James Edward Johnson

my thoughts from right to left

Posts Tagged ‘turkey

Gaza Flotilla Investigator at Iowa College of Law.

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Boyd Law Building

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer was at the University of Iowa College of Law today.  He is the lead investigator for the UN Secretary General ‘s inquiry into the Gaza flotilla incident and the Mavi Marmara boarding that left several militant activists dead.  His investigation should not be confused with the recently concluded one conducted by the UN Human Rights Commission that summarily claimed Israel had committed war crimes.  Unlike the UNHRC investigation, Israel is cooperating with Palmer’s investigation and it is done under the more credible auspices of the Secretary General.

When I had Palmer as a professor in Comparative Constitutional Law, he was always very fair.  His views were somewhat more paternalistic than mine, but he was practical and reasonable.  The only major dispute I remember having with him was over the wisdom of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution.

Today, he maintained his professionalism.  His report will not be released until March.  He made very clear that he would not be commenting on the flotilla and he stuck to his word.  Radical leftist Professor Adrien Wing tried to bait him with a question that assumed his work would cause him to become the target of a campaign to discredit him personally and professionally and might even make him the target of violence (presumably by Jewish perpetrators?).

Palmer refused to take the bait and said simply that a person in the public eye learns to become immune to criticism.  His comments were the kind of steady, calm, and fair comments I would expect of an impartial judge.  I am optimistic that his report will be fairer to Israel than is typical of the UN.  With former Columbian President Alvaro Uribe by his side, I am doubly optimistic.

Written by JamesEJ

Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 12:43 am

From Mossad to Kurdistan …

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Point of No Return is an excellent blog that covers stories about Jews in the Middle East and North Africa.  It culls the news from an impressive array of sources and provides original pieces in what is a must-read source for all things Jewish in Arab countries.  Here is an excerpt of an interview of a Mossad agent, Jayzi-Ghazi, who helped the Kurds:

Aliayzar: In Mossad, we didn’t have ability to choose to where we could go. Sometimes, we would go to countries which we were against and we would go to their homes and they didn’t like to see us. You read their letters and listen to their talks without their consent. Sometimes you would face dictatorships. Anyway, you have no choice and you must obey. However, we were all happy to work in Kurdistan, because we knew that they were an oppressed nation.

via Point of no return: Mossadnik wants to become first Kurdish consul.

Israeli-Kurdish cooperation is an important start for what should be much broader Jewish support for our Kurdish friends.

Written by JamesEJ

Friday, July 23, 2010 at 7:28 pm

The Kurds were good to Jews and so …

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I have always been a supporter of the Kurdish people, their right to establish a state, and our obligation (as Americans, Jews, etc.) to help them.  I did not, however, always know about the unique debt that we Jews owe to the Kurds.  Last week, The Jerusalem Post illuminated my understanding:

We have a moral and a historic debt to the Kurdish people in all the geographic regions in which they live, especially the Kurdish community in Iraq. Following the riots, pogroms and harsh conditions that Iraqi Jews were exposed to, since the founding of the State of Israel and even before, it was the Kurdish people who helped Jewish families escape from Iraq to Turkey, and from there to reach the Land of Israel.

via Where is our gratitude to the Kurdish people? – The Jerusalem Post.

Particularly at this time, when Iran is making itself into a pariah and Turkey is moving away from the West, we have an obligation to reciprocate the support we have received from the Kurds.   Just as the Jews were stateless, so too are the Kurds stateless.  Many of them need our support both in Kurdistan and among their diaspora.  We should do more to establish and maintain diplomacy with them and for them.  Read the rest of the piece at The Jerusalem Post.

Written by JamesEJ

Saturday, July 17, 2010 at 8:45 pm

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Better off Gazan … the humanitarian non-crisis.

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Yemini Ben-Dror brings us some impressive observations over at Maariv (Hebrew).  The Gaza Strip has a higher life expectancy and a lower infant mortality than Iran, Turkey, and many Arab countries.  Moreover, in part because of high fertility and a young population, it has one of the lowest death rates in the world.  Indeed, the Gaza Strip has a booming population growth that outpaces almost every other country.

These facts would not be possible if Israel were cutting off needed food and medicine.  The simple reality is that Gazans are better off than most of their Arab and Muslim neighbors.  There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza.  Israel’s blockade is in place for security reasons and these facts conclusively prove that allegations to the contrary are completely unsupported by data.

Written by JamesEJ

Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Soner Cagaptay on Turkish Islamism.

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Soner Cagaptay from The Washington Institute for Near East Policy offers this observation at the top of his recent article:

At home, the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, has promoted the Islamist mindset of “us Muslims” in conflict with “the bad others” through the media and also by spreading Hamas’ views throughout Turkey, whether through official Hamas visits to Turkey or through AKP-supported conferences and fundraisers.

via WINEP – The AKP’s Hamas Policy: “Us vs. Them”.

While Cagaptay’s article goes on into other details, this observation is a core observation that many defenders of liberalism fail to make. Many people like to cast the war on terrorism as part of a clash of civilizations. That narrative serves only those who seek war.  Al Qaeda pushes this narrative for this very reason. If the war is between Al Qaeda and other extremist groups on one hand, and moderate Muslims on the other hand, then they will lose. But, if it is between Islam and the West, they have a chance of winning.

Whatever you think of the political ideology of extremist Islamism, you should want to defeat it. Defeating it means rejecting the divisive narrative pushed by these extremists. It is important, therefore, that we always make sure that our language is focused on those extremists who seek to do us harm and not on Muslims generally.

Written by JamesEJ

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 7:21 pm