West in general , and the discipline of Orientalism in particular , in as negative a way as possible , Said has recourse to several tactics . One of his preferred moves is to depict the Orient as a perpetual victim of Western imperialism ,dominance,and aggression. The Orient is never seen as an actor , an agent with free-will , or designs or ideas of its own . It is to this propensity that we owe that immature and unattractive quality of much contemporary Middle Eastern culture , self-pity , and the belief that all its ills are the result of Western -Zionist conspiracies. Here is an example of Said’s own belief in the usual conspiracies taken from “ The Question of Palestine ”: It was perfectly apparent to Western supporters of Zionism like Balfour that the colonization of Palestine was made a goal for the Western powers from the very beginning of Zionist planning : Herzl used the idea , Weizmann used it , every leading Israeli since has used it . Israel was a device for holding Islam – later the Soviet Union , or communism – at bay ”. So Israel was created to hold Islam at bay !
For a number of years now , Islamologists have been aware of the disastrous effect of Said’s Orientalism on their discipline. Professor Berg has complained that the latter’s influence has resulted in “ a fear of asking and answering potentially embarrassing questions – ones which might upset Muslim sensibilities ….”. Professor Montgomery Watt , now in his nineties , and one of the most respected Western Islamologists alive , takes Said to task for asserting that Sir Hamilton Gibb was wrong in saying that the master science of Islam was law and not theology .This , says Watt , “ shows Said’s ignorance of Islam ” . But Watt , rather unfairly ,adds , “ since he is from a Christian Arab background ”. Said is indeed ignorant of Islam , but surely not because he is a Christian since Watt and Gibb themselves were devout Christians . Watt also decries Said’s tendency to ascribe dubious motives to various writers , scholars and stateman such as Gibb and Lane , with Said committing doctrinal blunders such as not realising that non-Muslims could not marry Muslim women. R.Stephen Humphreys found Said’s book important in some ways because it showed how some Orientalists were indeed “ trapped within a vision that portrayed Islam and the Middle East as in some way essentially different from ‘the West ’ ” . Nonetheless , “Edward Said’s analysis of Orientalism is overdrawn and misleading in many ways , and purely as [a] piece of intellectual history , Orientalism is a seriously flawed book .” Even more damning , Said’s book actually discouraged , argues Humphreys , the very idea of modernization of Middle Eastern societies . “In an ironic way , it also emboldened the Islamic activists and militants who were then just beginning to enter the political arena . These could use Said to attack their opponents in the Middle East as slavish ‘Westernists’, who were out of touch with the authentic culture and values of their own countries . Said’s book has had less impact on the study of medieval Islamic history – partly because medievalists know how distorted his account of classical Western Orientalism really is ….”.  Even scholars praised by Said in Orientalism do not particularly like his analysis , arguments or conclusions .Maxime Rodinson thinks “ as usual , [ Said’s ] militant stand leads him repeatedly to make excessive statements ” , due , no doubt , to the fact that Said was “ inadequately versed in the practical work of the Orientalists ”. Rodinson also calls Said’s polemic and style “ Stalinist ”. While P.J.Vatikiotis wrote , “ Said introduced McCarthyism into Middle Eastern Studies ”. Jacques Berque , also praised by Said , wrote that the latter had “ done quite a disservice to his countrymen in allowing them to believe in a Western intelligence coalition against them ”. For Clive Dewey , Said’s book “ was , technically ,so bad ; in every respect , in its use of sources , in its deductions , it lacked rigour and balance .The outcome was a caricature of Western knowledge of the Orient , driven by an overtly political agenda .Yet it clearly touched a deep vein of vulgar prejudice running through American academe ”. The most famous modern scholar who not only replied to but who mopped the floor with Said was ,of course,Bernard Lewis .Lewis points to many serious errors of history ,interpretation , analysis and omission . Lewis has never been answered let alone refuted . Lewis points out that even among British and French scholars on whom Said concentrates , he does not mention at all Claude Cahen , Lévi-Provençal , Henri Corbin ,Marius Canard , Charles Pellat , William and George Marçais , William Wright , or only mentioned in passing ,usually in a long list of names , scholars like R.A.Nicholson , Guy Le Strange , Sir Thomas Arnold , and E.G.Browne. “ Even for those whom he does cite , Mr.Said makes a remarkably arbitrary choice of works . His common practice indeed is to omit their major contributions to scholarship and instead fasten on minor or occasional writings ”. Said even fabricates lies about eminent scholars : “ Thus in speaking of the late –eighteenth early-nineteenth-century French Orientalist Silvestre de Sacy , Mr.Said remarks that ‘he ransacked the Oriental archives ….What texts he isolated , he then brought back ; he doctored them …” If these words bear any meaning at all it is that Sacy was somehow at fault in his access to these documents and then committed the crime of tampering with them .This outrageous libel on a great scholar is without a shred of truth ”. Another false accusation that Said flings out is that Orientalists never properly discussed the Oriental’s economic activities until Rodinson’s Islam and Capitalism (1966) .This shows Said’s total ignorance of the works of Adam Mez , J.H.Kramers , W.Björkman , V.Barthold , Thomas Armold , all of whom dealt with the economic activities of Muslims . As Rodinson himself points out elsewhere , one of the three scholars who was a pioneer in this field was Bernard Lewis . Said also talks of Islamic Orientalism being cut off from developments in other fields in the humanities , particularly the economic and social. But this again only reveals Said’s ignorance of the works of real Orientalists rather than those of his imagination . As Rodinson says the sociology of Islam is an ancient subject , citing the work of R.Lévy . Rodinson then points out that Durkheim’s celebrated journal L’Année sociologique listed every year starting from the first decades of the XX century a certain number of works on Islam .
It must have been particularly galling for Said to see the hostile reviews of his Orientalism from Arab , Iranian or Asian intellectuals , some of whom he admired and singled out for praise in many of his works . For example , Nikki Keddie , praised in Covering Islam , talked of the disastrous influence of Orientalism , even though she herself admired parts of it : “ I think that there has been a tendency in the Middle East field to adopt the word “ orientalism” as a generalized swear-word essentially referring to people who take the “wrong” position on the Arab-Israeli dispute or to people who are judged too “conservative ”. It has nothing to do with whether they are good or not good in their disciplines .So “orientalism” for may people is a word that substitutes for thought and enables people to dismiss certain scholars and their works .I think that is too bad .It may not have been what Edward Said meant at all , but the term has become a kind of slogan ”.  Nikki Keddie also noted that the book “ could also be used in a dangerous way because it can encourage people to say , ‘You Westerners , you can’t do our history right , you can’t study it right , you really shouldn’t be studying it , we are the only ones who can study our own history properly ”. Albert Hourani , who is much admired by Said , made a similar point , “ I think all this talk after Edward’s book also has a certain danger .There is a certain counter-attack of Muslims , who say nobody understands Islam except themselves ”. Hourani went further in his criticism of Said’s Orientalism : “ Orientalism has now become a dirty word .Nevertheless it should be used for a perfectly respected discipline ….I think [ Said] carries it too far when he says that the orientalists delivered the Orient bound to the imperial powers ….Edward totally ignores the German tradition and philosophy of history which was the central tradition of the orientalists ….I think Edward’s other books are admirable ….”. Similarly , Aijaz Ahmed thought Orientalism was a “deeply flawed book” , and would be forgotten when the dust settled , whereas Said’s books on Palestine would be remembered. Kanan Makiya , the eminent Iraqi scholar , chronicled Said’s disastrous influence particularly in the Arab world : “ Orientalism as an intellectual project influenced a whole generation of young Arab scholars , and it shaped the discipline of modern Middle East studies in the 1980s .The original book was never intended as a critique of contemporary Arab politics , yet it fed into a deeply rooted populist politics of resentment against the West .The distortions it analyzed came from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries , but these were marshaled by young Arab and “ pro-Arab ” scholars into an intellectual-political agenda that was out of kilter with the real needs of Arabs who were living in a world characterized by rapidly escalating cruelty , not ever-increasing imperial domination .The trajectory from Said’s Orientalism to his Covering Islam …is premised on the morally wrong idea that the West is to be blamed in the here-and-now for its long nefarious history of association with the Middle East .Thus it unwittingly deflected from the real problems of the Middle East at the same time as it contributed more bitterness to the armory of young impressionable Arabs when there was already far too much of that around .” Orientalism , continues , Makiya , “ makes Arabs feel contented with the way they are , instead of making them rethink fundamental assumptions which so clearly haven’t worked ….They desperately need to unlearn ideas such as that “ every European ” in what he or she has to say about the world is or was a “racist” ….The ironical fact is that the book was given the attention it received in the “almost totally ethnocentric ” West was largely because its author was a Palestinian ….”. Though he finds much to admire in Said’s Orientalism , the Syrian philosopher Sadiq al- ‘Azm finds that “the stylist and polemicist in Edward Said very often runs away with the systematic thinker ”. Al-‘Azm also finds Said guilty of the very essentialism that Said ostensibly sets out to criticise , perpetuating the distinction between East and West .Said further renders a great disservice to those who wish to examine the difficult question of how one can study other cultures from a libertarian perspective .Al-‘Azm recognizes Said anti-scientific bent , and defends certain Orientalist theses from Said’s criticism ; for example , al-‘Azm says : “ I cannot agree with Said that their “ Orientalist mentality ”blinded them to the realities of Muslim societies and definitively distorted their views of the East in general .For instance : isn’t it true , on the whole , that the inhabitants of Damascus and Cairo today feel the presence of the transcendental in their lives more palpably and more actively than Parisians and Londoners ? Isn’t it tue that religion means everything to the contemporary Moroccan , Algerian and Iranian peasant in amnner it cannot mean for the American farmer or the member of a Russian kolkhoz ? And isn’t it a fact that the belief in the laws of nature is more deeply rooted in the minds of university students in Moscow and New York than among the students of al-Azhar and of Teheran University ”. Ibn Warraq
Fouad Ajami would have been amused, but not surprised, to read his own obituary in the New York Times. "Edward Said, the Palestinian cultural critic who died in 2003, accused [Ajami] of having ‘unmistakably racist prescriptions,’" quoted obituarist Douglas Martin. Thus was Said, the most mendacious, self-infatuated and profitably self-pitying of Arab-American intellectuals—a man whose account of his own childhood cannot be trusted—raised from the grave to defame, for one last time, the most honest and honorable and generous of American intellectuals, no hyphenation necessary. Ajami (…) first made his political mark as an advocate for Palestinian nationalism. For those who knew Ajami mainly as a consistent advocate of Saddam Hussein’s ouster, it’s worth watching a YouTube snippet of his 1978 debate with Benjamin Netanyahu, in which Ajami makes the now-standard case against Israeli iniquity. Today Mr. Netanyahu sounds very much like his 28-year-old self. But Ajami changed. He was, to borrow a phrase, mugged by reality. By the 1980s, he wrote, "Arab society had run through most of its myths, and what remained in the wake of the word, of the many proud statements people had made about themselves and their history, was a new world of cruelty, waste, and confusion." What Ajami did was to see that world plain, without the usual evasions and obfuscations and shifting of blame to Israel and the U.S. Like Sidney Hook or Eric Hoffer, the great ex-communists of a previous generation, his honesty, courage and intelligence got the better of his ideology; he understood his former beliefs with the hard-won wisdom of the disillusioned. (…) Ajami understood the Arab world as only an insider could—intimately, sympathetically, without self-pity. And he loved America as only an immigrant could—with a depth of appreciation and absence of cynicism rarely given to the native-born. If there was ever an error in his judgment, it’s that he believed in people—Arabs and Americans alike—perhaps more than they believed in themselves. It was the kind of mistake only a generous spirit could make. Bret Stephens
Ce qui caractérise pour l’essentiel Ajami n’est pas sa foi religieuse (s’il en a une au sens traditionnel) mais son appréciation sans égal de l’ironie historique – l’ironie , par exemple, dans le fait qu’en éliminant la simple figure de Saddam Hussein nous ayons brutalement contraint un Monde arabe qui ne s’y attendait pas à un règlement de comptes général; l’ironie que la véhémence même de l’insurrection irakienne puisse au bout du compte la vaincre et l’humilier sur son propre terrain et pourrait déjà avoir commencé à le faire; l’ironie que l’Iran chiite pourrait bien maudire le jour où ses cousins chiites en Irak ont été libérés par les Américains. Et ironie pour ironie, Ajami est clairement épaté qu’un membre de l’establishment pétrolier américain, lui-même fils d’un président qui en 1991 avait appelé les Chiites irakiens à l’insurrection contre un Saddam Hussein blessé pour finalement les laisser se faire massacrer, ait été amené à s’exclamer en septembre 2003: Comme dictature, l’Irak avait un fort pouvoir de déstabilisation du Moyen-Orient. Comme démocratie, il aura un fort pouvoir d’inspiration pour le Moyen-Orient. Victor Davis Hanson
The relations between Islam and Christianity, both Orthodox and Western, have often been stormy. Each has been the other’s Other. The 20th-century conflict between liberal democracy and Marxist-Leninism is only a fleeting and superficial historical phenomenon compared to the continuing and deeply conflictual relation between Islam and Christianity. Samuel Huntington
Nearly 15 years on, Huntington’s thesis about a civilizational clash seems more compelling to me than the critique I provided at that time. In recent years, for example, the edifice of Kemalism has come under assault, and Turkey has now elected an Islamist to the presidency in open defiance of the military-bureaucratic elite. There has come that “redefinition” that Huntington prophesied. To be sure, the verdict may not be quite as straightforward as he foresaw. The Islamists have prevailed, but their desired destination, or so they tell us, is still Brussels: in that European shelter, the Islamists shrewdly hope they can find protection against the power of the military. (…) Huntington had the integrity and the foresight to see the falseness of a borderless world, a world without differences. (He is one of two great intellectual figures who peered into the heart of things and were not taken in by globalism’s conceit, Bernard Lewis being the other.) I still harbor doubts about whether the radical Islamists knocking at the gates of Europe, or assaulting it from within, are the bearers of a whole civilization. They flee the burning grounds of Islam, but carry the fire with them. They are “nowhere men,” children of the frontier between Islam and the West, belonging to neither. If anything, they are a testament to the failure of modern Islam to provide for its own and to hold the fidelities of the young. More ominously perhaps, there ran through Huntington’s pages an anxiety about the will and the coherence of the West — openly stated at times, made by allusions throughout. The ramparts of the West are not carefully monitored and defended, Huntington feared. Islam will remain Islam, he worried, but it is “dubious” whether the West will remain true to itself and its mission. Clearly, commerce has not delivered us out of history’s passions, the World Wide Web has not cast aside blood and kin and faith. It is no fault of Samuel Huntington’s that we have not heeded his darker, and possibly truer, vision. Fouad Ajami
There should be no illusions about the sort of Arab landscape that America is destined to find if, or when, it embarks on a war against the Iraqi regime. There would be no "hearts and minds" to be won in the Arab world, no public diplomacy that would convince the overwhelming majority of Arabs that this war would be a just war. An American expedition in the wake of thwarted UN inspections would be seen by the vast majority of Arabs as an imperial reach into their world, a favor to Israel, or a way for the United States to secure control over Iraq’s oil. No hearing would be given to the great foreign power. (…) America ought to be able to live with this distrust and discount a good deal of this anti-Americanism as the "road rage" of a thwarted Arab world – the congenital condition of a culture yet to take full responsibility for its self-inflicted wounds. There is no need to pay excessive deference to the political pieties and givens of the region. Indeed, this is one of those settings where a reforming foreign power’s simpler guidelines offer a better way than the region’s age-old prohibitions and defects. Fouad Ajami
The current troubles of the Obama presidency can be read back into its beginnings. Rule by personal charisma has met its proper fate. The spell has been broken, and the magician stands exposed. We need no pollsters to tell us of the loss of faith in Mr. Obama’s policies—and, more significantly, in the man himself. Charisma is like that. Crowds come together and they project their needs onto an imagined redeemer. The redeemer leaves the crowd to its imagination: For as long as the charismatic moment lasts—a year, an era—the redeemer is above and beyond judgment. Fouad Ajami
[Bush] can definitely claim paternity…One despot fell in 2003. We decapitated him. Two despots, in Tunisia and Egypt, fell, and there is absolutely a direct connection between what happened in Iraq in 2003 and what’s happening today throughout the rest of the Arab world. (…) It wasn’t American tanks [that brought about this moment]…It was a homegrown enterprise. It was Egyptians, Tunisians, Libyans conquering their fear – people went out and conquered fear and did something amazing. Fouad Ajami
The United States will have to be prepared for and accept the losses and adversity that are an integral part of staying on, rightly, in so tangled and difficult a setting. Fouad Ajami
The mask of the Assad regime finally falls.. Fouad Ajami
The Iraqis needn’t trumpet the obvious fact in broad daylight, but the balance of power in the Persian Gulf would be altered for the better by a security arrangement between the United States and the government in Baghdad. (…) There remains, of course, the pledge given by presidential candidate Barack Obama that a President Obama would liquidate the American military role in Iraq by the end of 2011. That pledge was one of the defining themes of his bid for the presidency, and it endeared him to the “progressives” within his own party, who had been so agitated and mobilized against the Iraq war. But Barack Obama is now the standard-bearer of America’s power. He has broken with the “progressives” over Afghanistan, the use of drones in Pakistan, Guantánamo, military tribunals, and a whole host of national security policies that have (nearly) blurred the line between his policies and those of his predecessor. The left has grumbled, but, in the main, it has bowed to political necessity. At any rate, the fury on the left that once surrounded the Iraq war has been spent; a residual American presence in Iraq would fly under the radar of the purists within the ranks of the Democratic Party. (…) The enemy will have a say on how things will play out for American forces in Iraq. Iran and its Iraqi proxies can be expected to do all they can to make the American presence as bloody and costly as possible. A long, leaky border separates Iran from Iraq; movement across it is quite easy for Iranian agents and saboteurs. They can come in as “pilgrims,” and there might be shades of Lebanon in the 1980s, big deeds of terror that target the American forces.  (…) Even in the best of worlds, an American residual presence in Iraq will have its costs and heartbreak. But the United States will have to be prepared for and accept the losses and adversity that are an integral part of staying on, rightly, in so tangled and difficult a setting. Fouad Ajami
L’argument selon lequel la liberté ne peut venir que de l’intérieur et ne peut être offerte à des peuples lointains est bien plus fausse que l’on croit. Dans toute l’histoire moderne, la fortune de la liberté a toujours dépendu de la volonté de la ou des puissances dominantes du moment. Le tout récemment disparu professeur Samuel P. Huntington avait développé ce point de la manière la plus détaillée. Dans 15 des 29 pays démocratiques en 1970, les régimes démocratiques avaient été soit initiés par une puissance étrangère soit étaient le produit de l’indépendance contre une occupation étrangère. (…) Tout au long du flux et du reflux de la liberté, la puissance est toujours restée importante et la liberté a toujours eu besoin de la protection de grandes puissances. Le pouvoir d’attraction des pamphlets de Mill, Locke et Paine était fondé sur les canons de la Pax Britannica, et sur la force de l’Amérique quand la puissance britannique a flanché.  (…) L’ironie est maintenant évidente: George W. Bush comme force pour l’émancipation des terres musulmanes et Barack Hussein Obama en messager des bonnes vieilles habitudes. Ainsi c’est le plouc qui porte au monde le message que les musulmans et les Arabes n’ont pas la tyrannie dans leur ADN et l’homme aux fragments musulmans, kenyans et indonésiens dans sa propre vie et son identité qui annonce son acceptation de l’ordre établi. Mr. Obama pourrait encore reconnaître l’impact révolutionnaire de la diplomatie de son prédecesseur mais jusqu’à présent il s’est refusé à le faire. (…) Son soutien au " processus de paix" est un retour à la diplomatie stérile des années Clinton, avec sa croyance que le terrorisme prend sa source dans les revendications des Palestiniens. M. Obama et ses conseillers se sont gardés d’affirmer que le terrorisme a disparu, mais il y a un message indubitable donné par eux que nous pouvons retourner à nos propres affaires, que Wall Street est plus mortel et dangereux que la fameuse " rue Arabo-Musulmane".  Fouad Ajami
Two men bear direct responsibility for the mayhem engulfing Iraq: Barack Obama and Nouri al-Maliki. (…) This sad state of affairs was in no way preordained. In December 2011, Mr. Obama stood with Mr. Maliki and boasted that "in the coming years, it’s estimated that Iraq’s economy will grow even faster than China’s or India’s." But the negligence of these two men—most notably in their failure to successfully negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement that would have maintained an adequate U.S. military presence in Iraq—has resulted in the current descent into sectarian civil war. (…) With ISIS now reigning triumphant in Fallujah, in the oil-refinery town of Baiji, and, catastrophically, in Mosul, the Obama administration cannot plead innocence. Mosul is particularly explosive. It sits astride the world between Syria and Iraq and is economically and culturally intertwined with the Syrian territories. This has always been Mosul’s reality. There was no chance that a war would rage on either side of Mosul without it spreading next door. The Obama administration’s vanishing "red lines" and utter abdication in Syria were bound to compound Iraq’s troubles. Grant Mr. Maliki the harvest of his sectarian bigotry. He has ridden that sectarianism to nearly a decade in power. Mr. Obama’s follies are of a different kind. They’re sins born of ignorance. He was eager to give up the gains the U.S. military and the Bush administration had secured in Iraq. Nor did he possess the generosity of spirit to give his predecessors the credit they deserved for what they had done in that treacherous landscape. Fouad Ajami

Descente en règle dans le NYT et the Nation, silence radio dans les médias comme d’ailleurs dans l’édition en France, notice wikipedia en français de quatre lignes …

Quel meilleur hommage, pour un spécialiste du Monde arabe, que d’être accusé  de racisme par Edward Saïd ?

Et quel silence plus éloquent, au lendemain de sa mort et au moment même de la perte de l’Irak contre laquelle il avait tant averti l’Administration américaine, que celui de la presse française pour l’un des plus respectés spécialistes du Moyen-Orient ?

Qui, si l’on suit les médias qui prennent la peine de parler de lui, avait commis l’impardonnable péché d’appeler de ses voeux l’intervention alliée en Irak …

Et surtout, vis à vis de l’Illusioniste en chef de la Maison Blanche et coqueluche de nos médias, de ne jamais mâcher ses mots ?

Fouad Ajami, Commentator and Expert in Arab History, Dies at 68
Douglas Martin
The New York Times
June 22, 2014

Fouad Ajami, an academic, author and broadcast commentator on Middle East affairs who helped rally support for the United States invasion of Iraq in 2003 — partly by personally advising top policy makers — died on Sunday. He was 68.

The cause was cancer, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, where Mr. Ajami was a senior fellow, said in a statement

An Arab, Mr. Ajami despaired of autocratic Arab governments finding their own way to democracy, and believed that the United States must confront what he called a “culture of terrorism” after the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. He likened the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to Hitler.

Mr. Ajami strove to put Arab history into a larger perspective. He often referred to Muslim rage over losing power to the West in 1683, when a Turkish siege of Vienna failed. He said this memory had led to Arab self-pity and self-delusion as they blamed the rest of the world for their troubles. Terrorism, he said, was one result.

It was a view that had been propounded by Bernard Lewis, the eminent Middle East historian at Princeton and public intellectual, who also urged the United States to invade Iraq and advised President George W. Bush.

Most Americans became familiar with Mr. Ajami’s views on CBS News, CNN and the PBS programs “Charlie Rose” and “NewsHour,” where his distinctive beard and polished manner lent force to his opinions. He wrote more than 400 articles for magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, as well as a half-dozen books on the Middle East, some of which included his own experiences as a Shiite Muslim in majority Sunni societies.

Condoleezza Rice summoned him to the Bush White House when she was national security adviser, and he advised Paul Wolfowitz, then the deputy secretary of defense. In a speech in 2002, Vice President Dick Cheney invoked Mr. Ajami as predicting that Iraqis would greet liberation by the American military with joy.

In the years following the Iraqi invasion, Mr. Ajami continued to support the action as stabilizing. But he said this month that Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki had squandered an opportunity to unify the country after American intervention and become a dictator. More recently, he favored more aggressive policies toward Iran and Syria. Mr. Ajami’s harshest criticism was leveled at Arab autocrats, who by definition lacked popular support. But his use of words like “tribal,” “atavistic” and “clannish” to describe Arab peoples rankled some. So did his belief that Western nations should intervene in the region to correct wrongs. Edward Said, the Palestinian cultural critic who died in 2003, accused him of having “unmistakably racist prescriptions.”

Others praised him for balance. Daniel Pipes, a scholar who specializes in the Middle East, said in Commentary magazine in 2006 that Mr. Ajami had avoided “the common Arab fixation on the perfidy of Israel.”

Fouad Ajami was born on Sept. 19, 1945, at the foot of a castle built by Crusaders in Arnoun, a dusty village in southern Lebanon. His family came from Iran (the name Ajami means “Persian” in Arabic) and were prosperous tobacco farmers. When he was 4, the family moved to Beirut.

As a boy he was taunted by Sunni Muslim children for being Shiite and short, he wrote in “The Dream Palace of the Arabs: A Generation’s Odyssey” (1998), an examination of Arab intellectuals of the last two generations. As a teenager, he was enthusiastic about Arab nationalism, a cause he would later criticize. He also fell in love with American culture, particularly Hollywood movies, and especially Westerns. In 1963, a day or two before his 18th birthday, his family moved to the United States.

He attended Eastern Oregon College (now University), then earned a Ph.D. at the University of Washington after writing a thesis on international relations and world government. He next taught political science at Princeton. In 1980, the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University named him director of Middle East studies. He joined the Hoover Institution in 2011.

Mr. Ajami’s first book, “The Arab Predicament: Arab Political Thought and Practice Since 1967” (1981), explored the panic and sense of vulnerability in the Arab world after Israel’s victory in the 1967 war. His next book, “The Vanishing Imam: Musa al Sadr and the Shia of Lebanon” (1986), profiled an Iranian cleric who helped transform Lebanese Shia from “a despised minority” to effective successful political actors. For the 1988 book “Beirut: City of Regrets,” Mr. Ajami provided a long introduction and some text to accompany a photographic essay by Eli Reed.

“The Dream Palace of the Arabs” told of how a generation of Arab intellectuals tried to renew their homelands’ culture through the forces of modernism and secularism. The Christian Science Monitor called it “a cleareyed look at the lost hopes of the Arabs.”

Partly because of that tone, some condemned the book as too negative. The scholar Andrew N. Rubin, writing in The Nation, said it “echoes the kind of anti-Arabism that both Washington and the pro-Israeli lobby have come to embrace.”

Mr. Ajami received many awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship in 1982 and a National Humanities Medal in 2006. He is survived by his wife, Michelle. In a profile in The Nation in 2003, Adam Shatz described Mr. Ajami’s distinctive appearance, characterized by a “dramatic beard, stylish clothes and a charming, almost flirtatious manner.”

He continued: “On television, he radiates above-the-frayness, speaking with the wry, jaded authority that men in power admire, especially in men who have risen from humble roots. Unlike the other Arabs, he appears to have no ax to grind. He is one of us; he is the good Arab.”

Voir aussi:

The Native Informant
Fouad Ajami is the Pentagon’s favorite Arab.
Adam Shatz
April 10, 2003 | This article appeared in the April 28, 2003 edition of The Nation.

Late last August, at a reunion of Korean War veterans in San Antonio, Texas, Dick Cheney tried to assuage concerns that a unilateral, pre-emptive war against Iraq might "cause even greater troubles in that part of the world." He cited a well-known Arab authority: "As for the reaction of the Arab street, the Middle East expert Professor Fouad Ajami predicts that after liberation in Basra and Baghdad, the streets are sure to erupt in joy." As the bombs fell over Baghdad, just before American troops began to encounter fierce Iraqi resistance, Ajami could scarcely conceal his glee. "We are now coming into acquisition of Iraq," he announced on CBS News the morning of March 22. "It’s an amazing performance."

If Hollywood ever makes a film about Gulf War II, a supporting role should be reserved for Ajami, the director of Middle East Studies at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University. His is a classic American success story. Born in 1945 to Shiite parents in the remote southern Lebanese village of Arnoun and now a proud naturalized American, Ajami has become the most politically influential Arab intellectual of his generation in the United States. Condoleezza Rice often summons him to the White House for advice, and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, a friend and former colleague, has paid tribute to him in several recent speeches on Iraq. Although he has produced little scholarly work of value, Ajami is a regular guest on CBS News, Charlie Rose and the NewsHour With Jim Lehrer, and a frequent contributor to the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. His ideas are also widely recycled by acolytes like Thomas Friedman and Judith Miller of the Times.

Ajami’s unique role in American political life has been to unpack the unfathomable mysteries of the Arab and Muslim world and to help sell America’s wars in the region. A diminutive, balding man with a dramatic beard, stylish clothes and a charming, almost flirtatious manner, he has played his part brilliantly. On television, he radiates above-the-frayness, speaking with the wry, jaded authority that men in power admire, especially in men who have risen from humble roots. Unlike the other Arabs, he appears to have no ax to grind. He is one of us; he is the good Arab.

Ajami’s admirers paint him as a courageous gadfly who has risen above the tribal hatreds of the Arabs, a Middle Eastern Spinoza whose honesty has earned him the scorn of his brethren. Commentary editor-at-large Norman Podhoretz, one of his many right-wing American Jewish fans, writes that Ajami "has been virtually alone in telling the truth about the attitude toward Israel of the people from whom he stems." The people from whom Ajami "stems" are, of course, the Arabs, and Ajami’s ethnicity is not incidental to his celebrity. It lends him an air of authority not enjoyed by non-Arab polemicists like Martin Kramer and Daniel Pipes.

But Ajami is no gadfly. He is, in fact, entirely a creature of the American establishment. His once-luminous writing, increasingly a blend of Naipaulean clichés about Muslim pathologies and Churchillian rhetoric about the burdens of empire, is saturated with hostility toward Sunni Arabs in general (save for pro-Western Gulf Arabs, toward whom he is notably indulgent), and to Palestinians in particular. He invites comparison with Henry Kissinger, another émigré intellectual to achieve extraordinary prominence as a champion of American empire. Like Kissinger, Ajami has a suave television demeanor, a gravitas-lending accent, an instinctive solicitude for the imperatives of power and a cool disdain for the weak. And just as Kissinger cozied up to Nelson Rockefeller and Nixon, so has Ajami attached himself to such powerful patrons as Laurence Tisch, former chairman of CBS; Mort Zuckerman, the owner of US News & World Report; Martin Peretz, a co-owner of The New Republic; and Leslie Gelb, head of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Despite his training in political science, Ajami often sounds like a pop psychologist in his writing about the Arab world or, as he variously calls it, "the world of Araby," "that Arab world" and "those Arab lands." According to Ajami, that world is "gripped in a poisonous rage" and "wedded to a worldview of victimology," bad habits reinforced by its leaders, "megalomaniacs who never tell their people what can and cannot be had in the world of nations." There is, to be sure, a grain of truth in Ajami’s grim assessment. Progressive Arab thinkers from Sadeq al-Azm to Adonis have issued equally bleak indictments of Arab political culture, lambasting the dearth of self-criticism and the constant search for external scapegoats. Unlike these writers, however, Ajami has little sympathy for the people of the region, unless they happen to live within the borders of "rogue states" like Iraq, in which case they must be "liberated" by American force. The corrupt regimes that rule the Arab world, he has suggested, are more or less faithful reflections of the "Arab psyche": "Despots always work with a culture’s yearnings…. After all, a hadith, a saying attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, maintains ‘You will get the rulers you deserve.’" His own taste in regimes runs to monarchies like Kuwait. The Jews of Israel, it seems, are not just the only people in the region who enjoy the fruits of democracy; they are the only ones who deserve them.

Once upon a time, Ajami was an articulate and judicious critic both of Arab society and of the West, a defender of Palestinian rights and an advocate of decent government in the Arab world. Though he remains a shrewd guide to the hypocrisies of Arab leaders, his views on foreign policy now scarcely diverge from those of pro-Israel hawks in the Bush Administration. "Since the Gulf War, Fouad has taken leave of his analytic perspective to play to his elite constituency," said Augustus Richard Norton, a Middle East scholar at Boston University. "It’s very unfortunate because he could have made an astonishingly important contribution."

Seeking to understand the causes of Ajami’s transformation, I spoke to more than two dozen of his friends and acquaintances over the past several months. (Ajami did not return my phone calls or e-mails.) These men and women depicted a man at once ambitious and insecure, torn between his irascible intellectual independence and his even stronger desire to belong to something larger than himself. On the one hand, he is an intellectual dandy who, as Sayres Rudy, a former student, puts it, "doesn’t like groups and thinks people who join them are mediocre." On the other, as a Shiite among Sunnis, and as an émigré in America, he has always felt the outsider’s anxiety to please, and has adjusted his convictions to fit his surroundings. As a young man eager to assimilate into the urbane Sunni world of Muslim Beirut, he embraced pan-Arabism. Received with open arms by the American Jewish establishment in New York and Washington, he became an ardent Zionist. An informal adviser to both Bush administrations, he is now a cheerleader for the American empire.

The man from Arnoun appears to be living the American dream. He has a prestigious job and the ear of the President. Yet the price of power has been higher in his case than in Kissinger’s. Kissinger, after all, is a figure of renown among the self-appointed leaders of "the people from whom he stems" and a frequent speaker at Jewish charity galas, whereas Ajami is a man almost entirely deserted by his people, a pariah at what should be his hour of triumph. In Arnoun, a family friend told me, "Fouad is a black sheep because of his staunch support for the Israelis." Although he frequently travels to Tel Aviv and the Persian Gulf, he almost never goes to Lebanon. In becoming an American, he has become, as he himself has confessed, "a stranger in the Arab world."

Up From Lebanon

This is an immigrant’s tale.

It begins in Arnoun, a rocky hamlet in the south of Lebanon where Fouad al-Ajami was born on September 19, 1945. A prosperous tobacco-growing Shiite family, the Ajamis had come to Arnoun from Iran in the 1850s. (Their name, Arabic for "Persian," gave away their origins.)

When Ajami was 4, he moved with his family to Beirut, settling in the largely Armenian northeastern quarter, a neighborhood thick with orange orchards, pine trees and strawberry fields. As members of the rural Shiite minority, the country’s "hewers of wood and drawers of water," the Ajamis stood apart from the city’s dominant groups, the Sunni Muslims and the Maronite Christians. "We were strangers to Beirut," he has written. "We wanted to pass undetected in the modern world of Beirut, to partake of its ways." For the young "Shia assimilé," as he has described himself, "anything Persian, anything Shia, was anathema…. speaking Persianized Arabic was a threat to something unresolved in my identity." He tried desperately, but with little success, to pass among his Sunni peers. In the predominantly Sunni schools he attended, "Fouad was taunted for being a Shiite, and for being short," one friend told me. "That left him with a lasting sense of bitterness toward the Sunnis."

In the 1950s, Arab nationalism appeared to hold out the promise of transcending the schisms between Sunnis and Shiites, and the confessional divisions separating Muslims and Christians. Like his classmates, Ajami fell under the spell of Arab nationalism’s charismatic spokesman, the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser. At the same time, he was falling under the spell of American culture, which offered relief from the "ancestral prohibitions and phobias" of his "cramped land." Watching John Wayne films, he "picked up American slang and a romance for the distant power casting its shadow across us." On July 15, 1958, the day after the bloody overthrow of the Iraqi monarchy by nationalist army officers, Ajami’s two loves had their first of many clashes, when President Eisenhower sent the US Marines to Beirut to contain the spread of radical Arab nationalism. In their initial confrontation, Ajami chose Egypt’s leader, defying his parents and hopping on a Damascus-bound bus for one of Nasser’s mass rallies.

Ajami arrived in the United States in the fall of 1963, just before he turned 18. He did his graduate work at the University of Washington, where he wrote his dissertation on international relations and world government. At the University of Washington, Ajami gravitated toward progressive Arab circles. Like his Arab peers, he was shaken by the humiliating defeat of the Arab countries in the 1967 war with Israel, and he was heartened by the emergence of the PLO. While steering clear of radicalism, he often expressed horror at Israel’s brutal reprisal attacks against southern Lebanese villages in response to PLO raids.

apartment in New York. He made a name for himself there as a vocal supporter of Palestinian self-determination. One friend remembers him as "a fairly typical advocate of Third World positions." Yet he was also acutely aware of the failings of Third World states, which he unsparingly diagnosed in "The Fate of Nonalignment," a brilliant 1980/81 essay in Foreign Affairs. In 1980, when Johns Hopkins offered him a position as director of Middle East Studies at SAIS, a Washington-based graduate program, he took it.

Ajami’s Predicament

A year after arriving at SAIS, Ajami published his first and still best book, The Arab Predicament. An anatomy of the intellectual and political crisis that swept the Arab world following its defeat by Israel in the 1967 war, it is one of the most probing and subtle books ever written in English on the region. Ranging gracefully across political theory, literature and poetry, Ajami draws an elegant, often moving portrait of Arab intellectuals in their anguished efforts to put together a world that had come apart at the seams. The book did not offer a bold or original argument; like Isaiah Berlin’s Russian Thinkers, it provided an interpretive survey–respectful even when critical–of other people’s ideas. It was the book of a man who had grown disillusioned with Nasser, whose millenarian dream of restoring the "Arab nation" had run up against the hard fact that the "divisions of the Arab world were real, not contrived points on a map or a colonial trick." But pan-Arabism was not the only temptation to which the intellectuals had succumbed. There was radical socialism, and the Guevarist fantasies of the Palestinian revolution. There was Islamic fundamentalism, with its romance of authenticity and its embittered rejection of the West. And then there was the search for Western patronage, the way of Nasser’s successor, Anwar Sadat, who forgot his own world and ended up being devoured by it.

Ajami’s ambivalent chapter on Sadat makes for especially fascinating reading today. He praised Sadat for breaking with Nasserism and making peace with Israel, and perhaps saw something of himself in the "self-defined peasant from the dusty small village" who had "traveled far beyond the bounds of his world." But he also saw in Sadat’s story the tragic parable of a man who had become more comfortable with Western admirers than with his own people. When Sadat spoke nostalgically of his village–as Ajami now speaks of Arnoun–he was pandering to the West. Arabs, a people of the cities, would not be "taken in by the myth of the village." Sadat’s "American connection," Ajami suggested, gave him "a sense of psychological mobility," lifting some of the burdens imposed by his cramped world. And as his dependence on his American patrons deepened, "he became indifferent to the sensibilities of his own world."

Sadat was one example of the trap of seeking the West’s approval, and losing touch with one’s roots; V.S. Naipaul was another. Naipaul, Ajami suggested in an incisive 1981 New York Times review of Among the Believers, exemplified the "dilemma of a gifted author led by his obsessive feelings regarding the people he is writing about to a difficult intellectual and moral bind." Third World exiles like Naipaul, Ajami wrote, "have a tendency to…look at their own countries and similar ones with a critical eye," yet "these same men usually approach the civilization of the West with awe and leave it unexamined." Ajami preferred the humane, nonjudgmental work of Polish travel writer Ryszard Kapucinski: "His eye for human folly is as sharp as V.S. Naipaul. His sympathy and sorrow, however, are far deeper."

The Arab Predicament was infused with sympathy and sorrow, but these qualities were ignored by the book’s Arab critics in the West, who–displaying the ideological rigidity that is an unfortunate hallmark of exile politics–accused him of papering over the injustices of imperialism and "blaming the victim." To an extent, this was a fair criticism. Ajami paid little attention to imperialism, and even less to Israel’s provocative role in the region. What is more, his argument that "the wounds that mattered were self-inflicted" endeared him to those who wanted to distract attention from Palestine. Doors flew open. On the recommendation of Bernard Lewis, the distinguished British Orientalist at Princeton and a strong supporter of Israel, Ajami became the first Arab to win the MacArthur "genius" prize in 1982, and in 1983 he became a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. The New Republic began to publish lengthy essays by Ajami, models of the form that offer a tantalizing glimpse of the career he might have had in a less polarized intellectual climate. Pro-Israel intellectual circles groomed him as a rival to Edward Said, holding up his book as a corrective to Orientalism, Said’s classic study of how the West imagined the East in the age of empire.

In fact, Ajami shared some of Said’s anger about the Middle East. The Israelis, he wrote in an eloquent New York Times op-ed after the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, "came with a great delusion: that if you could pound men and women hard enough, if you could bring them to their knees, you could make peace with them." He urged the United States to withdraw from Lebanon in 1984, and he advised it to open talks with the Iranian government. Throughout the 1980s, Ajami maintained a critical attitude toward America’s interventions in the Middle East, stressing the limits of America’s ability to influence or shape a "tormented world" it scarcely understood. "Our arguments dovetailed," says Said. "There was an unspoken assumption that we shared the same kind of politics."

But just below the surface there were profound differences of opinion. Hisham Milhem, a Lebanese journalist who knows both men well, explained their differences to me by contrasting their views on Joseph Conrad. "Edward and Fouad are both crazy about Conrad, but they see in him very different things. Edward sees the critic of empire, especially in Heart of Darkness. Fouad, on the other hand, admires the Polish exile in Western Europe who made a conscious break with the old country."

Yet the old world had as much of a grip on Ajami as it did on Said. In southern Lebanon, Palestinian guerrillas had set up a state within a state. They often behaved thuggishly toward the Shiites, alienating their natural allies and recklessly exposing them to Israel’s merciless reprisals. By the time Israeli tanks rolled into Lebanon in 1982, relations between the two communities had so deteriorated that some Shiites greeted the invaders with rice and flowers. Like many Shiites, Ajami was fed up with the Palestinians, whose revolution had brought ruin to Lebanon. Arnoun itself had not been unscathed: A nearby Crusader castle, the majestic Beaufort, was now the scene of intense fighting.

In late May 1985, Ajami–now identifying himself as a Shiite from southern Lebanon–sparred with Said on the MacNeil Lehrer Report over the war between the PLO and Shiite Amal militia, then raging in Beirut’s refugee camps. A few months later, they came to verbal blows again, when Ajami was invited to speak at a Harvard conference on Islam and Muslim politics organized by Israeli-American academic Nadav Safran. After the Harvard Crimson revealed that the conference had been partly funded by the CIA, Ajami, at the urging of Said and the late Pakistani writer Eqbal Ahmad, joined a wave of speakers who were withdrawing from the conference. But Ajami, who was a protégé and friend of Safran, immediately regretted his decision. He wrote a blistering letter to Said and Ahmad a few weeks later, accusing them of "bringing the conflicts of the Middle East to this country" while "I have tried to go beyond them…. Therefore, my friends, this is the parting of ways. I hope never to encounter you again, and we must cease communication. Yours sincerely, Fouad Ajami."

The Tribal Turn

By now, the "Shia assimilé" had fervently embraced his Shiite identity. Like Sadat, he began to rhapsodize about his "dusty village" in wistful tones. The Vanished Imam, his 1986 encomium to Musa al-Sadr, the Iranian cleric who led the Amal militia before mysteriously disappearing on a 1978 visit to Libya, offers important clues into Ajami’s thinking of the time. A work of lyrical nationalist mythology, The Vanished Imam also provides a thinly veiled political memoir, recounting Ajami’s disillusionment with Palestinians, Arabs and the left, and his conversion to old-fashioned tribal politics.

The marginalized Shiites had found a home in Amal, and a spiritual leader in Sadr, a "big man" who is explicitly compared to Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim and credited with a far larger role than he actually played in Shiite politics. Writing of Sadr, Ajami might have been describing himself. Sadr is an Ajam–a Persian–with "an outsider’s eagerness to please." He is "suspicious of grand schemes," blessed with "a strong sense of pragmatism, of things that can and cannot be," thanks to which virtue he "came to be seen as an enemy of everything ‘progressive.’" "Tired of the polemics," he alone is courageous enough to stand up to the Palestinians, warning them not to "seek a ‘substitute homeland,’ watan badil, in Lebanon." Unlike the Palestinians, Ajami tells us repeatedly, the Shiites are realists, not dreamers; reformers, not revolutionaries. Throughout the book, a stark dichotomy is also drawn between Shiite and Arab nationalism, although, as one of his Shiite critics pointed out in a caustic review in the International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, "allegiance to Arab nationalist ideals…was paramount" in Sadr’s circles. The Shiites of Ajami’s imagination seem fundamentally different from other Arabs: a community that shares America’s aversion to the Palestinians, a "model minority" worthy of the West’s sympathy.

The Shiite critic of the Palestinians cut an especially attractive profile in the eyes of the American media. Most American viewers of CBS News, which made him a high-paid consultant in 1985, had no idea that he was almost completely out of step with the community for which he claimed to speak. By the time The Vanished Imam appeared, the Shiites, under the leadership of a new group, Hezbollah, had launched a battle to liberate Lebanon from Israeli control. Israeli soldiers were now greeted with grenades and explosives, rather than rice and flowers, and Arnoun became a hotbed of Hezbollah support. Yet Ajami displayed little enthusiasm for this Shiite struggle. He was also oddly silent about the behavior of the Israelis, who, from the 1982 invasion onward, had killed far more Shiites than either Arafat ("the Flying Dutchman of the Palestinian movement") or Hafez al-Assad (Syria’s "cruel enforcer"). The Shiites, he suggested, were "beneficiaries of Israel’s Lebanon war."

In the Promised Land

By the mid-1980s, the Middle Eastern country closest to Ajami’s heart was not Lebanon but Israel. He returned from his trips to the Jewish state boasting of traveling to the occupied territories under the guard of the Israel Defense Forces and of being received at the home of Teddy Kollek, then Jerusalem’s mayor. The Israelis earned his admiration because they had something the Palestinians notably lacked: power. They were also tough-minded realists, who understood "what can and cannot be had in the world of nations." The Palestinians, by contrast, were romantics who imagined themselves to be "exempt from the historical laws of gravity."

n 1986, Ajami had praised Musa al-Sadr as a realist for telling the Palestinians to fight Israel in the occupied territories, rather than in Lebanon. But when the Palestinians did exactly that, in the first intifada of 1987-93, it no longer seemed realistic to Ajami, who then advised them to swallow the bitter pill of defeat and pay for their bad choices. While Israeli troops shot down children armed only with stones, Ajami told the Palestinians they should give up on the idea of a sovereign state ("a phantom"), even in the West Bank and Gaza. When the PLO announced its support for a two-state solution at a 1988 conference in Algiers, Ajami called the declaration "hollow," its concessions to Israel inadequate. On the eve of the Madrid talks in the fall of 1991 he wrote, "It is far too late to introduce a new nation between Israel and Jordan." Nor should the American government embark on the "fool’s errand" of pressuring Israel to make peace. Under Ajami’s direction, the Middle East program of SAIS became a bastion of pro-Israel opinion. An increasing number of Israeli and pro-Israel academics, many of them New Republic contributors, were invited as guest lecturers. "Rabbi Ajami," as many people around SAIS referred to him, was also receiving significant support from a Jewish family foundation in Baltimore, which picked up the tab for the trips his students took to the Middle East every summer. Back in Lebanon, Ajami’s growing reputation as an apologist for Israel reportedly placed considerable strains on family members in Arnoun.

‘The Saudi Way’

Ajami also developed close ties during the 1980s to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which made him–as he often and proudly pointed out–the only Arab who traveled both to the Persian Gulf countries and to Israel. In 1985 he became an external examiner in the political science department at Kuwait University; he said "the place seemed vibrant and open to me." His major patrons, however, were Saudi. He has traveled to Riyadh many times to raise money for his program, sometimes taking along friends like Martin Peretz; he has also vacationed in Prince Bandar’s home in Aspen. Saudi hospitality–and Saudi Arabia’s lavish support for SAIS–bred gratitude. At one meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations, Ajami told a group that, as one participant recalls, "the Saudi system was a lot stronger than we thought, that it was a system worth defending, and that it had nothing to apologize for." Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, he faithfully echoed the Saudi line. "Rage against the West does not come naturally to the gulf Arabs," he wrote in 1990. "No great tales of betrayal are told by the Arabs of the desert. These are Palestinian, Lebanese and North African tales."

This may explain why Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 aroused greater outrage in Ajami than any act of aggression in the recent history of the Middle East. Neither Israel’s invasion of Lebanon nor the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre had caused him comparable consternation. Nor, for that matter, had Saddam’s slaughter of the Kurds in Halabja in 1988. This is understandable, of course; we all react more emotionally when the victims are friends. But we don’t all become publicists for war, as Ajami did that fateful summer, consummating his conversion to Pax Americana. What was remarkable was not only his fervent advocacy; it was his cavalier disregard for truth, his lurid rhetoric and his religious embrace of American power. In Foreign Affairs, Ajami, who knew better, described Iraq, the cradle of Mesopotamian civilization, a major publisher of Arabic literature and a center of the plastic arts, as "a brittle land…with little claim to culture and books and grand ideas." It was, in other words, a wasteland, led by a man who "conjures up Adolf Hitler."

Months before the war began, the Shiite from Arnoun, now writing as an American, in the royal "we," declared that US troops "will have to stay in the Gulf and on a much larger scale," since "we have tangible interests in that land. We stand sentry there in blazing clear daylight." After the Gulf War, Ajami’s cachet soared. In the early 1990s Harvard offered him a chair ("he turned it down because we expected him to be around and to work very hard," a professor told me), and the Council on Foreign Relations added him to its prestigious board of advisers last year. "The Gulf War was the crucible of change," says Augustus Richard Norton. "This immigrant from Arnoun, this man nobody had heard of from a place no one had heard of, had reached the peak of power. This was a true immigrant success story, one of those moments that make an immigrant grateful for America. And I think it implanted a deep sense of patriotism that wasn’t present before."

And, as Ajami once wrote of Sadat, "outside approval gave him the courage to defy" the Arabs, especially when it came to Israel. On June 3, 1992, hardly a year after Gulf War I, Ajami spoke at a pro-Israel fundraiser. Kissinger, the keynote speaker, described Arabs as congenital liars. Ajami chimed in, expressing his doubts that democracy would ever work in the Arab world, and recounting a visit to a Bedouin village where he "insisted on only one thing: that I be spared the ceremony of eating with a Bedouin."

Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, Ajami has been a consistent critic of the peace process–from the right. He sang the praises of each of Israel’s leaders, from the Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu, with his "filial devotion [to] the land he had agreed to relinquish," to Labor leader Ehud Barak, "an exemplary soldier." The Palestinians, he wrote, should be grateful to such men for "rescuing" them from defeat, and to Zionism for generously offering them "the possibility of their own national political revival." (True to form, the Palestinians showed "no gratitude.") A year before the destruction of Jenin, he proclaimed that "Israel is existentially through with the siege that had defined its history." Ajami’s Likudnik conversion was sealed by telling revisions of arguments he had made earlier in his career. Where he had once argued that the 1982 invasion of Lebanon aimed to "undermine those in the Arab world who want some form of compromise," he now called it a response to "the challenge of Palestinian terror."

Did Ajami really believe all this? In a stray but revealing comment on Sadat in The New Republic, he left room for doubt. Sadat, he said, was "a son of the soil, who had the fellah’s ability to look into the soul of powerful outsiders, to divine how he could get around them even as he gave them what they desired." Writing on politics, the man from Arnoun gave them what they desired. Writing on literature and poetry, he gave expression to the aesthete, the soulful elegist, even, at times, to the Arab. In his 1998 book, The Dream Palace of the Arabs, one senses, for the first time in years, Ajami’s sympathy for the world he left behind, although there is something furtive, something ghostly about his affection, as if he were writing about a lover he has taught himself to spurn. On rare occasions, Ajami revealed this side of himself to his students, whisking them into his office. Once the door was firmly shut, he would recite the poetry of Nizar Qabbani and Adonis in Arabic, caressing each and every line. As he read, Sayres Rudy told me, "I could swear his heart was breaking."

Ajami’s Solitude

September 11 exposed a major intelligence failure on Ajami’s part. With his obsessive focus on the menace of Saddam and the treachery of Arafat, he had missed the big story. Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers hailed from what he had repeatedly called the "benign political order" of Saudi Arabia; the "Saudi way" he had praised had come undone. Yet the few criticisms that Ajami directed at his patrons in the weeks and months after September 11 were curiously muted, particularly in contrast to the rage of most American commentators. Ajami’s venues in the American media, however, were willing to forgive his softness toward the Saudis. America was going to war with Muslims, and a trusted native informant was needed.

Other forces were working in Ajami’s favor. For George W. Bush and the hawks in his entourage, Afghanistan was merely a prelude to the war they really wanted to fight–the war against Saddam that Ajami had been spoiling for since the end of Gulf War I. As a publicist for Gulf War II, Ajami has abandoned his longstanding emphasis on the limits of American influence in that "tormented region." The war is being sold as the first step in an American plan to effect democratic regime change across the region, and Ajami has stayed on message. We now find him writing in Foreign Affairs that "the driving motivation of a new American endeavor in Iraq and in neighboring Arab lands should be modernizing the Arab world." The opinion of the Arab street, where Iraq is recruiting thousands of new jihadists, is of no concern to him. "We have to live with this anti-Americanism," he sighed recently on CBS. "It’s the congenital condition of the Arab world, and we have to discount a good deal of it as we press on with the task of liberating the Iraqis."

In fairness, Ajami has not completely discarded his wariness about American intervention. For there remains one country where American pressure will come to naught, and that is Israel, where it would "be hubris" to ask anything more of the Israelis, victims of "Arafat’s war." To those who suggest that the Iraq campaign is doomed without an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement, he says, "We can’t hold our war hostage to Arafat’s campaign of terror."

Fortunately, George W. Bush understands this. Ajami has commended Bush for staking out the "high moral ground" and for "putting Iran on notice" in his Axis of Evil speech. Above all, the President should not allow himself to be deterred by multilateralists like Secretary of State Colin Powell, "an unhappy, reluctant soldier, at heart a pessimist about American power." Unilateralism, Ajami says, is nothing to be ashamed of. It may make us hated in the "hostile landscape" of the Arab world, but, as he recently explained on the NewsHour, "it’s the fate of a great power to stand sentry in that kind of a world."

It is no accident that the "sentry’s solitude" has become the idée fixe of Ajami’s writing in recent years. For it is a theme that resonates powerfully in his own life. Like the empire he serves, Ajami is more influential, and more isolated, than he has ever been. In recent years he has felt a need to defend this choice in heroic terms. "All a man can betray is his conscience," he solemnly writes in The Dream Palace of the Arabs, citing a passage from Conrad. "The solitude Conrad chose is loathed by politicized men and women."

It is a breathtakingly disingenuous remark. Ajami may be "a stranger in the Arab world," but he can hardly claim to be a stranger to its politics. That is why he is quoted, and courted, by Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz. What Ajami abhors in "politicized men and women" is conviction itself. A leftist in the 1970s, a Shiite nationalist in the 1980s, an apologist for the Saudis in the 1990s, a critic-turned-lover of Israel, a skeptic-turned-enthusiast of American empire, he has observed no consistent principle in his career other than deference to power. His vaunted intellectual independence is a clever fiction. The only thing that makes him worth reading is his prose style, and even that has suffered of late. As Ajami observed of Naipaul more than twenty years ago, "he has become more and more predictable, too, with serious cost to his great gift as a writer," blinded by the "assumption that only men who live in remote, dark places are ‘denied a clear vision of the world.’" Like Naipaul, Ajami has forgotten that "darkness is not only there but here as well."

Voir également:

Middle East expert Fouad Ajami, supporter of U.S. war in Iraq, dies at 68
Ajami was known for his criticism of the Arab world’s despotic rulers, among them Hosni Mubarak, Muammar Gadhafi, and Hafez and Bashar Assad.
Ofer Aderet
Haaretz
Jun. 23, 2014

American-Lebanese intellectual and Middle East scholar Prof. Fouad Ajami has died of cancer, aged 68. He passed away Sunday in the United States.

Ajami, who was an expert on the Middle East, is remembered chiefly for his support of the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. He advised the Bush administration during that period. He was strongly opposed to the dictatorial regimes in the Arab countries, believed that the United States must confront “the culture of terror,” as he called it, and supported an assertive policy in regard to Iran and Syria.

Ajami immigrated to the United States from Lebanon with his family in 1963, when he was 18. At Princeton University, he stood out as a supporter of the Palestinians’ right to self-rule. He later went on to Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, where he was in charge of the Middle East studies program.

He became well-known for his appearances on current affairs programs on American television, the hundreds of articles he wrote in journals and newspapers, and the six books he published.

Ajami was very close to the administration of George W. Bush and served as an adviser to Condoleezza Rice while she was national security adviser, and to Paul Wolfowitz, who was deputy secretary of defense at the time. In a speech delivered in 2002, Vice President Dick Cheney claimed Ajami had said the Iraqis would greet their liberation by the Americans with rejoicing.

His support for the war in Iraq elicited harsh criticism. He reiterated this support in an interview with Haaretz in 2011, in which he said: “I still support that war, and I think that the liberals who attacked Bush in America and elsewhere, who attacked him mercilessly, need to reexamine their assumptions.”

Ajami was known for his criticism of the Arab world’s despotic rulers, among them Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, Muammar Gadhafi in Libya, and Hafez and Bashar Assad in Syria. He expressed optimism at the time of the Arab Spring, and had recently supported an assertive policy against Iran and Syria.

Fouad Ajami, Great American
His genius lay in the breadth of his scholarship and the quality of his human understanding.
Bret Stephens
The Wall Street Journal
June 23, 2014

Fouad Ajami would have been amused, but not surprised, to read his own obituary in the New York Times. "Edward Said, the Palestinian cultural critic who died in 2003, accused [Ajami] of having ‘unmistakably racist prescriptions,’" quoted obituarist Douglas Martin.

Thus was Said, the most mendacious, self-infatuated and profitably self-pitying of Arab-American intellectuals—a man whose account of his own childhood cannot be trusted—raised from the grave to defame, for one last time, the most honest and honorable and generous of American intellectuals, no hyphenation necessary.

Ajami, who died of prostate cancer Sunday in his summer home in Maine, was often described as among the foremost scholars of the modern Arab and Islamic worlds, and so he was. He was born in 1945 to a family of farmers in a Shiite village in southern Lebanon and was raised in Beirut in the politics of the age.

"I was formed by an amorphous Arab nationalist sensibility," he wrote in his 1998 masterpiece, "The Dream Palace of the Arabs." He came to the U.S. for college and graduate school, became a U.S. citizen, and first made his political mark as an advocate for Palestinian nationalism. For those who knew Ajami mainly as a consistent advocate of Saddam Hussein’s ouster, it’s worth watching a YouTube snippet of his 1978 debate with Benjamin Netanyahu, in which Ajami makes the now-standard case against Israeli iniquity.

Today Mr. Netanyahu sounds very much like his 28-year-old self. But Ajami changed. He was, to borrow a phrase, mugged by reality. By the 1980s, he wrote, "Arab society had run through most of its myths, and what remained in the wake of the word, of the many proud statements people had made about themselves and their history, was a new world of cruelty, waste, and confusion."

What Ajami did was to see that world plain, without the usual evasions and obfuscations and shifting of blame to Israel and the U.S. Like Sidney Hook or Eric Hoffer, the great ex-communists of a previous generation, his honesty, courage and intelligence got the better of his ideology; he understood his former beliefs with the hard-won wisdom of the disillusioned.

He also understood with empathy and without rancor. Converts tend to be fanatics. But Ajami was too interested in people—in their motives and aspirations, their deceits and self-deceits, their pride, shame and unexpected nobility—to hate anyone except the truly despicable, namely tyrants and their apologists. To read Ajami is to see that his genius lay not only in the breadth of the scholarship or the sharpness of political insight but also in the quality of human understanding. If Joseph Conrad had been reborn as a modern-day academic, he would have been Fouad Ajami.

Consider a typical example, from an op-ed he wrote for these pages in February 2013 on the second anniversary of the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime:

"Throughout [Mubarak's] reign, a toxic brew poisoned the life of Egypt—a mix of anti-modernism, anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism. That trinity ran rampant in the universities and the professional syndicates and the official media. As pillage had become the obsession of the ruling family and its retainers, the underclass was left to the rule of darkness and to a culture of conspiracy."

Or here he is on Barack Obama’s fading political appeal, from a piece from last November:

"The current troubles of the Obama presidency can be read back into its beginnings. Rule by personal charisma has met its proper fate. The spell has been broken, and the magician stands exposed. We need no pollsters to tell us of the loss of faith in Mr. Obama’s policies—and, more significantly, in the man himself. Charisma is like that. Crowds come together and they project their needs onto an imagined redeemer. The redeemer leaves the crowd to its imagination: For as long as the charismatic moment lasts—a year, an era—the redeemer is above and beyond judgment."

A publisher ought to collect these pieces. Who else could write so profoundly and so well? Ajami understood the Arab world as only an insider could—intimately, sympathetically, without self-pity. And he loved America as only an immigrant could—with a depth of appreciation and absence of cynicism rarely given to the native-born. If there was ever an error in his judgment, it’s that he believed in people—Arabs and Americans alike—perhaps more than they believed in themselves. It was the kind of mistake only a generous spirit could make.

Over the years Ajami mentored many people—the mentorship often turning to friendship—who went on to great things. One of them, Samuel Tadros, a native of Egypt and now a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, wrote me Monday with an apt valediction:

"Fouad is remarkable because he became a full American, loved this country as anyone could love it, but that did not lessen his passion for what he left behind. He cared deeply about the region, he was always an optimist. He knew well the region’s ills, the pains it gave those who cherished it. God knows it gave him nothing but pain, but he always believed that the peoples of the region deserved better."

Free at Last
Victor Davis Hanson
Commentary Magazine
September 6, 2006

A review of The Foreigner’s Gift: The Americans, the Arabs, and the Iraqis in Iraq by Fouad Ajami (Free Press, 400 pp)

The last year or so has seen several insider histories of the American experience in Iraq. Written by generals (Bernard Trainor’s Cobra II, with Michael Wood), reporters (George Packer’s The Assassins’ Gate), or bureaucrats (Paul Bremer’s My Year in Iraq), each undertakes to explain how our enterprise in that country has, allegedly, gone astray; who is to blame for the failure; and why the author is right to have withdrawn, or at least to question, his earlier support for the project.

Fouad Ajami’s The Foreigner’s Gift is a notably welcome exception—and not only because of Ajami’s guarded optimism about the eventual outcome in Iraq. A Lebanese-born scholar of the Middle East, Ajami, now at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, lacks entirely the condescension of the typical in-the-know Western expert who blithely assures his American readers, often on the authority of little or no learning, of the irreducible alienness of Arab culture. Instead, the world that Ajami describes, once stripped of its veneer of religious pretense, is defined by many of the same impulses—honor, greed, selfinterest—that guide dueling Mafia families, rival Christian televangelists, and (for that matter) many ordinary people hungry for power. As an Arabic-speaker and native Middle Easterner, Ajami has enjoyed singular access to both Sunni and Shiite grandees, and makes effective use here of what they tell him. He also draws on a variety of contemporary written texts, mostly unknown by or inaccessible to Western authors, to explicate why many of the most backward forces in the Arab world are not in the least unhappy at the havoc wrought by the Sunni insurgency in Iraq.

The result, based on six extended visits to Iraq and a lifetime of travel and experience, is the best and certainly the most idiosyncratic recent treatment of the American presence there. Ajami’s thesis is straightforward. What brought George W. Bush to Iraq, he writes, was a belief in the ability of America to do something about a longstanding evil, along with a post-9/11 determination to stop appeasing terror-sponsoring regimes. That the United States knew very little about the bloodthirsty undercurrents of Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish sectarianism, for years cloaked by Saddam’s barbaric rule—the dictator “had given the Arabs a cruel view of history,” one saturated in “iron and fire and bigotry”—did not necessarily doom the effort to failure. The idealism and skill of American soldiers, and the enormous power and capital that stood behind them, counted, and still count, for a great deal. More importantly, the threats and cries for vengeance issued by various Arab spokesmen have often been disingenuous, serving to obfuscate the genuine desire of Arab peoples for consensual government (albeit on their own terms). In short, Ajami assures us, the war has been a “noble” effort, and will remain so whether in the end it “proves to be a noble success or a noble failure.”

Aside from the obvious reasons he adduces for this judgment—we have taken no oil, we have stayed to birth democracy, and we are now fighting terrorist enemies of civilization—there is also the fact that we have stumbled into, and are now critically influencing, the great political struggle of the modern Middle East. The real problem in that region, Ajami stresses, remains Sunni extremism, which is bent on undermining the very idea of consensual government—the “foreigner’s gift” of his title. Having introduced the concept of one person/one vote in a federated Iraq, America has not only empowered the perennially maltreated Kurds but given the once despised Iraqi Shiites a historic chance at equality. Hence the “rage against this American war, in Iraq itself and in the wider Arab world.”

No wonder, Ajami comments, that a “proud sense of violation [has] stretched from the embittered towns of the Sunni Triangle in western Iraq to the chat rooms of Arabia and to jihadists as far away from Iraq as North Africa and the Muslim enclaves of Western Europe.” Sunni, often Wahhabi, terrorists have murdered many moderate Shiite clerics, taken a terrible toll of Shiites on the street, and, with the clandestine aid of the rich Gulf sheikdoms, hope to prevail through the growing American weariness at the loss in blood and treasure. The worst part of the story, in Ajami’s estimation, is that the intensity of the Sunni resistance has fooled some Americans into thinking that we cannot work with the Shiites—or that our continuing to do so will result in empowering the Khomeinists in nearby Iran or its Hizballah ganglia in Lebanon. Ajami has little use for this notion. He dismisses the view that, within Iraq, a single volatile figure like Moqtadar al-Sadr is capable of sabotaging the new democracy (“a Shia community groping for a way out would not give itself over to this kind of radicalism”). Much less does he see Iraq’s Shiites as the religious henchmen of Iran, or consider Iraqi holy men like Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani or Sheikh Humam Hamoudi to be intent on establishing a theocracy. In common with the now demonized Ahmad Chalabi, Ajami is convinced that Iraqi Shiites will not slavishly follow their Khomeinist brethren but instead may actually subvert them by creating a loud democracy on their doorstep.

In general,according to Ajami, the pathologies of today’s Middle East originate with the mostly Sunni autocracies that threaten, cajole, and flatter Western governments even as they exploit terrorists to deflect popular discontent away from their own failures onto the United States and Israel. Precisely because we have ushered in a long-overdue correction that threatens not only the old order of Saddam’s clique but surrounding governments from Jordan to Saudi Arabia, we can expect more violence in Iraq.

What then to do? Ajami counsels us to ignore the cries of victimhood from yesterday’s victimizers, always to keep in mind the ghosts of Saddam’s genocidal regime, to be sensitive to the loss of native pride entailed in accepting our “foreigner’s gift,” and to let the Iraqis follow their own path as we eventually recede into the shadows. Along with this advice, he offers a series of first-hand portraits, often brilliantly subtle, of some fascinating players in contemporary Iraq. His meeting in Najaf with Ali al-Sistani discloses a Gandhi-like figure who urges: “Do everything you can to bring our Sunni Arab brothers into the fold.” General David Petraeus, the man charged with rebuilding Iraq’s security forces, lives up to his reputation as part diplomat, part drillmaster, and part sage as he conducts Ajami on one of his dangerous tours of the city of Mosul. On a C-130 transport plane, Ajami is so impressed by the bookish earnestness of a nineteen-year-old American soldier that he hands over his personal copy of Graham Greene’s The Quiet American (“I had always loved a passage in it about American innocence roaming the world like a leper without a bell, meaning no harm”).

There are plenty of tragic stories in this book. Ajami recounts the bleak genesis of the Baath party in Iraq and Syria, the brainchild of Sorbonne-educated intellectuals like Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Din Bitar who thought they might unite the old tribal orders under some radical antiWestern secular doctrine. Other satellite figures include Taleb Shabib, a Shiite Baathist who, like legions of other Arab intellectuals, drifted from Communism, Baathism, and panArabism into oblivion, his hopes for a Western-style solution dashed by dictatorship, theocracy, or both. Ajami bumps into dozens of these sorry men, whose fate has been to end up murdered or exiled by the very people they once sought to champion. There are much worse types in Ajami’s gallery. He provides a vividly repugnant glimpse of the awful alGhamdi tribe of Saudi Arabia. One of their number, Ahmad, crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11; another, Hamza, helped to take down Flight 93. A second Ahmad was the suicide bomber who in December 2004 blew up eighteen Americans in Mosul. And then there is Sheik Yusuf alQaradawi, the native Egyptian and resident of Qatar who in August 2004 issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill American civilians in Iraq. Why not kill them in Westernized Qatar, where they were far more plentiful? Perhaps because they were profitable to, and protected by, the same government that protected Qaradawi himself. Apparently, like virtue, evil too needs to be buttressed by hypocrisy.

The Foreigner’s Gift is not an organized work of analysis, its arguments leading in logical progression to a solidly reasoned conclusion. Instead, it is a series of highly readable vignettes drawn from Ajami’s serial travels and reflections. Which is hardly to say that it lacks a point, or that its point is uncontroversial—far from it. Critics will surely cite Ajami’s own Shiite background as the catalyst for his professed confidence in the emergence of Iraq’s Shiites as the stewards of Iraqi democracy. But any such suggestion of a hidden agenda, or alternatively of naiveté, would be very wide of the mark. What most characterizes Ajami is not his religious faith (if he has any in the traditional sense) but his unequalled appreciation of historical irony—the irony entailed, for example, in the fact that by taking out the single figure of Saddam Hussein we unleashed an unforeseen moral reckoning among the Arabs at large; the irony that the very vehemence of Iraq’s insurgency may in the end undo and humiliate it on its own turf, and might already have begun to do so; the irony that Shiite Iran may rue the day when its Shiite cousins in Iraq were freed by the Americans. When it comes to ironies, Ajami is clearly bemused that an American oilman, himself the son of a President who in 1991 called for the Iraqi Shiites to rise up and overthrow a wounded Saddam Hussein, only to stand by as they were slaughtered, should have been brought to exclaim in September 2003: “Iraq as a dictatorship had great power to destabilize the Middle East. Iraq as a democracy will have great power to inspire the Middle East.” Ajami himself is not yet prepared to say that Iraq will do so—only that, with our help, it just might. He needs to be listened to very closely.

The Clash
Fouad Ajami
The New York Times
January 6, 2008

It would have been unlike Samuel P. Huntington to say “I told you so” after 9/11. He is too austere and serious a man, with a legendary career as arguably the most influential and original political scientist of the last half century — always swimming against the current of prevailing opinion.

In the 1990s, first in an article in the magazine Foreign Affairs, then in a book published in 1996 under the title “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order,” he had come forth with a thesis that ran counter to the zeitgeist of the era and its euphoria about globalization and a “borderless” world. After the cold war, he wrote, there would be a “clash of civilizations.” Soil and blood and cultural loyalties would claim, and define, the world of states.

Huntington’s cartography was drawn with a sharp pencil. It was “The West and the Rest”: the West standing alone, and eight civilizations dividing the rest — Latin American, African, Islamic, Sinic, Hindu, Orthodox, Buddhist and Japanese. And in this post-cold-war world, Islamic civilization would re-emerge as a nemesis to the West. Huntington put the matter in stark terms: “The relations between Islam and Christianity, both Orthodox and Western, have often been stormy. Each has been the other’s Other. The 20th-century conflict between liberal democracy and Marxist-Leninism is only a fleeting and superficial historical phenomenon compared to the continuing and deeply conflictual relation between Islam and Christianity.”

Those 19 young Arabs who struck America on 9/11 were to give Huntington more of history’s compliance than he could ever have imagined. He had written of a “youth bulge” unsettling Muslim societies, and young Arabs and Muslims were now the shock-troops of a new radicalism. Their rise had overwhelmed the order in their homelands and had spilled into non-Muslim societies along the borders between Muslims and other peoples. Islam had grown assertive and belligerent; the ideologies of Westernization that had dominated the histories of Turkey, Iran and the Arab world, as well as South Asia, had faded; “indigenization” had become the order of the day in societies whose nationalisms once sought to emulate the ways of the West.

Rather than Westernizing their societies, Islamic lands had developed a powerful consensus in favor of Islamizing modernity. There was no “universal civilization,” Huntington had observed; this was only the pretense of what he called “Davos culture,” consisting of a thin layer of technocrats and academics and businessmen who gather annually at that watering hole of the global elite in Switzerland.

In Huntington’s unsparing view, culture is underpinned and defined by power. The West had once been pre-eminent and militarily dominant, and the first generation of third-world nationalists had sought to fashion their world in the image of the West. But Western dominion had cracked, Huntington said. Demography best told the story: where more than 40 percent of the world population was “under the political control” of Western civilization in the year 1900, that share had declined to about 15 percent in 1990, and is set to come down to 10 percent by the year 2025. Conversely, Islam’s share had risen from 4 percent in 1900 to 13 percent in 1990, and could be as high as 19 percent by 2025.

It is not pretty at the frontiers between societies with dwindling populations — Western Europe being one example, Russia another — and those with young people making claims on the world. Huntington saw this gathering storm. Those young people of the densely populated North African states who have been risking all for a journey across the Strait of Gibraltar walk right out of his pages.

Shortly after the appearance of the article that seeded the book, Foreign Affairs magazine called upon a group of writers to respond to Huntington’s thesis. I was assigned the lead critique. I wrote my response with appreciation, but I wagered on modernization, on the system the West had put in place. “The things and ways that the West took to ‘the rest,’” I wrote, “have become the ways of the world. The secular idea, the state system and the balance of power, pop culture jumping tariff walls and barriers, the state as an instrument of welfare, all these have been internalized in the remotest places. We have stirred up the very storms into which we now ride.” I had questioned Huntington’s suggestion that civilizations could be found “whole and intact, watertight under an eternal sky.” Furrows, I observed, run across civilizations, and the modernist consensus would hold in places like India, Egypt and Turkey.

Huntington had written that the Turks — rejecting Mecca, and rejected by Brussels — would head toward Tashkent, choosing a pan-Turkic world. My faith was invested in the official Westernizing creed of Kemalism that Mustafa Kemal Ataturk had bequeathed his country. “What, however, if Turkey redefined itself?” Huntington asked. “At some point, Turkey could be ready to give up its frustrating and humiliating role as a beggar pleading for membership in the West and to resume its much more impressive and elevated historical role as the principal Islamic interlocutor and antagonist of the West.”

Nearly 15 years on, Huntington’s thesis about a civilizational clash seems more compelling to me than the critique I provided at that time. In recent years, for example, the edifice of Kemalism has come under assault, and Turkey has now elected an Islamist to the presidency in open defiance of the military-bureaucratic elite. There has come that “redefinition” that Huntington prophesied. To be sure, the verdict may not be quite as straightforward as he foresaw. The Islamists have prevailed, but their desired destination, or so they tell us, is still Brussels: in that European shelter, the Islamists shrewdly hope they can find protection against the power of the military.

“I’ll teach you differences,” Kent says to Lear’s servant. And Huntington had the integrity and the foresight to see the falseness of a borderless world, a world without differences. (He is one of two great intellectual figures who peered into the heart of things and were not taken in by globalism’s conceit, Bernard Lewis being the other.)

I still harbor doubts about whether the radical Islamists knocking at the gates of Europe, or assaulting it from within, are the bearers of a whole civilization. They flee the burning grounds of Islam, but carry the fire with them. They are “nowhere men,” children of the frontier between Islam and the West, belonging to neither. If anything, they are a testament to the failure of modern Islam to provide for its own and to hold the fidelities of the young.

More ominously perhaps, there ran through Huntington’s pages an anxiety about the will and the coherence of the West — openly stated at times, made by allusions throughout. The ramparts of the West are not carefully monitored and defended, Huntington feared. Islam will remain Islam, he worried, but it is “dubious” whether the West will remain true to itself and its mission. Clearly, commerce has not delivered us out of history’s passions, the World Wide Web has not cast aside blood and kin and faith. It is no fault of Samuel Huntington’s that we have not heeded his darker, and possibly truer, vision.

Fouad Ajami is a professor of Middle Eastern studies at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, and the author, most recently, of “The Foreigner’s Gift.”

Samuel Huntington’s Warning
He predicted a ‘clash of civilizations,’ not the illusion of Davos Man.
Fouad Ajami
The WSJ
Dec. 30, 2008

The last of Samuel Huntington’s books — "Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity," published four years ago — may have been his most passionate work. It was like that with the celebrated Harvard political scientist, who died last week at 81. He was a man of diffidence and reserve, yet he was always caught up in the political storms of recent decades.

"This book is shaped by my own identities as a patriot and a scholar," he wrote. "As a patriot I am deeply concerned about the unity and strength of my country as a society based on liberty, equality, law and individual rights." Huntington lived the life of his choice, neither seeking controversies, nor ducking them. "Who Are We?" had the signature of this great scholar — the bold, sweeping assertions sustained by exacting details, and the engagement with the issues of the time.

He wrote in that book of the "American Creed," and of its erosion among the elites. Its key elements — the English language, Christianity, religious commitment, English concepts of the rule of law, the responsibility of rulers, and the rights of individuals — he said are derived from the "distinct Anglo-Protestant culture of the founding settlers of America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries."

Critics who branded the book as a work of undisguised nativism missed an essential point. Huntington observed that his was an "argument for the importance of Anglo-Protestant culture, not for the importance of Anglo-Protestant people." The success of this great republic, he said, had hitherto depended on the willingness of generations of Americans to honor the creed of the founding settlers and to shed their old affinities. But that willingness was being battered by globalization and multiculturalism, and by new waves of immigrants with no deep attachments to America’s national identity. "The Stars and Stripes were at half-mast," he wrote in "Who Are We?", "and other flags flew higher on the flagpole of American identities."

Three possible American futures beckoned, Huntington said: cosmopolitan, imperial and national. In the first, the world remakes America, and globalization and multiculturalism trump national identity. In the second, America remakes the world: Unchallenged by a rival superpower, America would attempt to reshape the world according to its values, taking to other shores its democratic norms and aspirations. In the third, America remains America: It resists the blandishments — and falseness — of cosmopolitanism, and reins in the imperial impulse.

Huntington made no secret of his own preference: an American nationalism "devoted to the preservation and enhancement of those qualities that have defined America since its founding." His stark sense of realism had no patience for the globalism of the Clinton era. The culture of "Davos Man" — named for the watering hole of the global elite — was disconnected from the call of home and hearth and national soil.

But he looked with a skeptical eye on the American expedition to Iraq, uneasy with those American conservatives who had come to believe in an "imperial" American mission. He foresaw frustration for this drive to democratize other lands. The American people would not sustain this project, he observed, and there was the "paradox of democracy": Democratic experiments often bring in their wake nationalistic populist movements (Latin America) or fundamentalist movements (Muslim countries). The world tempts power, and denies it. It is the Huntingtonian world; no false hopes and no redemption.

In the 1990s, when the Davos crowd and other believers in a borderless world reigned supreme, Huntington crossed over from the academy into global renown, with his "clash of civilizations" thesis. In an article first published in Foreign Affairs in 1993 (then expanded into a book), Huntington foresaw the shape of the post-Cold War world. The war of ideologies would yield to a civilizational struggle of soil and blood. It would be the West versus the eight civilizations dividing the rest — Latin American, African, Islamic, Sinic, Hindu, Orthodox, Buddhist and Japanese.

In this civilizational struggle, Islam would emerge as the principal challenge to the West. "The relations between Islam and Christianity, both orthodox and Western, have often been stormy. Each has been the other’s Other. The 20th-century conflict between liberal democracy and Marxist-Leninism is only a fleeting and superficial historical phenomenon compared to the continuing and deeply conflictual relation between Islam and Christianity."

He had assaulted the zeitgeist of the era. The world took notice, and his book was translated into 39 languages. Critics insisted that men want Sony, not soil. But on 9/11, young Arabs — 19 of them — would weigh in. They punctured the illusions of an era, and gave evidence of the truth of Huntington’s vision. With his typical precision, he had written of a "youth bulge" unsettling Muslim societies, and young, radicalized Arabs, unhinged by modernity and unable to master it, emerging as the children of this radical age.

If I may be permitted a personal narrative: In 1993, I had written the lead critique in Foreign Affairs of his thesis. I admired his work but was unconvinced. My faith was invested in the order of states that the West itself built. The ways of the West had become the ways of the world, I argued, and the modernist consensus would hold in key Third-World countries like Egypt, India and Turkey. Fifteen years later, I was given a chance in the pages of The New York Times Book Review to acknowledge that I had erred and that Huntington had been correct all along.

A gracious letter came to me from Nancy Arkelyan Huntington, his wife of 51 years (her Armenian descent an irony lost on those who dubbed him a defender of nativism). He was in ill-health, suffering the aftermath of a small stroke. They were spending the winter at their summer house on Martha’s Vineyard. She had read him my essay as he lay in bed. He was pleased with it: "He will be writing you himself shortly." Of course, he did not write, and knowing of his frail state I did not expect him to do so. He had been a source of great wisdom, an exemplar, and it had been an honor to write of him, and to know him in the regrettably small way I did.

We don’t have his likes in the academy today. Political science, the field he devoted his working life to, has been in the main commandeered by a new generation. They are "rational choice" people who work with models and numbers and write arid, impenetrable jargon.

More importantly, nowadays in the academy and beyond, the patriotism that marked Samuel Huntington’s life and work is derided, and the American Creed he upheld is thought to be the ideology of rubes and simpletons, the affliction of people clinging to old ways. The Davos men have perhaps won. No wonder the sorrow and the concern that ran through the work of Huntington’s final years.

Mr. Ajami is professor of Middle East Studies at The Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies. He is also an adjunct research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

Robert Gates Is Right About Iraq
Fouad Ajami
The New Republic
June 3, 2011

The U.S. war in Iraq has just been given an unexpected seal of approval. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in what he billed as his “last major policy speech in Washington,” has owned up to the gains in Iraq, to the surprise that Iraq has emerged as “the most advanced Arab democracy in the region.” It was messy, this Iraqi democratic experience, but Iraqis “weren’t in the streets shooting each other, the government wasn’t in the streets shooting its people,” Gates observed. The Americans and the Iraqis had not labored in vain; the upheaval of the Arab Spring has only underlined that a decent polity had emerged in the heart of the Arab world.

Robert Gates has not always been a friend of the Iraq war. He was a member in good standing, it should be recalled, of the Iraq Study Group, a panel of sages and foreign policy luminaries, co-chaired by James Baker and Lee Hamilton, who had taken a jaundiced view of the entire undertaking in Iraq. Their report endorsed a staged retreat from the Iraq war and an accommodation with Syria and Iran. When Gates later joined the cabinet of George W. Bush, after the “thumping” meted out to the Republicans in the congressional elections of 2006, his appointment was taken as a sharp break with the legacy of his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld. It was an open secret that the outlook of the new taciturn man at the Department of Defense had no place in it for the spread of democracy in Arab lands. Over a long career, Secretary Gates had shared the philosophical approach of Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, peers of his and foreign policy “realists” who took the world as it is. They had styled themselves as unillusioned men who had thought that the Iraq war, and George W. Bush’s entire diplomacy of freedom, were projects of folly—romantic, self deluding undertakings in the Arab world.

To the extent that these men thought of the Greater Middle East, they entered it through the gateway of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. The key to the American security dilemma in the region, they maintained, was an Arab-Israeli settlement that would drain the swamps of anti-Americanism and reconcile the Arab “moderates” to the Pax Americana. This was a central plank of the Iraq Study Group—the centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian issue to the peace of the region, and to the American position in the lands of Islam.

Nor had Robert Gates made much of a secret of his reading of Iran. He and Zbigniew Brzezinski had been advocates of “engaging” the regime in Tehran—this was part of the creed of the “realists.” It was thus remarkable that, in his last policy speech, Gates acknowledged a potentially big payoff of the American labor in Iraq: a residual U.S. military presence in that country as a way of monitoring the Iranian regime next door.

Is Gates right about both the progress in Iraq and the U.S. future in the country? In short, yes. The Iraqis needn’t trumpet the obvious fact in broad daylight, but the balance of power in the Persian Gulf would be altered for the better by a security arrangement between the United States and the government in Baghdad. The Sadrists have already labeled a potential accord with the Americans as a deal with the devil, but the Sadrists have no veto over the big national decisions in Baghdad. If the past is any guide, Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki has fought and won a major battle with the Sadrists; he crushed them on the battlefield but made room for them in his coalition government, giving them access to spoils and patronage, but on his terms.

Democracy, it turns out, has its saving graces: Nuri Al Maliki need not shoulder alone the burden of sustaining a security accord with the Americans. He has already made it known that the decision to keep American forces in Iraq would depend on the approval of the major political blocs in the country, and that the Sadrists would have no choice but to accept the majority’s decision. The Sadrists would be left with the dubious honor of “resistance” to the Americans—but they would hold onto the privileges granted them by their access to state treasury and resources. Muqtada Al Sadr and the political functionaries around him know that life bereft of government patronage and the oil income of a centralized state is a journey into the wilderness.

There remains, of course, the pledge given by presidential candidate Barack Obama that a President Obama would liquidate the American military role in Iraq by the end of 2011. That pledge was one of the defining themes of his bid for the presidency, and it endeared him to the “progressives” within his own party, who had been so agitated and mobilized against the Iraq war. But Barack Obama is now the standard-bearer of America’s power. He has broken with the “progressives” over Afghanistan, the use of drones in Pakistan, Guantánamo, military tribunals, and a whole host of national security policies that have (nearly) blurred the line between his policies and those of his predecessor. The left has grumbled, but, in the main, it has bowed to political necessity. At any rate, the fury on the left that once surrounded the Iraq war has been spent; a residual American presence in Iraq would fly under the radar of the purists within the ranks of the Democratic Party. They will be under no obligation to give it their blessing. That burden would instead be left to the centrists—and to the Republicans.

It is perhaps safe to assume that Robert Gates is carrying water for the Obama administration—an outgoing official putting out some necessary if slightly unpalatable political truths. Gates is an intensely disciplined man; he has not been a free-lancer, but instead has forged a tight personal and political relationship with President Obama. His swan song in Washington is most likely his gift to those left with maintaining and defending the American position in Iraq and in the Persian Gulf.

It is a peculiarity of the American-Iraq relationship that it could yet be nurtured and upheld without fanfare or poetry. The Iraqis could make room for that residual American presence while still maintaining the fiction of their political purity and sovereignty. For their part, American officials could be discreet and measured; they needn’t heap praise on Iraq nor take back what they had once said about the war—and its costs and follies. Iraq’s neighbors would of course know what would come to pass. In Tehran, and in Arab capitals that once worried about an American security relationship with a Shia-led government in Baghdad, powers would have to make room for this American-Iraqi relationship. The Iranians in particular will know that their long border with Iraq is, for all practical purposes, a military frontier with American forces. It will be no consolation for them that this new reality so close to them is the work of their Shia kinsmen, who come to unexpected power in Baghdad.

The enemy will have a say on how things will play out for American forces in Iraq. Iran and its Iraqi proxies can be expected to do all they can to make the American presence as bloody and costly as possible. A long, leaky border separates Iran from Iraq; movement across it is quite easy for Iranian agents and saboteurs. They can come in as “pilgrims,” and there might be shades of Lebanon in the 1980s, big deeds of terror that target the American forces. The Iraqi government will be called upon to do a decent job of tracking and hunting down saboteurs and terrorists, as this kind of intelligence is not a task for American soldiers. This will take will and political courage on the part of Iraq’s rulers. They will have to speak well of the Americans and own up to the role that American forces are playing in the protection and defense of Iraq. They can’t wink at anti-Americanism or give it succor.

Even in the best of worlds, an American residual presence in Iraq will have its costs and heartbreak. But the United States will have to be prepared for and accept the losses and adversity that are an integral part of staying on, rightly, in so tangled and difficult a setting.

Fouad Ajami teaches at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He is also a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

The Men Who Sealed Iraq’s Fate
Fouad Ajami
The Wall Street Journal
June 15, 2014

Two men bear direct responsibility for the mayhem engulfing Iraq: Barack Obama and Nouri al-Maliki. The U.S. president and Iraqi prime minister stood shoulder to shoulder in a White House ceremony in December 2011 proclaiming victory. Mr. Obama was fulfilling a campaign pledge to end the Iraq war. There was a utopian tone to his pronouncement, suggesting that the conflicts that had been endemic to that region would be brought to an end. As for Mr. Maliki, there was the heady satisfaction, in his estimation, that Iraq would be sovereign and intact under his dominion.

In truth, Iraq’s new Shiite prime minister was trading American tutelage for Iranian hegemony. Thus the claim that Iraq was a fully sovereign country was an idle boast. Around the Maliki regime swirled mightier, more sinister players. In addition to Iran’s penetration of Iraqi strategic and political life, there was Baghdad’s unholy alliance with the brutal Assad regime in Syria, whose members belong to an Alawite Shiite sect and were taking on a largely Sunni rebellion. If Bashar Assad were to fall, Mr. Maliki feared, the Sunnis of Iraq would rise up next.

Now, even as Assad clings to power in Damascus, Iraq’s Sunnis have risen up and joined forces with the murderous, al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), which controls much of northern Syria and the Iraqi cities of Fallujah, Mosul and Tikrit. ISIS marauders are now marching on the Shiite holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, and Baghdad itself has become a target.

In a dire sectarian development on Friday, Iraq’s leading Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called on his followers to take up arms against ISIS and other Sunni insurgents in defense of the Baghdad government. This is no ordinary cleric playing with fire. For a decade, Ayatollah Sistani stayed on the side of order and social peace. Indeed, at the height of Iraq’s sectarian troubles in 2006-07, President George W. Bush gave the ayatollah credit for keeping the lid on that volcano. Now even that barrier to sectarian violence has been lifted.

This sad state of affairs was in no way preordained. In December 2011, Mr. Obama stood with Mr. Maliki and boasted that "in the coming years, it’s estimated that Iraq’s economy will grow even faster than China’s or India’s." But the negligence of these two men—most notably in their failure to successfully negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement that would have maintained an adequate U.S. military presence in Iraq—has resulted in the current descent into sectarian civil war.

There was, not so long ago, a way for Mr. Maliki to avoid all this: the creation of a genuine political coalition, making good on his promise that the Kurds in the north and the Sunnis throughout the country would be full partners in the Baghdad government. Instead, the Shiite prime minister set out to subjugate the Sunnis and to marginalize the Kurds. There was, from the start, no chance that this would succeed. For their part, the Sunni Arabs of Iraq were possessed of a sense of political mastery of their own. After all, this was a community that had ruled Baghdad for a millennium. Why should a community that had known such great power accept sudden marginality?

As for the Kurds, they had conquered a history of defeat and persecution and built a political enterprise of their own—a viable military institution, a thriving economy and a sense of genuine national pride. The Kurds were willing to accept the federalism promised them in the New Iraq. But that promise rested, above all else, on the willingness on the part of Baghdad to honor a revenue-sharing system that had decreed a fair allocation of the country’s oil income. This, Baghdad would not do. The Kurds were made to feel like beggars at the Maliki table.

Sadly, the Obama administration accepted this false federalism and its façade. Instead of aiding the cause of a reasonable Kurdistan, the administration sided with Baghdad at every turn. In the oil game involving Baghdad, Irbil, the Turks and the international oil companies, the Obama White House and State Department could always be found standing with the Maliki government.

With ISIS now reigning triumphant in Fallujah, in the oil-refinery town of Baiji, and, catastrophically, in Mosul, the Obama administration cannot plead innocence. Mosul is particularly explosive. It sits astride the world between Syria and Iraq and is economically and culturally intertwined with the Syrian territories. This has always been Mosul’s reality. There was no chance that a war would rage on either side of Mosul without it spreading next door. The Obama administration’s vanishing "red lines" and utter abdication in Syria were bound to compound Iraq’s troubles.

Grant Mr. Maliki the harvest of his sectarian bigotry. He has ridden that sectarianism to nearly a decade in power. Mr. Obama’s follies are of a different kind. They’re sins born of ignorance. He was eager to give up the gains the U.S. military and the Bush administration had secured in Iraq. Nor did he possess the generosity of spirit to give his predecessors the credit they deserved for what they had done in that treacherous landscape.

As he headed for the exits in December 2011, Mr. Obama described Mr. Maliki as "the elected leader of a sovereign, self-reliant and democratic Iraq." One suspects that Mr. Obama knew better. The Iraqi prime minister had already shown marked authoritarian tendencies, and there were many anxieties about him among the Sunnis and Kurds. Those communities knew their man, while Mr. Obama chose to look the other way.

Today, with his unwillingness to use U.S. military force to save Syrian children or even to pull Iraq back from the brink of civil war, the erstwhile leader of the Free World is choosing, yet again, to look the other way.

Mr. Ajami, a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, is the author, most recently, of "The Syrian Rebellion" (Hoover Press, 2012).

Voir aussi:

Fouad Ajami on America and the Arabs
Excerpts from the Middle Eastern scholar’s work in the Journal over nearly 30 years.
The Wall Street Journal

June 22, 2014

Editor’s note: Fouad Ajami, the Middle Eastern scholar and a contributor to these pages for 27 years, died Sunday at age 68. Excerpts from his writing in the Journal are below, and a related editorial appears nearby:

"A Tangled History," a review of Bernard Lewis’s book, "Islam and the West," June 24, 1993:

The book’s most engaging essay is a passionate defense of Orientalism that foreshadows today’s debate about multiculturalism and the study of non-Western history. Mr. Lewis takes on the trendy new cult led by Palestinian-American Edward Said, whose many followers advocate a radical form of Arab nationalism and deride traditional scholarship of the Arab world as a cover for Western hegemony. The history of that world, these critics insist, must be reclaimed and written from within. With Mr. Lewis’s rebuttal the debate is joined, as a great historian defends the meaning of scholarship and takes on those who would bully its practitioners in pursuit of some partisan truths.

" Barak’s Gamble," May 25, 2000:

It was bound to end this way: One day Israel was destined to vacate the strip of Lebanon it had occupied when it swept into that country in the summer of 1982. Liberal societies are not good at the kind of work military occupation entails.

"Show Trial: Egypt: The Next Rogue Regime?" May 30, 2001:

If there is a foreign land where U.S. power and influence should be felt, Egypt should be reckoned a reasonable bet. A quarter century of American solicitude and American treasure have been invested in the Egyptian regime. Here was a place in the Arab world—humane and tempered—where Pax Americana had decent expectations: support for Arab-Israeli peace, a modicum of civility at home.
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Fouad Ajami Getty Images

It has not worked out that way: The regime of Hosni Mubarak has been a runaway ally. In the latest display of that ruler’s heavy handedness, Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a prominent Egyptian-American sociologist, has recently been sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment on charges of defaming the state. It was a summary judgment, and a farce: The State Security Court took a mere 90 minutes to deliberate over the case.

"Arabs Have Nobody to Blame But Themselves," Oct. 16, 2001:

A darkness, a long winter, has descended on the Arabs. Nothing grows in the middle between an authoritarian political order and populations given to perennial flings with dictators, abandoned to their most malignant hatreds. Something is amiss in an Arab world that besieges American embassies for visas and at the same time celebrates America’s calamities. Something has gone terribly wrong in a world where young men strap themselves with explosives, only to be hailed as "martyrs" and avengers.

"Beirut, Baghdad," Aug. 25, 2003:

A battle broader than the country itself, then, plays out in Iraq. We needn’t apologize to the other Arabs about our presence there, and our aims for it. The custodians of Arab power, and the vast majority of the Arab political class, never saw or named the terrible cruelties of Saddam. A political culture that averts its gaze from mass graves and works itself into self-righteous hysteria over a foreign presence in an Arab country is a culture that has turned its back on political reason.
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Editorial Page Editor Paul Gigot pays tribute to Middle East scholar Fouad Ajami. Photo credit: hoover.org

Yet this summer has tested the resolve of those of us who supported the war, and saw in it a chance to give Iraq and its neighbors a shot at political reform. There was a leap of faith, it must be conceded, in the argument that a land as brutalized as Iraq would manage to find its way out of its cruel past and, in the process, give other Arabs proof that a modicum of liberty could flourish in their midst.

"The Curse of Pan-Arabia," May 12, 2004:

Consider a tale of three cities: In Fallujah, there are the beginnings of wisdom, a recognition, after the bravado, that the insurgents cannot win in the face of a great military power. In Najaf, the clerical establishment and the shopkeepers have called on the Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr to quit their city, and to "pursue another way." It is in Washington where the lines are breaking, and where the faith in the gains that coalition soldiers have secured in Iraq at such a terrible price appears to have cracked. We have been doing Iraq by improvisation, we are now "dumping stock," just as our fortunes in that hard land may be taking a turn for the better. We pledged to give Iraqis a chance at a new political life. We now appear to be consigning them yet again to the same Arab malignancies that drove us to Iraq in the first place.

" Bush of Arabia," Jan. 8, 2008:

Suffice it for them that George W. Bush was at the helm of the dominant imperial power when the world of Islam and of the Arabs was in the wind, played upon by ruinous temptations, and when the regimes in the saddle were ducking for cover, and the broad middle classes in the Arab world were in the grip of historical denial of what their radical children had wrought. His was the gift of moral and political clarity. . . .

We scoffed, in polite, jaded company when George W. Bush spoke of the "axis of evil" several years back. The people he now journeys amidst didn’t: It is precisely through those categories of good and evil that they describe their world, and their condition. Mr. Bush could not redeem the modern culture of the Arabs, and of Islam, but he held the line when it truly mattered. He gave them a chance to reclaim their world from zealots and enemies of order who would have otherwise run away with it.

" Obama’s Afghan Struggle," March 20, 2009:

[President Obama] can’t build on the Iraq victory, because he has never really embraced it. The occasional statement that we can win over the reconcilables and the tribes in Afghanistan the way we did in the Anbar is lame and unconvincing. The Anbar turned only when the Sunni insurgents had grown convinced that the Americans were there to stay, and that the alternative to accommodation with the Americans, and with the Baghdad government, is a sure and widespread Sunni defeat. The Taliban are nowhere near this reckoning. If anything, the uncertain mood in Washington counsels patience on their part, with the promise of waiting out the American presence.

"Pax Americana and the New Iraq," Oct. 6, 2010:

The question posed in the phase to come will be about the willingness of Pax Americana to craft a workable order in the Persian Gulf, and to make room for this new Iraq. It is a peculiarity of the American presence in the Arab-Islamic world, as contrasted to our work in East Asia, that we have always harbored deep reservations about democracy’s viability there and have cast our lot with the autocracies. For a fleeting moment, George W. Bush broke with that history. But that older history, the resigned acceptance of autocracies, is the order of the day in Washington again.

It isn’t perfect, this Iraqi polity midwifed by American power. But were we to acknowledge and accept that Iraqis and Americans have prevailed in that difficult land, in the face of such forbidding odds, we and the Iraqis shall be better for it. We have not labored in vain.


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