Saturday, January 08, 2005

This blog might still come back to life at some point. Life here is much less interesting these days, and there are so many blogs doing a good job of highlighting things from the Israeli media.

Some Americans and Europeans try so hard not to be judgmental. This woman writes from Cairo where she is researching her PhD:
... Abu Mazen's electoral scheme may very well represent such a shift in thinking, a recognition that the most effective martyrs are not those who blow themselves up in cafes, but those who die while trying to care for their communities.

Well that would just be great ... maybe only the less effective martyrs would try to blow up Israelis in cafes. She wouldn't actually say to her hosts that the cult of martyrdom is bad, just that it's not effective for youngsters to kill themselves (just like ISMers who talk about Palestinian "suicide", Israeli victims aren't even on her conceptual radar).

She's also not able to acknowledge that any current Palestinian moderation is at least partly due to the fact that the intifada failed to secure any gains ie. that the Israelis won.

Update: Stacy responds in the comments
I should thank you for increasing traffic at my site by "reviewing" my comments regarding the Palestinian elections. You might note, however, that it was a post about the Palestinian elections, not a broader post about political violence, innocent victims, etc. You have no way of determining what my judgements are, or whether I am "capable" of acknowledging your truths. I may be, or I may not be, but you certainly have no way of knowing based on the little that you selected here.

My blog rarely ventures off topic, and mainly focuses on discourse and the structuring effects of a particular kind of Islamist discource in Arab parliamentary practice (since this is the subject of my Ph.D. dissertation, and the reason for my frequent travel to Beirut and Sana'a). When it does go off topic, I certainly expect to "take fire", but I would hope that you see my post for what it was - a discursive analysis of Abbas' electoral campaign materials and campaign promotion, and not a broader manifesto on the Palestinian-Israeli crisis.

Further, I found your assertions about what I would or would not say to my "hosts" to cross a line and violate your own rule on ad hominem attacks. First, you have no idea whether or not I have been "hosted" by Israel, as well, and whether that may have influenced by thinking on the Middle East. Second, you really have no idea what my relationship to Egypt is. As it happens, my husband took a job here to facilitate my regional travel, and neither of us do any research here or have an serious connection - we're just plain old expats. So to infer that my thoughts or words are couched because I am in some way endebted to some kind of aggregated concept of Arab "hosts" was both presumptious and unfairly dismissive.

And as for the quote, which I believe you took out of context (but will allow readers to determine for themselves), the quote that preceeded it in the original post was by a friend who is a rabbi at a large NY congregation and visited us in Cairo en route to Jerusalem. It's his opinion, after years of working with Palestinian policymakers, and one which I share. You should, I would imagine, be more concerned about him then you are about me, since he stands a chance at disrupting your "base."

I will try to reply later, but most broadly:

1. In this particular blog post (and the others that I scanned) you are adopting the "Islamist discourse" rather than merely analyzing it. Certainly you do not seem to be analyzing it in a critical manner. Dialog is admirable, but not when it requires adopting a "discourse" that "disadmits" things like moral objection to attacks on Israelis.

2. I don't have a "base". Also I'm not "concerned" with you. Like many blogs I just write what's on my mind.

3. I do apologize for assuming that your presence in Cairo was related to your PhD work when it is in fact during your travels to Beirut and Sanaa that you do your research. I don't see this a relevant to my central point. That said, I do regret the final sentence of my original post which dealt with broader political issues.