The Tragic End of Bush’s North Korea Policy

June 30, 2008

In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, former US Ambassador to the UN, John R. Bolton, criticizes North Korea policy in the Bush administration’s final months.

“Maskirovka – the Soviet dark art of denial, deception and disguise – is alive and well in Pyongyang, years after the Soviet Union disappeared. Unfortunately, the Bush administration appears not to have gotten the word.

With much fanfare and choreography, but little substance, the administration has accepted a North Korean ‘declaration’ about its nuclear program that is narrowly limited, incomplete and almost certainly dishonest in material respects. In exchange, President Bush personally declared that North Korea is no longer a state sponsor of terrorism or an enemy of the United States. In a final flourish, North Korea has undertaken a reverse Potemkin Village act, destroying the antiquated cooling tower of the antiquated Yongbyon reactor. In the waning days of American presidencies, this theater is the stuff of legacy.”

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Die Allgemeinen Menschenrechte der UN-Charta sind der Scharia untergeordnet

June 29, 2008

Liebe Freunde,

Ich möchte Euch über einen Tatbestand informieren, der in der Presse so gut wie keine Erwähnung findet – was an sich schon ungeheuerlich ist – und der mich mehr als besorgt macht.

Wir haben es auf vielen Ebenen mit Einschränkungen demokratischer Grundrechte zu tun und sollten darauf  aufmerksam sein und nach Möglichkeiten reagieren. Hier handelt es sich um ein drastisches Beispiel, wie eine Religion sich immer politischer gebärdet und noli me tangere fordert.

1. In den UN tobt ein Machtkampf um die Menschenrechte: Die 57 Nationen der OIC (Organisation of islamic Conference) wollen die Sharia als den Menschenrechten übergeordnet einstufen.   

2. Die vorbereitete Rede vor dem UN-Menschenrechtsrat von Roy Brown (von der International Humanist & Ethical Union) wird mehrfach unterbrochen, weil er ausführt, daß die Sharia nicht mit den Allgemeinen Menschenrechten zu vereinbaren sei. Von den islamischen Vertretern wird sich verbeten, dies auszuführen. Die Rede in schriftlicher Form findet man hier. Die Rede als Video findet man hier.

3. Weiterhin fordert die OIC, dass der Rat darauf drängt, die Meinungsfreiheit in demokratischen Ländern zu beschränken, damit keine weiteren Beleidigungen des Islam mehr stattfinden.

4. WAN (World Association of Newspapers) verurteilen den UN-Menschenrechtsrat wegen seiner wiederholten Vorstöße zur Beschränkung der Meinungsfreiheit zum Schutze religiöser Gefühle.
  
5. Der Präsident des UN Menschenrechtsrats Doru Romulus Costea hat den Delegierten der OIC jetzt versprochen, Kritik an religiösen Gesetzen zu unterbinden. Anlaß war die 16-malige Unterbrechung des UN MRR Delegierten David Littman, als er eine gemeinsame Erklärung der Association for World Education und der IHEU verlesen wollte durch IOC-Delegierte mit Wortmeldungen zur Geschäftsordnung.

***

Am 28. März 2008 fand auf Ebene des Menschenrechtsrates der Vereinten Nationen eine Machtübernahme statt, die so umfassend war, daß NGOs davon sprechen, daß die Menschenrechte “tödlich getroffen” wurden. In unseren gemäß EU-Norm verbogenen Medien liest sich das so: Sorge um Diffamierung des Islam.

Wenn man sich allerdings den Sitzungsbericht des NGO-Sprechers Roy W. Brown durchliest, der als IHEU-Delegierter selbst bei dieser Sitzung anwesend war, dann erkennt man, daß Pierre Simonitsch (Autor des obigen Artikels in der Frankfurter Rundschau) sogar zum Mittel der Lüge griff, um das Ausmaß dieses Erdbebens zu kaschieren. Er behauptet nämlich, die EU hätte die Resolution mit ihrer Stimme abgelehnt. Leider stimmt das nicht. Abgelehnt hat die durch Slowenien vertretene EU lediglich den Änderungsantrag Pakistans, der dann aber ungeachtet einiger Gegenstimmen angenommen wurde. Somit wurde der Text Pakistans Teil der Resolution und gegen die hat die EU eben nicht gestimmt, sondern sich feige enthalten!

Eine Übersetzung dieses Berichtes ins Deutsche gibt es unter Abstimmung zur Meinungsfreiheit markiert das Ende der Allgemeinen Menschenrechte. Daraus geht klar hervor, daß es sich tatsächlich um eine Machtübernahme handelte, weshalb der IHEU-Sprecher dann auch von der Notwendigkeit eines alternativen Menschenrechtsrates spricht. Brown hat das Gefühl, daß die Arbeit der NGOs innerhalb des Rates bestenfalls noch dazu dienen kann, die geschickte Täuschung, daß es beim Menschenrechtsrat der Vereinten Nationen noch um Menschenrechte ginge, aufrecht zu erhalten.

Aufschlußreich war in dem Zusammenhang auch der Vorfall im Menschenrechtsrat am 13. März 2008, über den IHEU “ambushed” at Human Rights Council berichtet. Hier versuchten die Delegierten Pakistans und Ägyptens Brown davon abzuhalten, aufzuzeigen, warum die Kairoer Erklärung der “Menschenrechte” im Islam von 1990 in keiner Weise mit den 1948 erklärten allgemeinen Menschenrechten kompatibel sind. Als der pakistanische Delegierte Brown ins Wort fiel, sagte er:

“Es beleidigt unseren Glauben, die Sharia hier in diesem Forum zu diskutieren!”

Das war praktisch die Vorwegnahme dessen, was am 28. März dann in Form dieses Änderungsantrags verabschiedet wurde.

Das beweist wohl, daß es den OIC-Staaten keineswegs darum geht, die Meinungsfreiheit zu beschränken, um Äußerungen zu verbieten, die man vielleicht zurecht als rassistisch einordnen könnte. Worum es ihnen ging war die Machtergreifung, die dann am 28. März stattfand.
Was sich die EU-Staaten von dem von islamistischen Staaten dominierten “Menschenrechtsrat” noch erhoffen, ist völlig unklar. Die Vereinigung europäischer Humanisten hatte daher schon an EU Kommissionspräsident Barroso appelliert, die Staaten der EU zum Austritt aus dem Gremium aufzufordern. Nachdem unsere Medien dieses Thema aber komplett ausblenden, gibt es nirgendwo Informationen, was Barroso darauf gesagt hat.

Unterdessen gibt Pakistan bekannt, daß es die EU-Staaten auffordern wird Gesetze zu erlassen, mit denen die Meinungsfreiheit bei uns beschnitten werden soll. Aufgrund der falschen Lehre Mohammeds sehen sich pakistanische Bürger immer wieder gezwungen, Botschaftsgebäude europäischer Staaten anzugreifen. Kurz zuvor hatten pakistanische Moslems ein Selbstmordattentat vor der dänischen Botschaft verübt, bei dem mehrere Menschen ums Leben kamen. Daß Pakistan wenige Tage später Zensurgesetze in Europa fordert zeigt, wem es die Schuld dafür gibt.

“When we want to know about human rights we do not go to the UN, we go to the Holy Qur’an”. Ayatollah Khomeni.   

Mit herzlichen Grüßen
Für die Freiheit des Geistes

Dorothea Walter

Web: www.do-wa.de


Kafkaesk

June 29, 2008

Im Gespräch mit der Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung erläutert der Literaturwissenschaftler Reiner Stach, Verfasser einer umfangreichen Kafka-Biografie, was er unter dem Begriff ‘kafkaesk’ versteht:

“Eigentlich kann ich mit dem Begriff gar nicht so viel anfangen. Meistens meinen die Leute damit etwas Absurdes und zugleich Unheimliches, meistens geht es um irgendwelche Machtbeziehungen: Wenn diejenigen, die das Zentrum der Macht besetzen, im Dunkeln bleiben, dann hat man das Gefühl, die Situation sei ‘kafkaesk’. Das ist vermutlich auch die entscheidende Verbindungslinie zwischen Kafka und uns. In seinen Romanen ist ja der Gipfel der Pyramide unsichtbar, und in der heutigen Gesellschaft weiß man – trotz der scheinbaren Transparenz – auch nicht so genau, wie es in den obersten Instanzen zugeht. Wir wissen nicht, wo das Machtzentrum liegt, wir wissen nicht einmal, ob es ein solches Zentrum überhaupt gibt. Wer entscheidet in letzter Instanz über die Weltmarktpreise von Öl und Lebensmitteln? Welche Personengruppe hat den größten Einfluss auf die Börsenkurse? Man wüsste gern, wie es dort oben zugeht, aber man lernt allenfalls die Zwischenhändler kennen. Das ist genau wie in Kafkas ‘Proceß’.”

Vollständiges Gespräch lesen.


Google Earth: A New Platform for Anti-Israel Propaganda and Replacement Geography

June 29, 2008

by Dr. Andre Oboler

The influence of the Internet on our lives is increasing. News, advertising, employment, education, and networking are being affected. Israel’s security is especially vulnerable to the manipulation of geography. The online world allows the creation of a virtual reality that at times bears only passing resemblance to facts on the ground.

The gap between reality and virtual reality is further exploited by political activists promoting what we term “replacement geography,” a means of controlling the virtual representation of land in place of controlling the land itself. In an information age, control on the common map may be worth more in negotiations than control on the ground.

Google Earth

With a user base of 400 million,(1) Google Earth uses satellite imagery combined with maps, terrain, and 3D buildings to present the earth at various levels of magnification. Key features (geography, place details, pictures, etc.) are included with the download of Google Earth in what is known as a “core layer.” Users can also download “custom layers” created by other users, which provide educational, historical, or special interest information to be accessed by those wishing to take the Google Earth experience further.

The Google Earth website was the 8th most searched for website in the UK at the start of 2006.(2) The user base in June 2007 was 200 million, (3) up 100 percent from reports10 months earlier.(4) The application has broad appeal, with almost a quarter of the visitors to Google Earth over the age of 55.(5) Google Earth has been used by campaign groups to raise public awareness; examples include grass roots environmental campaigns that created a layer with information against deforestation; a WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) layer showing large-scale environmental and socioeconomic shifts; and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum which created a layer with information on the crisis in Darfur. These projects were custom layers which users could add to Google Earth.(6)

Virtual Reality

Virtual Israel, as represented by Google Earth, is littered with dozens of orange dots. Orange dots represent contributions from the user community, and those appearing by default have been accepted into the core layout by Google Earth. In the case of Israel, most of these dots claim to represent “one of the Palestinian localities evacuated and destroyed after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.” For example, Ramat Aviv, the site of Tel Aviv University, appears as Al Shaykh Muwannis. While generally Google Earth does not erase Israeli towns and kibbutzim, it has heavily integrated a politically motivated Palestinian narrative into the map of Israel. As a result, Israel is depicted as a state born out of colonial conquest rather than the return of a people from exile. Each orange dot links to the “Palestine Remembered” site, where custom layers which further advance this narrative can be obtained.

Early press reports portrayed the virtual Palestine initiative as documentation of fact and included Israeli comments that it was “biased but legitimate.”(7) Later research showed that many of the claims staked out in Google Earth were presenting misinformation. Kiryat Yam was wrongly claimed to be built on the Palestinian village of Ghawarina. Many sites known to be ruins in 1946 are claimed to be villages destroyed in 1948. Arab villages which still exist today are listed as sites of destruction.8 The Google Earth initiative is not only creating a virtual Palestine, it is creating a falsification of history.

Google Earth’s core information also includes other problems. Previously, areas beyond the “green line” were labeled as “Occupied Territories,” a phraseology which is sometimes used to justify terrorism, rather than “disputed territories.”(9) The area listed as “occupied” also included the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.(10) Google Earth places Mt. Scopus and its Hebrew University campus in Jerusalem within Jordanian territory prior to 1967, even though it was an area where Israel exercised control during that period, according to the 1949 Armistice Agreement.

In March 2008 the Gaza Strip was still listed as “Israeli-occupied,” despite Israel’s full withdrawal in 2005 and the military takeover of the Strip by Hamas in mid-2007. By May 2008 (after press coverage), the label was changed to read “Gaza Strip.” A note states: “Many sources still regard the Gaza Strip as ‘Israeli-occupied’ despite formal Israeli withdrawal in September 2005.”(11) There is still no mention of Hamas’ control.

Politically-Loaded Geography

“Replacement geography” builds on the concept of “replacement theology,” a position that spurred anti-Semitism within the church and which, starting with Vatican II, has been removed from Christian doctrine. Indeed, it has been stated that recognition of the State of Israel by the Vatican completed this process.(12) Replacement theology stated that Christians had inherited the covenant and replaced the Jews as the chosen people. The concept of replacement geography similarly replaces the historical connection of one people to the land with a connection between another people and the land.

This was famously applied by the Romans when they renamed Judea to Palaestinia, and Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina in 135 CE in an effort to destroy the Jewish people after the Bar Kokhba revolt. In more recent times, replacement geography has resulted in the destruction of Jewish artifacts at the Temple Mount.(13)

The inclusion of virtual Palestine, superimposed on Israel in the core layer of Google Earth, is an example of replacement geography advanced by technology. Those wishing to find directions, explore the cities of Israel, or randomly wander across this small piece of land are immediately taken to a politically motivated narrative unrelated to their quest. This is the sort of replacement the ancient Romans tried and failed to achieve. The promotion of a replacement narrative works against a compromise solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, inspiring absolutist positions rather than a negotiated settlement.

Main Implications

Generally, Google allows all kinds of organizations or individuals to create overlays with their own information on its map. These overlays are only available to those who specifically request them, but they are not automatically incorporated into the core map of Google Earth that every user entering its website can see. Disturbingly, Google has incorporated the Palestinians’ overlays and their accompanying narrative into its core maps of Israel. As Google maintains editorial control over its core layer, it has responsibility for its content, which it clearly has not adequately exercised.

Google Earth presents a tremendous challenge by allowing historical revisionism. Maps of the world have changed with evolving historical circumstances everywhere. Yet theoretically, with this tool, organizations seeking to make a claim for Mexican sovereignty over territories incorporated into the U.S. in the nineteenth century could raise such arguments by revising the map of Texas or California. Rather than serving as an educational resource, Google Earth could simply evolve into a website for political warfare.

For those who do not physically visit Israel, the “facts” on this virtual ground are real. It is to be expected that people will form their opinion on issues such as borders, land rights, and historic connection based on sources like Google Earth. The social propagation of a narrative of Israeli aggression and ethnic cleansing – an aspect of “Anti-Semitism 2.0″(14) – is spread through Google Earth.

Without a response that includes new information about the historical connection of the Jewish people to Israel throughout the ages, as well as modern Israeli history and the Israel of today, the world’s opinion of Israel can only grow dimmer. An increase in content – assuming Google will eventually add it to the core layer, something that is far from certain – would address the vast imbalance, yet do little for the user experience.

A far better solution would be for Google to remove the narrative and treat Israel as it treats every other country on the globe. Both the Palestinian narrative and promotion of Israel can have their place, but this should be in optional layers. The core layer of Google Earth should be ideology free and not serve as a platform for indoctrination or a campaign to wipe Israel off the virtual map.

Courtesy of Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Notes 1. Mike Swain, “Amazon Tribe Using Google Earth to Battle Illegal Loggers,” Daily Mirror, 21 June 2008, http://www.mirror.co.uk/

2. Quentin Reade, “Google Earth’s Popularity Booms,” Web User Magazine, 25 January 2006, http://www.webuser.co.uk/news/news.php?id=73488

3. Stefanie Olsen, “Do-Gooders Doing Google Earth,” CNET News.com, 7 June 2007, http://www.news.com/

4. David Meyer, “Google, Microsoft Vie for Earth Domination,” CNET News.com, 12 September 2006, http://news.cnet.com/Google,-Microsoft-vie-for-Earth-domination/

5. Quentin Reade, “Google Earth’s Popularity Booms,” Web User Magazine, 25 January 2006, www.webuser.co.uk/news/news.php?id=73488.

6. Stefanie Olsen, op. cit.

7. Gal Mor, “Palestinian Villages Commemorated on Google Maps,” Ynet News, 13 July 2006.

8. David Shamah, “Digital World: Google Earth’s ‘False Flags’,” Jerusalem Post, 4 March 2008.

9. Dore Gold, “From ‘Occupied Territories’ to ‘Disputed Territories’,” Jerusalem Viewpoints, No. 470, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 16 January 2002.

10. “Google’s Latest Anti-Jewish Outrage,” WorldNetDaily, 11 March 2008. http://worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=58658

11. See in Google Earth, 22 June 2008.

12. Padraic O’Hare, The Enduring Covenant: The Education of Christians and the End of Antisemitism, (Pennsylvania: Trinity Press International, 1997).

13. Mark Ami-El, “The Destruction of the Temple Mount Antiquities,” Jerusalem Viewpoints, No. 483, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 1 August 2002, http://www.jcpa.org/jl/vp483.htm

14. Andre Oboler, “Online Antisemitism 2.0. ‘Social Antisemitism’ on the ‘Social Web’,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, No. 67, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 1 April 2008.

***

About the author: Dr. Andre Oboler is a social media expert. He holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Lancaster University, UK and is a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Political Science at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. He is currently a Legacy Heritage Fellow at NGO Monitor in Jerusalem, and edits ZionismOnTheWeb.org – a website countering on-line hate.


Der Wahnsinn tobt in deutschen “Forscherhirnen”: Israelische Sportler seien 1972 freiwillig in den Tod gegangen

June 28, 2008

Der Spiegel berichtet über eine neue Welle des Antisemitismus bzw. Rassismus in Deutschland, die diesmal die akademische Welt erreicht hat.

 

“Arnd Krüger, Direktor des sportwissenschaftlichen Institutes der Universität Göttingen, hatte bei einer Tagung deutscher Historiker am vorvergangenen Freitag die These aufgestellt, dass die bei den Olympischen Spielen 1972 von Palästinensern ermordeten israelischen Sportler von dem Anschlag gewusst hätten und damit freiwillig in den Tod gegangen wären, um Israel zu nützen.”

 

Zum Artikel.


The Iranian Shell Game

June 27, 2008

by Emanuele Ottolenghi, director of the Transatlantic Institute
Published in Commentary Magazine, July-August 2008

Ever since a defector exposed the existence of Iran’s nuclear program in 2002, the regime in Tehran has routinely protested its innocence in the face of charges that it is developing fissile weapons of mass destruction and the missiles on which to carry them. Its nuclear program, Tehran claims, has only civilian purposes, and it is allowed to pursue such a program under the terms of the binding international treaties to which it is a signatory.

If Iran is telling the truth and desires solely nuclear energy – which would be peculiar, to say the least, considering that under its sands rest the world’s second largest natural-gas reserves and the world’s fifth largest crude-oil reserves- its behavior these past six years makes no sense. The regime would seem to have had everything to gain from making it crystal-clear to the world that it has no intentions of developing nuclear weapons. Instead, it has rejected repeated and alluring incentives designed to seduce it into demonstrating the non-existence of the efforts it continues to insist it is not undertaking. In the process, it has had to suffer painful economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations and the United States. Its six years of defiance and stonewalling have led to increasing diplomatic isolation.

As a matter of simple logic, then, it is only rational to conclude that Iran is working, and working very hard, to become a nuclear power. But there may be logic of a different and no less compelling kind behind its actions. For, at the end of these same six years, many in the West remain fiercely committed to the idea that discussing the dangers of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear power-let alone discussing how to stop it-represents a greater threat to the world than does the Iranian pursuit itself.

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United States presidential election, 2008: The State of Patriotism

June 27, 2008

What is the American idea? It’s the fractious, maddening approach to the conduct of human affairs that values equality despite its elusiveness, that values democracy despite its debasement, that values pluralism despite its messiness, that values institutions of civic culture despite their flaws, and that values public life as something higher and greater than the sum of all our private lifes. (The Editors of The Atlantic Monthly)

This was the secret of America: a nation of people with the fresh memory of old traditions who dared to explore new frontiers, people eager to build lives for themselves in a spacious society that did not restrict their freedom of choice and action. (John Fitzgerald Kennedy)

In a new cover story in Time Magazine, Peter Beinart looks at what patriotism means in the United States of America.

“How to Be a Patriot. On inspection, the liberal and conservative brands of patriotism both have defects. In a country where today’s nativists are yesterday’s immigrants and where change is practically a national religion, conservative patriotism can seem anachronistic. To be Spanish or Russian or Japanese is to imagine that you share a common ancestry and common traditions that trace back into the mists of time. But in America, where most people hail from somewhere else, that kind of blood-and-soil patriotism makes no sense. There is something vaguely farcical about conservative panic over Mexican flags in Los Angeles when Irish flags have long festooned Boston’s streets on St. Patrick’s Day. Linking patriotism too closely to a reverence for inherited tradition contradicts one of America’s most powerful traditions: that our future shouldn’t be dictated by our past.”

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