Friday, February 06, 2009

A Moment of Anger that Dispensed with Speechmaking

Jihad el-Khazen, 02-02-2009

An Arab businessman friend of mine, the kind who I see in Davos year after year, said that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made him proud because he is a Muslim and ashamed because he is an Arab.

It was a moment of anger that dispensed with speechmaking; Erdogan withdrew from the session with Shimon Peres. He could not tolerate, as a Muslim, that Muslims be killed while the killer denied his crime. Moreover, he did not act like a politician who was trying to score a political point or cheap advantage.

Regular readers of this column should remember that I have always referred to the Israeli president as a charlatan and public relations person who tries to polish Israel’s image or tone down its barbarity, through brazen lying.

While, in all likelihood, readers have now learned all of the details of the confrontation at Davos, and have seen a video of the incident over and over again, I would like to turn their attention to something Peres said to justify his position – something that has been said before, by all extremist criminal supporters of Israel around the world. Peres asked how Erdogan would behave if rockets were launched at Istanbul. Writers who engage in political quackery, like Peres, had earlier asked how Canadians would act if rockets were launched at Toronto, and how Americans would behave if rockets fell on Los Angeles… or London, or Paris or Rome.

What Peres and all of those war criminals who defend Israel do not say is that rockets are being launched from territory that has been occupied for 41 years and that comparisons with Istanbul or Toronto are intellectually disgusting. Canadians, Americans and Turks do not occupy neighboring land by force and kill its people and destroy, to expect rockets to land on their cities.

Arab readers and I agree that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza. I will add that Israel was the first to acknowledge this, indirectly of course. Israeli military censors ordered Israeli newspapers from the first day to withhold the names of commanders of Israeli military units in the Gaza Strip, anticipating that such court cases could face them abroad, on charges of war crimes.

We know today that Spain has been a pioneer in accusing Israeli officers; however, the influential terrorists in Israel and in the world have pressured Spain and other countries. According to Israeli news items, the Spanish government has promised to review war crimes laws and might find a way out for those who have killed women and children in their homes, then insulted the memory of all by arguing that Hamas fighters were using them as human shields.

We know that the man in a state of danger tries to protect his small children with his body, and not the other way around. We have the Palestinian Mohammed al-Durra and his father as an example of this, caught by television cameras. However, Peres and other war criminals try to convince themselves and the world that the fighter in Gaza was not moving away from where his family lives to protect them from shelling, and that he was not trying to protect his son or daughter with his body, if with them, but was using his children to protect himself, and is seeking martyrdom anyway.

I am not surprised, after all of that, that Erdogan was enraged over the dignity of all Muslims, and left in anger.

A few minutes after the confrontation, Turkish television asked me for my opinion. I said that as an Arab, I supported Erdogan, saluted him and thanked him, and that I would like the return of the Ottoman state so that he could be elected the first caliph for us (I used the word “elected” because I do not know the best translation of ba‘ya).

I thank Erdogan once again today and add to what I told Turkish television, that there are many Arab elections taking place: in Iraq, and then in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon, North Africa and elsewhere. If the Turkish prime minister were to run in any of these countries, he would win.

A final word: David Ignatius, who moderated the discussion with Erdogan, is an American journalist of high caliber, a moderate who knows the Middle East and wants a peaceful solution that is fair to the Palestinians. What he writes in The Washington Post speaks to his objectivity and honesty. Some Arab commentators treated him unfairly after the session. Perhaps he made a mistake or lost track of time, but the session does not do away with his record. I spent two days after Erdogan’s withdrawal defending Ignatius at the conference, as I do in this column.

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