Thursday, December 18, 2008

"He rapes women like you"

A short excerpt from Michael Totten's latest post:
I heard Captain Looney's voice in the back room where the women and children had been corralled. The woman who had screamed when her door was broken down was crying hysterically.

“I've been in Iraq too long for your crying to affect me,” Captain Looney said in a hard, even, and no-bullshit tone of voice.

She stopped crying instantly. She didn't even continue to sob. She just stopped as if the captain had flipped off a switch...

A real spine-tingling tale. Read it all in On the Hunt in Baghdad, and please consider sending Michael a donation.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Debunking "Ben-Gurion on Pakistan"

In our discussion of the fallout from the Mumbai Massacre, rabid anti-Zionist "DrM" produced this quote:
“The world Zionist movement should not be neglectful of the dangers of Pakistan to it. And Pakistan now should be its first target, for this ideological State is a threat to our existence. And Pakistan, the whole of it, hates the Jews and loves the Arabs. “This lover of the Arabs is more dangerous to us than the Arabs themselves. For that matter, it is most essential for the world Zionism that it should now take immediate steps against Pakistan. “Whereas the inhabitants of the Indian peninsula are Hindus whose hearts have been full of hatred towards Muslims, therefore, India is the most important base for us to work there from against Pakistan. “It is essential that we exploit this base and strike and crush Pakistanis, enemies of Jews and Zionism, by all disguised and secret plans.”
- David Ben Gurion, the first Israeli Prime Minister.His words, as printed in the Jewish Chronicle,9 August 1967

Could this quote be true and accurate? I decided to investigate. I discovered that the London Jewish Chronicle (now called "The JC"), the only possible candidate for the "Jewish Chronicle" mentioned in the "quote", wasn't even published on the given date - it is published weekly - and an internet search of their archive for 1967-1974 using the search term "Pakistan" fails to reveal the "quote".

I notified LJC of the "quote" and continued my investigation. I discovered these words apparently first appeared on the internet for six years ago, in this article at Rense citing a now-defunct link at the "Baluchistan Post" as its source. Baluchistan is a region of Pakistan adjacent to Afghanistan, and its capital, Quetta, is allegedly the current headquarters of the Taliban and a known refuge, if not a headquarters, for Al-Qaeda.

The "quote" has an interesting Internet history. At the Pakistan Defense Forum, where it was under serious discussion, I announced my findings. Reactions ranged from amusement to denial:

Roadrunner: I don't know if the quote is true anyhow. I'm seeing why so many websites are reporting it. It might have been pulled -

I responded:

"Interesting, you confess you don't know if it's true, then proceed as if it is. There was no article to be pulled if the JC wasn't published on the alleged date! Yet you may have hit something: what is the thinking behind quoting something, then alleging it was concealed afterward?

"In Muslim cultures it seems to be important to portray crime or aggression against non-Muslims as a justifiable defensive response. I suppose a little fib like faking a quote would certainly help . The earliest versions of the "quote" always contain this preface:
If there is still any doubt as to the real intentions of Israel, then please see this statement issued by David Ben Gurion, the first Israeli Prime Minister. His words, as printed in the Jewish Chronicle, 9 August 1967, leave nothing to imagination:

So the avowed purpose of "citing" the "quote" is to establish beyond any doubt that Israel is Pakistan's enemy.

"Think back, if you will, to those heady days of May, 2002 - the furthest back I've been able to trace the story, supposedly in the Baluchistan Post. Iraq had not yet been invaded, the Taliban and Al Qaeda had been tossed out of Afghanistan to hide in the NWFP, and it was Yassir Arafat who was stealing the Islamists' thunder by bombing Israeli civilians almost every day. What could be more natural for an Al-Qaeda seeking a new direction and renewed prominence than to attempt to compete with Arafat by shifting the struggle to Palestine and renewing its strength by drawing local Pakistani recruits into its ranks? The faked quote would thus be a necessary preliminary to recruitment, and if somebody happened to point out that there was no evidence of it, it could always be said that it was "concealed afterward".

"After 2002, it seems the "quote" slept for quite a while, until July or September of this year. Perhaps it was revived then to provide justification for the upcoming attack upon Nachiman House? Certainly the "quote" was quick to appear afterward. I'm disappointed by how quickly it was seized upon by Pakistanis, and how nobody bothered to try to verify it until now. When one considers the gullibility of so many Pakistanis, don't you think it makes us ignorant Westerners look almost wise by comparison?"

Debunking this took a lot of time and effort. It is quite unfair, very similar to debating "truthers". However, it seems many Muslims expect non-Muslims to do this kind of hard work for them, rather than checking the sources themselves. I wish it could be different, for in one respect debunking isn't always effective.

I recall one example, from five years ago, over at the now-defunct French-American discussion board that was hosted at After I showed my interlocutor that the anger he felt towards the U.S. was undeserved (because the article that had provoked him was marked "satire" and he didn't catch that) he noted that although he accepted the correction intellectually, he still felt angry towards America; his emotions remained fixed by his first, false impression of the USA.

Israel's stance towards Pakistan in the 40+ years since 1967 is best measured by its actions. Israel took little notice of Pakistan. Just consider that Israel did not respond to Pakistan's nuclear bomb development by conventional air attacks or a nuclear strike that would devastate Pakistan's population, as one would expect if the "quote" was an important guide to Israeli policy. The last time I recall an Israeli mentioning Pakistan was Peres' statement a few years back that he prayed for Musharraf's safety.

When will Arabs and Muslims grasp the fact that by giving in to anti-Zionism and anti-Americanism they are supporting the very tyrannies that threaten them and keep them chained?

Update, 12/16/08

Looks like "Michael Browne", a commenter on Truthdig, caught it first. link

Update, 2/6/11

Acknowledgment that Ben-Gurion's hostility to Pakistan is phony from a Pakistani general:

"A clearly forged statement, in which the first prime minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion, terms Pakistan a threat to the existence of Israel, is quoted on many websites." link

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Quote of the Year

'The truth will make you free' is a principle that you young people should always keep in mind, especially today when, scorning the truth, freedom is relinquished...

"...There is a greater and more subliminal danger than the terrorism of 'cut-throats.' It is the terrorism of the 'cut-tongues,' that is, the fear of affirming and divulging our faith and our civilization, and it brings us to auto-censorship and to deny our values, putting everything and the contrary to everything on the same plane."

- Magdi Cristiano Allam

Monday, December 01, 2008

The Slow Death of the Saudi Interfaith Dialogue Initiative

The Saudis appear to be reverting to the narrow definition of dialogue developed in June at the Mecca Preparatory Conference: that of dialogue as proselytization, rather than mutual and active listening. The U.N. Dialogue meeting is cited as "proof" of the monarchy's good intentions - thus letting the Saudis off the hook for any failure from this point forward. From here, I expect that the Saudi Interfaith Dialogue Initiative is quite dead. Only Minister of Culture and Information Iyad bin Amin Madani seems to consider dialogue as a means of rapprochement - assuming rapprochement isn't considered another euphemism for proselytization.

Curiously, although it is acknowledged that Muslim terrorists are the problem, the solution advocated is increased education of non-Muslims. How exactly is that supposed to help?