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Europe's naked hypocrisy

by tyronen Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 12:48:23 PM EST

So now we hear that up to 15,000 UN troops will be heading into Lebanon.  Two thousand from France, three thousand from Italy, yay us.  Israel will be kept safe from a few kidnappings and rockets.  Lebanon will be kept safe from Israel.  And Hezbollah watch out!  the wrath of the EU will be upon you.

Is this an example of the new, robust, EU foreign policy?  A Europe no longer afraid of force, able to step in while its American rival is tied down in an endless war?

No, it is not.  It brings home to me all that is ugly about Europe - its legacy of colonialism, racism, and exploitation.  This is a continent that once enslaved the world.  It today may have progressive welfare states and humane labour markets, but the old, darker instincts are still there.


What makes the deployment to Lebanon so damning is, of course, the situation in Darfur.  

All along, everyone has tut-tutted about the genocide there, talking sorry but doing nothing.  China buys oil from these murderers, oblivious to the human agony behind their fuel supply.  The UN remains paralyzed by the threat of a Chinese or Russian veto.  The African Union sends a toothless force of barely armed monitors who can hardly protect themselves, let alone the civilian population.  The US sidesteps and ducks, with its own military trapped in Iraq, and dependent on the Khartoum regime for intelligence on Al Qaeda.  The Arab League, of course, will never criticize or condemn one of their own, no matter how evil.  

And the EU?  Excuse after excuse.  We can't risk war with Sudan.  We don't have the military capacity.  We're already busy in Congo and Côte d'Ivoire.  Blah blah fucking blah.

But when Israel and the US apply suitable diplomatic pressure, troops just magically appear.  They can fight a puny pseudo-state with a few rockets but they cannot take on a murderous genocidal regime.  They can disarm rockets but they stand idly by as villages are destroyed, women raped, and children left to starve.  

The reason is obvious of course.  Israel matters.  It is (or occupies) The Holy Land.  Whether they love or hate Israel, Europeans, Americans, and Arabs all obsess about it.  They praise or criticize its every move, obsessively follow every real or imagined threat to it, or threat it poses.  They offer their diplomatic offices and, now, their military strength either on its behalf, or to guard against it, or both simultaneously.

Israel is not as evil as Khartoum.  Hezbollah is not as evil as Khartoum.  Indeed, offhand I cannot think of any international actor on earth who is more evil than Khartoum.  Fighting them - or at the very least making at least some effort to protect their victims - should be the top priority of the international community.

And nations that pride themselves as lacking the jingoism and militarism of their transatlantic rival should be at the forefront of that effort.  They are not.  As secularized as they may have become, the atavistic call of religion is not entirely forgotten.

And so Europe will take out the speck in Israel's and Hezbollah's eyes, and ignore the log in Sudan's eye.

Display:
Yes, I find it amazing that just as so little attention is being paid in the European Community to the problem of Sudan, we are seeing one after another diary in Euro Trib chastising Israel, while the silence on Darfour is deathening.
Of course, we could always resort to calling European Nations "pathetic excuses for civilized states" as it has been said by someone about Israel, for their continuous unwillingness to commit to any serious effort to improve the situation in Sudan.

Mikhail from SF
by Tsarrio (dj_tsar@yahoo.com) on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 01:14:06 PM EST
A good thing you and tyronen have got Darfur to whack the EU over the head with, because I doubt if you agree on anything else.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 01:39:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We don't have to agree on anything else :)

Mikhail from SF
by Tsarrio (dj_tsar@yahoo.com) on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 02:16:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup, because there has been a total silence on Darfur here. No diaries, no front page stories, nothing. Not a word. Well spotted.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 02:52:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is specifically European about the things you blame it about? Are we the only ones obsessing about Israel? In fact, why are you even talking about Israel and Europe in your thread, ensuring that little will be said about Darfur?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 02:53:40 PM EST
OK, make that 3 questions! ;-)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 02:54:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It isn't specifically European - as the diary says everyone is guilty in Darfur, and everyone obsesses about Israel.  But this is a European site, is it not?

Another reason I concentrate on Europe is because the EU logically should be the one to intervene in Darfur.  They would provoke much less of a nationalist backlash than a US-led force would, and the US is tied down in Iraq anyway.

I'm just infuriated that Europe managed to come up with a force for Lebanon in just a few weeks while has done nothing in Darfur for years.

by tyronen on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 06:22:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just yesterday there was an op-ed in Spain's El Pais advocating for the EU to press for UN authorisation for an interposition force in the Occupied Territories. That would be more similar to a Darfur intervention.

The problem in both cases is getting a UN resolution to authorise the use of force. Around Israel you have the problem of overcoming a US veto of anything that Israel doesn't like. In Darfur it seems Russia and China are willing to veto resolutions not to the liking of the Sudanese government, though I am not quite so certain that is the case (does anone have references?).

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 2nd, 2006 at 04:26:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's see:

Israel says "Deploy a peacekeeping force or we will keep killing Lebanese"

Sudan says "No international peacekeepers in our country - if they arrive without our approval we will attack them"

So, no difference there then.

And, I love that your solution for Sudanese killing Sudanese is for Europeans to go and kill Sudanese. That would sure show them the error of their ways.

by det on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 03:12:15 PM EST
If Europe would spend some effort on "cleaning up" the non-sensical borders if left as it withdrew from the colonial era, that would go a long way to improving what tends to ensure endemic misery and civil war in Africa.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 03:53:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe, but it sounds alot like White Man's Burden. If Europe fucked it up the first time around, why should we think we would get it right the second time? Pottery barn rule does not apply - just because we broke those countries does not mean that the locals want to sell them to us.
by det on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 05:32:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So you're an isolationist? Should we stop aid programs and such?

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 06:10:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know if I am an isolationist, but I'm not an interventionist. I am all for helping any country that wants help. Also, all governments should severe all ties they have with any other governments that they find objectionable. They can agitate to have all other government do the same, but if there is no unanimity they can still act unilaterally. Of course, that is idealistic and governments operate on the basis of realpolitik (despite what they may claim). Idealism can be used to justify military intervention, but usually that is only done by countries that are powerful and imagine that they would never find themselves on the receiving end of such an intervention. But history gives lie to that little fantasy. I guess that makes me a cynic.
by det on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 06:38:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How do you decide who to help? If the "government" asks for help, but the government itself is the problem, do you send them money or do you dislodge it by blowing up their army?

Hardly anybody says that Saddam was a good guy. Is stability with a bad government better than instability without a dicatatorship? Why is the West on such great terms with Saudi Arabia? They have a stable government, sure, but it's probably the most reactionary and repressive one in the Middle East.

Indian nationalists argued that Britain should leave, because it would be better to have a bad Indian government than a good British government in India. Wouldn't India be better off if the British had stayed to help them run their railroads? Ghana's economy collapsed shortly after independence; should the West go in and tell them how to run things?

If you want to ignore countries that you have problems with, what about China (human rights problems from one end to the other) or Russia (corruption rampant) or India (caste system alive and well) and Australia (racist bigots) and France (uncooperative old-Europeans)? The U.S. would have relations with about two countries (Poland and, maybe, Canada) if realpolitik were not followed.

It seems to me that there is always a large amount of "doing the best possible in the circumstances" in international relations, and one can always argue in favor of or against a specific policy.

by asdf on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 11:57:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok, that previous post of mine was very badly constructed (and its not the only one). I was trying to say what a purely idealistic foreign policy would be like - not that I believed that such a policy could or should be implemented. I would favour engagement (political not military) over isolation any day of the week. I am pretty much (but not entirely) against uninvited military intervention. Having to resort to force is an admission of diplomatic failure and, while such failures will inevitability occur, every effort should be made to minimize them. However, now you get the likes of Blair who romanticize a military response but are too lazy to support the hard graft and pragmatism that might nip problems in the bud.

In general, I am with the Indian nationalists - a "bad" government by nationals is better than a "good" government by foreigners. Of course the comparison usually only arises after colonialism. We only ever get to compare the colonial government with the one that follows it, never with the one that would have developed had there been no colonization.

"doing the best possible in the circumstances"

That is indeed how it should be and hopefully it is mostly the case. Unfortunately there are some glaring examples of not doing the best possible. For instance:

Uzbeckistan on the "coalition of the willing" - was one extra name really needed that badly?

Cosseting Saudi Arabia. Smart realpolitik dictates that you should stay friendly with Saudi Arabia but it doesn't exclude some arm-twisting behind the scenes. The US claims it is encouraging change, but evidence is pretty thin on the ground.

Demonizing Iran. Letting past history dictate current stance is just stupid. If the US had engaged with Iran in 2001/2002 the situation might be alot sweeter right now and the need to keep the Saudis happy might not be so great.

one can always argue in favor of or against a specific policy.

Usually, but not always. Off-hand, I can think of one policy that I would not argue against:
You don't overthrow a democratically elected government, no matter how much you hate their guts.
by det on Sun Aug 27th, 2006 at 09:46:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So you think Europe should rush to do whatever Israel asks, but should cow in terror before a cowardly, genocidal regime?

I think the solution to Germans killing Jews was exactly for Soviets, British, and Americans to kill Germans.  Same principle here.

Sudan's threats are all bluster.  In over 20 years of fighting, they were never able to defeat the SPLA in the southern war.  They would fold like matchsticks before a NATO-led force.  It is even possible that the mere threat of force, if credible, would be enough for Sudan to back down.  That is how the southern war ended.

Most of the actual killings are not even being carried out by the regular Sudanese army, but by janjaweed proxies.  Sudan is not a powerful country.  They have been committing genocide only because they know the international community is too  spineless to stop them.

by tyronen on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 06:19:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the solution to Germans killing Jews was exactly for Soviets, British, and Americans to kill Germans.  Same principle here.

If you apply that principle I don't think you'll get the result you want. Let's imagine. Sudan doing bad things - ho-hum, bad regime. Sudan arming itself up to be one of the world's major military powers  - arms race. Sudan sending its army in and taking over a couple of its neighbours - ummh, bad Sudan, time to prepare for very muscular containment or, if it tries this again, war. Sudan starts taking over yet another neighbour - declare war but don't actually do anything. Sudan takes over all of Africa and looks like it wants more - ok, total war.

Ummh, what? You say they're exterminating certain ethnicities. Hey, don't be silly, yeah they're bad people but that's just crazy. Privately - hey, yeah, guess they are, but let's not worry about that for now, we've got a war to run.  

There's are reasons for Godwin's Law - not only do Hitler/Nazi comparisons tend to screw up discussion threads, the analogies turn out to be pretty shaky if you take a closer look at them.

by MarekNYC on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 06:29:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think Europe should send troops to Lebanon. However, the promise to do so has stopped the killing. You say merely threatening to send troops to Sudan would have the same effect, but you could be wrong. And of course, if you make the threat and it doesn't work you have to follow through or else you look weak, right? But, not to worry - it would be a cakewalk. Any of this starting to sound familiar?

Let's be cynical - what has Sudan got that Zimbabwe or North Korea do not? Who is once again telling us that we really must intervene militarily before it is too late? This is the problem with crying wolf - fool me once and all that.

Your point about Sudan not being powerful and unable to defeat the SPLA is interesting. There are militias in Darfur supporting the local population - are they so inferior to the SPLA? Chad is unhappy with what is going on in Darfur and has a much greater interest in seeing peace established. This is African problem and African countries are capable of intervening (and we should encourage and support that as much as possible). But, whether we like it or not, direct western intervention in Africa is not likely to generate a warm, fuzzy feeling. There is too much bloody history for that.

by det on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 07:25:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are obviously trying to compare intervening in Darfur to the Iraq war.  The analogy is false.  No one is proposing overthrowing the Khartoum regime, but merely protecting the civilian population of Darfur from its janjaweed proxies.  

A better analogy would be the 1991 NATO intervention to protect the Kurds of northern Iraq.  That action was taken at European insistance.  The US (which had already permitted Saddam's troops to massacre 300,000 Shi'ites in the south) had been reluctant to help the Kurds and only consented under French pressure.  Today, the only stable and peaceful region of Iraq is the Kurdish north.

Sudan has 400,000 people dead, that Zimbabwe and North Korea do not, and the possibility of 500,000 refugees starving if they cannot return to their homes and crops.  As for oil, is actually one of the things preventing intervention - China buys most of Sudan's oil and has blocked the Security Council from taking action.

As for "fool me once", remember that the Bush administration has consistently refused to send US troops to Darfur.

The Darfuri militias are much weaker than the SPLA.  One reason is that the SPLA was receiving assistance from Uganda, and, indirectly, from the US in the last years of that conflict.  Nobody is helping the SLA and GEM in Darfur; in fact the US tried to get them to demobilize as part of a bogus "peace treaty".  

The Chadian government is one of the weakest in the world and was nearly overthrown earlier this year by rebels backed by Sudan.  Sudan has made several incursions into Chadian territory to attack Darfuri refugees there.

The African countries are not capable of solving this on their own.  They are too poor, every single one, to summon the kind of military force that would be needed to halt the genocide.

Timely Western intervention in Africa can stop war and genocide.  The 2000 British operation in Sierra Leone is one example; there is also the US presence in Liberia in 2003, French troops in Cote d'Ivoire, and EU troops in DR Congo.  Darfur would need a stronger force than any of these, but if it can be done for Lebanon, it can be done for Darfur.

by tyronen on Sun Aug 27th, 2006 at 02:31:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As for "fool me once", remember that the Bush administration has consistently refused to send US troops to Darfur.

But the US is perfectly happy to advocate sending troops (see the post by poemless below). The bit you should have quoted was "crying wolf". The calls from the state department for urgent intervention ring hollow if the US itself will not willing to commit forces. Now that the "wolf" may have actually arrived, the suspicion exists that the US is advocating intervention in order to undermine growing Chinese influence in Sudan, not because of its deep concern for the Sudanese people. The reason I drew comparison to the build up to Iraq is that that little adventure has left US credibility shot to hell.

Regarding Zimbabwe, a large proportion of the population there is facing starvation. Of course, direct violence against the population is nowhere near the scale in Sudan, but the potential for large scale deaths that could be prevented by outside intervention exists. The question I have is `On what basis does one catastrophe gain so much more attention than the other?'. The numerous organizations that act as monitors around the world (UN, NGOs, aid organizations, human-rights bodies) constantly try to raise awareness of crises and urge action. In most cases they get a bit of attention and then everyone goes back to what they were doing before (myself most certainly included). But every so often a crisis is given that extra push into the limelight. Sudan seems to be a case in point. I am not saying it is not worthy of attention, but that it was worthy of attention much earlier than it received it. Perhaps it does not matter and we should just be happy that politicians are now trying to act, but I always prefer to know who sets the news agenda and why.

A better analogy would be the 1991 NATO intervention to protect the Kurds of northern Iraq.

Ultimately that intervention worked because the Kurds were capable of defending themselves once the Iraqi air-force was out of the equation. If the militias in Darfur are as weak as you say, then the same would not apply. I think Khartoum would be happy to continue with ground forces alone. And this is why I think you under-estimate the potential for Africa intervention What is really needed are boots on the ground, which (I think) they are capable of providing. Whether they have the will to do so is another question. If they do, Europe could and should support that with logistics and air-cover (a secondary rather than a primary role).

I won't pretend to know the relative military strengths of Chad and Sudan, except to say that Chad threatened to intervene in Sudan if the incursions persisted. If they don't have the strength to backup that threat then the Chadian government is incredibly stupid (which may very well be the case).

by det on Sun Aug 27th, 2006 at 07:19:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S.: U.N. force needed to stop Sudan 'genocide'

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A U.N. force is critical to prevent a "planned offensive" on Darfur by the Sudanese government, the U.S. State Department's top diplomat on Africa said Friday while accusing Sudan of committing genocide.

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer made the remarks before a trip to the central African nation. There she plans to press the government on allowing U.N. troops into the war-ravaged region, a move Khartoum opposes.

"I'm fully confident there will be a transition to a U.N. force," Frazer said. Without it, she said, the international community would have no capability to "stop this government from carrying out what has been the genocide."

...

The United States and Britain have introduced a draft resolution to the Security Council, recommending 17,000 soldiers and 3,000 police be sent to Darfur when the African Union's mandate expires in September.




Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 05:49:16 PM EST
Hypocrisy, dishonesty, confusion, fashion?

The hypocrisy charge fits for those hyperventilating about Israel as an exceptionally bad violator of human rights, as the equivalent of Nazis, etc. (or they could just be uninformed idiots)

But I think a lot of it has to do with trendy, fashionable news topics - you get spates of stories on Sudan, on Zimbabwe, on Tibet; celebrities and intellectuals fire off petitions and op-eds - and then interest fades.

Then there's the fact that for geopolitical reasons Israel killing civilians and oppressing people matters a lot more than China, Zimbabwe, or Turkemenistan, etc. People don't want to be honest with themselves or others that to a large degree worldwide concern about what Israel is doing is about oil - it upsets the locals in areas where most of that crucial resource exists. Plus they might blow up your subway. If angry Buddhists or black Africans looked like they might disrupt the world's economy or blow us up if we don't pay attention to what they care about we'd obligingly take their concerns seriously. And in terms of human rights issues what Muslims care about most is others killing them.

Finally there's the degree to which Israel is seen as a Western developed democracy. Consciously or not, on some level westerners identify with Israel in a way they don't with Sudan, Congo, China, or Sri Lanka. So we see it as 'us' doing the killing, not those weird looking folks with strange customs we know nothing about.

by MarekNYC on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 06:04:01 PM EST
You're spot on.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 01:48:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Finally there's the degree to which Israel is seen as a Western developed democracy. Consciously or not, on some level westerners identify with Israel in a way they don't with Sudan, Congo, China, or Sri Lanka. So we see it as 'us' doing the killing, not those weird looking folks with strange customs we know nothing about.

This is an important point that is often missed. Israel is 'us'.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 2nd, 2006 at 04:09:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I absolutely agree that we need to do something about Darfur, but I don't know what.  The African Union has wanted to take care of it themselves, or with only "logistical" support from the UN.  There's been lots of pussy footing about Africa not wanting to look like it can't solve its own problems and Europe not wanting to look like the colonial hero riding into save the savages from themselves.  And so while everyone frets about their image people just die and die and die.  Like they care who saves them...

However, other factors beyond shallowness and hipocracy are at work here.  No one involved in the Sudan has nuclear weaponry, this war may in fact expose the very lowest in human kind, but doesn't run much of a chance of igniting WWIII and possible armageddon.  So there is a different kind of primacy in the Lebanon situation.  Our collective existance depends on peace in the Middle East, or some half-assed attempt at it.  The only people effected by the genocide in Darfur are the people in Darfur and neighboring communities.  Does that make it right to sit by and watch?  No.  Do they need our help?  Yes.  As much as Lebanon?  Yes.  Are we less likely to want to help them because it is Africa?  Probably.  If it were politically rewarding to do so would we have been in there long ago?  You bet.  

But like I said, I'm not gung ho on real politik, but there are very different factors at play here.  I agree that all lives should have the same value to us.  I'm just not under any illusion that the UN is going into Lebanon to help the poor innocent suffering souls of Lebanon and Israel.  

If you think that's why people send troops to places, I think that's a little naive.  

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 06:04:08 PM EST
Perhaps in addition to the reasons already discussed, one aspect of this is that there is not much of a Sudanese diaspora in the West. There are plenty of Jews and Arabs (to mix categories) in Europe and America who have a degree of political influence, but how many people make it off the Horn of Africa?
by asdf on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 06:23:14 PM EST
Part of the tragedy of Darfur is that apologists for Israeli are using the conflict as a means of diverting attention away from the ongoing conflict. Any critical diary is likely to contain a reference to it. It is indeed one of the "talking points" mentioned on GIYUS to "illustrate" precisely what this new diarist refers to. If I am wrongly ascribing such motives to this diarist, I apologise however I cannot help but note that this diary appeared on the very day that the US government announced an investigation into the use of cluster munitions, provided by them, in Lebanon and whether they were used in civilian areas. Certainly the various agencies report at least 8 deaths due to such bomblets. The nastiest aspect is that there is at least one instance of bomblets in orchards so that when apples were harvested by shaking the tree (as we know, this technique is also used for olives) the harvester are disloging bombs.  

The cynical might remark that one of the principle reasons that Israel is much higher on the agenda is the $2-3 billion a year given to Israel by the USA.  government, not to mention the "charitable" donations given by Jews in the USA to support such organisations as the Jewish Agency. Certainly it was the case that the aid to Israel from the USA was more than the aid given to the whole of sub-Saharan Africa.

Others have mentioned the desire to see the African Union become an effective peace-keeping force. I agree that they have a shaky record- both in Sudan and in DR Congo where there have been reports of sexual abuses by the AU forces. It should however be noted that there were also such allegations against US members of the forces in Bosnia, including running prostitutes.

Sudan by the way is not really part of the Horn of Africa as it is west of the rift valley, south of Libya and Egypt. The reference to the Horn is however quite fortuitious as it is a reminder of the Euro-centric racist atitudes of the "Holocaust" Jews. The Jews of Ethiopia had a slightly different set of traditional religious practices from the Sepahardim and were refused recognition under the "Right of Return" until 1975 when Begin persuaded a senior rabbi to do so. Even then it was under the proviso that they undergo a sort of formal conversion to the "pure" form practised by Jews of European heritage. That continues and some Orthodox rabbis refuse to recognise the formal conversion and demand that Ethiopeans undergo the full conversion ceremonies.

It is also worthwhile mentioning that during the Ethiopean civil war, the Israelis organised an airlift to evacuate these African Jews virtually overnight. The El-Al aircraft were stripped out of seats to jam in more but as far as I know, no humanitarian aid was sent out in those planes.

It is also worthwhile that the Lemba who live in Zimbabwe (among others countries) are not the subject of similar measures by Israel, despite the starvation  and persecution being suffered by Mugabe's opponents. The Lemba claim direct descent from King Solomon but of course are even darker than the comparatively light skinned Ethiopeans.

   

by Londonbear on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 02:04:49 PM EST
The reference to the Horn is however quite fortuitious as it is a reminder of the Euro-centric racist atitudes of the "Holocaust" Jews. The Jews of Ethiopia had a slightly different set of traditional religious practices from the Sepahardim and were refused recognition under the "Right of Return" until 1975 when Begin persuaded a senior rabbi to do so. Even then it was under the proviso that they undergo a sort of formal conversion to the "pure" form practised by Jews of European heritage. That continues and some Orthodox rabbis refuse to recognise the formal conversion and demand that Ethiopeans undergo the full conversion ceremonies.

" 'Holocaust' Jews" ?!  what the fuck is that about?

As for not recognizing non-Orthodox Judaism as real, that applies to Reform and Conservative Judaism, i.e. what most American Jews practice. Orthodox Judaism is 'racist' in the sense that it recognizes as Jews all those who have a matrilineal Jewish heritage and who have not converted to another religion.  I put that in quotes since what we're talking about is a rule that dates back from before the concept of race existed. On the other hand they're not into proselytizing (except for non-Orthodox Jews - hence the idiots who ask passersby 'are you Jewish' around every religious holiday). Conversion is deliberately made extremely difficult. Reform Jews tend to be far more willing to allow people to convert, though they're also not into proselytizing. One major problem between American Jews and Israel over the past decade or two has been the refusal of the Israeli religious establishment to recognize them as real Jews in the religious sense. As ancient religious traditions go, the tribal stuff seems less harmful than the notion that it is your duty to convert the entire world, at least they only want to inflict their anachronistic insanity on a small group of people rather than everyone.

It is indeed one of the "talking points" mentioned on GIYUS to "illustrate" precisely what this new diarist refers to. If I am wrongly ascribing such motives to this diarist, I apologise

Of course someone not into seeing conspiracies in every pro-Israeli statement might think about the fact that Tsarro's been around for a while, consistently expressed pro-Israeli views, and realize that the odds of some negative news about Israel appears so often that this instinctive reaction might indicate a certain tendency towards paranoid psychosis. If I am wrongly ascribing such motives to the commenter, I apologize.

by MarekNYC on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 03:57:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The racism is not to due with the refusal of the Orthodox to recognise the enforced "conversion" process but rather with the 25+ years that the state of Israel refused to recognise the "Right of Return" to the Ethiopeans and the continued blocking of other groups in Africa. It was to Begin's credit that he forced the matter to protect them during a period when they were threatened with starvation like the rest of the Ethiopeans.

The racisn is, in part, due to the Jews who came from western and northern Europe after WWII to recognise the African branch of Judaism as a completely legitimate branch. Seemingly only the Orthodox and the western Reform movement that arose from it is considered completely "kosher". Zionism was a response to the anti-semetism in the west and this is reflected in their characterisation of those from a different tradition as somehow "lesser" Jews.

I tend to agree with you that discussion of Darfur is considerably coloured by the affects that GIYUS and the other shrill groups for Israel, whether sponsored by the Government or not, is unfortunate. I have already remarked on Kos that it undermines the value of comments about Darfur, especially as with this diary it draws attention away from the Israel/Palestine/Lebanon conflict. When the two are deliberately linked, as with this diary, the gravity of the situation in Darfur is devalued.

by Londonbear on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 05:22:17 PM EST
The diarist in his diatribe of course did not bother with the small details like the amount of aid, however inadequate, that Europe is giving both to the aid effort and to support for AU mission.

In July many of the NGOs came together and asked for more help for the country and specifically for the AU effort so that the mission could extend what protection it gives to those in the refugee camps. From the Care site


So far the only donors to offer serious levels of support for the force are Canada, the EU, the UK, the US and Netherlands.

So we have two member countries in additon to the EU centrally who are making significant donations. (I have not checked but the order suggests it is in size of donation.)

European countries are also supporting the logistical support effort through NATO/OTAN. It also goes without saying that there are other aid agencies working there, in particular Medecins Sans Frontiers who had to anglicise their name to get donations from the US. As far as that country's involvement goes, the presence of oil is always a good reason for the Bush mafia to get involved with the added bonuses that there are both a Muslim element to the conflict and a chance to have a swipe at China.

There are incidentally good reason why I at least have not posted about Darfur on here. I post on Booman and Kos in addition to here so I tend to limit my diaries to specifically European issues. If those critical of ET have posted on any of those about Blair's Commission for Africa and the G8 (something that long term will be a legacy for him to be remembered well for, shame he did not quit then)  the famines in the western Sahel, particularly Niger, the situation in Zimbabwe, the real exemplar that Uganda is in fighting AIDS (and Bush's perversion of their ABC program), the attacks of the Lord's Resistance Army in the north of that country, the subversion of the polio campaign by muslims claiming  contamination of the vaccine by the US in Nigeria and about any part of or issue in southern Africa, my criticism of the "you are not mentioning Darfur" brigade might be more muted.    

by Londonbear on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 07:11:01 PM EST


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