Gaza War Pushes Arabs to the Brink - The Nation
Anger is boiling over in the Middle East over Gaza, and -- exactly as I predicted -- the result of the war has been to boost radicalism throughout the region, to strengthen the terrorist-inclined fanatics of Hamas, and to enhance the muscle of terrorist-inclined Israelis, including far-right parties such as Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu and, of course, Likud's bombastic Benjamin Netanyahu.
Speaking on January 14 at the New America Foundation, the outgoing US ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Khalilizad said explicitly that the United States feared a violent explosion in the region, including the seizure of US embassies by angry mobs, if the United States continued to block action by the UN. A central concern, said Khalilzad, is that mosque leaders all over the Middle East would mobilize the anger and direct it against the United States.
In case you think the anger against Israel and the United States among the Arabs is limited to Hamas and Hezbollah, consider the stunning comments of Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former head of Saudi Arabia's intelligence service, who also served as the country's ambassador to both Great Britain and the United States: ".... America is not innocent in this calamity. Not only has the Bush administration left a sickening legacy in the region – from the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to the humiliation and torture at Abu Ghraib – but it has also, through an arrogant attitude about the butchery in Gaza, contributed to the slaughter of innocents. ..."
Miri Eisin: Is only the Israeli narrative 'the truth' and all the others wrong? - Haaretz
Israel has a national obsession with everything concerning hasbara (a Hebrew word for "explanation" and referring to information, spin, propaganda or a strategic public relations policy).
Every time a warlike event takes place, the Israeli broadcasting networks turn to hasbara experts with the recurring question - what must we do to improve Israel's international image? They really mean "how can we prove to everyone that we're right, they're wrong and everybody hates us and they're anti-Semites?"
The narrative shown in the Western media, especially in Europe, is based on a different world of cultural references than Israel's. It says the era of wars is over, that military force is not the way to solve disputes and that there is a direct link between occupation and violence. The challenge facing Israeli hasbara is not simple - certainly as long as the Palestinians' tragedy is shown to the world. The Western media scrupulously present the Israeli side, but does not accept its narrative.
Israelis are exposed mainly to the domestic networks and are shocked to hear how we appear to others. But is only the Israeli narrative "the truth" and all the others wrong?
And finally, and possibly as a reaction to the total lack of other important issues facing Muslims, the Yoga Police strikes again in Indonesia.
Yoga ban: Indonesia follow malaysia in Banning Yoga - The guardian
Indonesia has joined Malaysia in banning Muslims from practising yoga that
includes Hindu rituals, fearing that it may corrupt their faith.
The country's senior body of Islamic clerics ruled that Muslims must refrain from yoga if it involves elements such as chanting mantras, which reflect its Hindu roots.
When Malaysia's fatwa council told Muslims they should avoid yoga last year, the ruling provoked such strong opposition that the prime minister, Abdullah Badawi, stepped in to overturn the outright ban.