Monthly Archives: June 2006

Vandalism redefined: the Lavon Affair

I was flipping through a book I bought after attending a talk by an Israeli ex-diplomat (wait, don't arrest me yet, hear it out, will you? I am enemy of the state only as an anarchist not an Israeli agent), Michael Oren. The book is authored by the same, and is titled Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East. The talk was interesting in so far as classical right-wing Zionist talks organized by racist Zionist groups can be considered "interesting." And here I must add, I felt rather odd going in, not because I felt intimidated by a bunch of nutcases, but because the talk itself was never intended to – and the organizers made no secret of this – be an open talk/discussion/debate on the issue (well, the topic was the six-day war). Those who had come to hear the talk seemed interested only in hearing what they wanted to hear. Well, the whole thing was intended to be an occasion to brainstorm and organize pro-Israel activism. Sheets were passed around, and at this point I had to add my special touch. My name: Homeless Refugee. My e-mail: FreePalestine at … dot com. The e-mail was fake of course, as was my desire to be "enlisted" in the Zionist ranks for the "defense" of Israel… Back to the talk… the speaker was rather charismatic I must say, an eloquent speaker unlike I would argue Chomsky; but the material he presented, his take on it at least, was too simplistic. His thesis on the six-day war was that it was a timing thing. What on earth does that mean? Well, he argued that the Americans' failure to convey a formal apology by Hussein to the Israelis prompted the latter to launch an attack on a Palestinian village, and this of course had a domino effect, which eventually led to an all-out war…

Let me give him the benefit of the doubt (as I usually generously do with Zionist authors, if only to avoid being accused of anti-Semitism – although at the end of the day it won't matter because unless I support the Zionists I will be considered an anti-Semite) for simplifying this issue, and let's say this cause-and-effect analysis is accurate. Fair enough. Let us take a look at one point in his writing, on page 9 of his book (emphasis mine):

[I]n an ill-conceived scheme to thwart Britain's evacuation from the Canal, Israeli agents attempted to foment chaos in Egypt by vandalizing public institutions. Eleven Egyptians, Jews, were arrested and charged with treason.

Vandalizing public institutions. This is the code name for what is usually referred to as the "Lavon Affair." Let us see what Avi Shlaim, another Israeli author, has to say about this. The quote is taken from page 111 of The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World:

A Jewish espionage ring, organized and directed by military intelligence, carried out a series of acts of sabotage inside Egypt in July 1954… On 2 July incendiary devices were planted in mailboxes in Alexandria, causing very little damage. The same tactic was used against American libraries and information offices in Cairo and Alexandria on 14 July, again with little effect. On 23 July … members of the ring set out to detonate their bombs in a number of cinemas showing British and American films and in a post office.

Detonating bombs in Egyptian cinemas (by no means empty of civilians) is now considered, by this ex-member of the Israeli delegation to the UN, "vandalism", but detonating bombs in Israeli cinemas and on buses is of course, terrorism, a terrible crime committed by a people (a people? I thought they considered the Palestinians cockroaches and two-legged beasts for the longest time – still do???) apparently genetically predisposed to terrorism and thirst for Jewish blood. In his supposedly great book this supposedly great historian/author/defender of Israel (this already makes one a great historian /author) does not deem it worthwhile to mention Lavon or to refer to, in passing, the term that is commonly used to refer to this "vandalism".

I wonder what ingenious term will Mr. Oren come up with to refer to the King David Hotel bombing, which killed 91 people… "An act of desperation in the Jewish quest for self-determination"?

Edit: Some corrections made.

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Some pictures from Phoenicia

Ever since I found out that Google Earth officially worries the most moral army in the world, I have been doing some spying on our very moral neighbours down to the south and our sisterly neighbour to the north and east… I found Dimona staring back at me innocently (puppy eyes); of course Homs, which we lovingly joke about, was also interesting to check out. But none is as interesting as our dear Lebanon, that ancient land of Phoenicians and cedars. Well, the cedars are almost extinct in this land of cedars, but the Phoenicians arguably aren't. The Lebanese (Arabs or not Arabs? hmm) fought about this very point for 15 years. And below, below you see the end results.

road.jpg bridge1.jpg bridge.jpg

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Hello again, world!

So I am back; and many apologies for the long absence and mysterious silence. I have been busy lately with work (sigh!) and school, but I am finally done with both, at least for the time being (i.e. until next week). My vacation was supposed to be 2 weeks long but some people are rude enough to demand extra work when it is outside the contract agreement signed… And being a “can’t say no” (naive? stupid?) person, I stupidly took on the task that I did not have to, which meant that there will be further demands (for Monday), because the more you spoil them the more they demand… But, I am determined to ignore, ignore, and ignore, because it is my vacation, and I owe that much to myself.

Having said all that, part of the reason for my silence (since more than one person has inquired so far) has been the fact that I have been really at a loss for words because I feel that whatever I write is merely a repetition of the previous entry – because, as I have told those who asked, we Middle Easterners simply like going in circles (reminds me of the bus song… “the wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round…”). I have tried to avoid falling into the trap of paraphrasing news reports on developments (developments? since when did that apply to the Middle East?) in the region, because there are all too many websites and blogs that do that. I like to adhere to analysis and observation on my blog as much as possible. Speaking of observation, I have been observing a unique phenomenon in Lebanon lately. Well, it happens every 4 years, but it is a sight to see… By the end of May, flags of different countries (mostly Brazil, Germany, and Italy) have decorated streets, balconies, store fronts, cars, motorcycles, and so on. A foreigner visiting the country would be amazed at how many “foreign nationals” live in the country… but to the locals, it’s a way of life, a uniquely Lebanese phenomenon, something to be celebrated rather than “overanalyzed” and shunned… I understand that there is some excitement due to World Cup, I understand (ok, maybe not so much) that people might like the way one national team or another plays, but to hang flags (and I mean, not just small car flags, I mean flags that cover entire buildings) and go out to the streets in the middle of the night honking because some country’s team (and if you’re one of those typical flag-wavers, you probably don’t even know where that country is located) won a game, is a little bit too much. In fact, this is not surprising at all… The Lebanese are good at celebrating others’ victories and losses instead of strengthening themselves so that they themselves can achieve such victories. Now the discussion is no longer just about the World Cup, but also about politics, and the Lebanese people’s reaction to their surroundings. This is why Lebanon has never been and will never be independent, or free of the cancerous tumours called elites (zu’ama). There is a fable in Armenian that goes something like, “the fox couldn’t get to the grape, so it said, ‘it’s unripe anyway’ “… the Lebanese, when they can’t get the grape, say, “let me cheer for the lion to get it.” Such is the peculiar world that the Lebanese live in… As for the World Cup, I am rooting for the underdogs (no particular one), as long as it will mean that the Lebanese will bitterly remove their flags. Although, come to think of it, so long as such mentality is there, things will continue to move … in circles.

Moving on, I mentioned I have been busy with school; those of you who also check out my other blog have probably noticed that about 10 days ago I posted my paper for my ethnic conflict class (on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict). I have decided to also post my paper for my Palestine class. The paper is in PDF format, is downloadable (right click & “save link as”) and printable, but not editable.

Zionism’s Socialist Dilemma: Nationalism, Colonization, and Class Struggle

The paper is 24 pages (plus 2 for bibliography). Please do report any factual or technical mistakes; I started writing the paper 5 days (if you count the long breaks, I did less than 2 day’s work on the paper – minus the reference collection part, which was done a month ago) before its due date, and have not read it over…

Well, enjoy! And I am off to play Call of Duty.