Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sharmine Narwani Attacks "Jewish Groups," Defends Hezbollah (Part 1)

 "Today I realized that being a "terrorist" is maybe a good thing."
-Sharmine Narwani

The matriarch of the anti-Israel brigade on the Huffington Post, Sharmine Narwani, has posted another screed rampant with insults, unprofessional writing, and her usual tribalist attitudes. The article is entitled, "The Day US Jewish Groups Went Too Far With the Word 'Terrorist.'" Oh really? That sounds exciting! Jewish groups overstepping their bounds? Share, Ms. Narwani, share!

Oh, how disappointing. It turns out that when Ms. Narwani said, "Jewish groups," she really meant "one Jewish person," aka Ben Cohen of the American Jewish Committee, who Ms. Narwani refers to as "a run-of-the-mill propagandist." She then proceeds to take the rest of the article tearing into Mr. Cohen about his article published here about what he called "The Hezbotilla." I might comment about how dishonest it is for Ms. Narwani to imply in her headline that it was many Jewish groups who are doing this when it is really just one person, but I think that's a given at this point. So let's move on.
"Right here on the Huffington Post, Cohen launched into a diatribe against the latest aid flotilla headed for Gaza - this time an all-female ship called the "Mariam"...With zero evidence whatsoever, Cohen tries to malign this humanitarian effort by linking the flotilla and its participants to Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah:"
Unfortunately for Ms. Narwani I am capable of reading Mr. Cohen's article as well, and this "Mariam" did not appear in it. But there is quite a bit of evidence that his aid convoy is backed by Hezbollah, some of which were provided by Mr. Cohen in his article. Mr. Cohen mostly operates through guilt-by-association, the flotilla organizer has been to "pro-resistance" conferences attended by the likes of Islamic Jihad and the PFLP. Elder of Ziyon has even more, I suggest you read that as well. Don't expect Ms. Narwani to try and counter these facts, though. She's after "Jewish groups," by which I mean to say Ben Cohen.

So anyway Ms. Narwani quotes a paragraph by Cohen in which he uses his guilt-by-association tactics and then responds with this:
"The article - ostensibly about the flotilla - uses every trick in the substandard-journalism book to connect individuals and groups by mashing together tidbits of information to suggest a coherent linkage. Have an Arab-sounding name? Palestinian is better. Have a beard? Headscarf? Good. I can make you into a terrorist in 24 hours or less."
It's interesting to see another anti-Zionist resorting to the race card, especially one who complained that the Jews use it to silence all their critics. Mr. Cohen doesn't have much proof that the flotilla is associated or supported by Hezbollah, which is why he needs to use the logically unsound guilt-by-association. However, Ms. Narwani ignores what he says altogether and instead makes up a strawman where Mr. Cohen is simply a racist who thinks all Arab people are terrorists and is willing to lie through his teeth to make it look that way. Cohen said...
-That flotilla organizer Yasser Kashlak has been to these "resistance conferences," and has links to back it up. Does Ms. Narwani deny this? No.
-That Al Manar, Hezbollah's media arm, announced that the flotilla started prepping immediately after Hezbollah called for more flotillas. Does Ms. Narwani deny this? No.
-That the wife of Ali Hajj, a man who helped assassinate a Lebanese PM (aka a traitor) is on the flotilla. Does Ms. Narwani deny this? No.

She doesn't quite seem to understand that the way you disprove a person's statements is by proving them wrong, not by strawmanning. Of course Ms. Narwani has been using the same tactics for months now, I don't know why she would stop now. Fortunately she then switches back onto topic for the rest of her article. Click below to continue.

"The international outrage over Israel's deadly attack on a civilian ship ensured that Tel Aviv took it easy with the next aid ship - the Rachel Corrie, named after the American girl who was deliberately run over by an Israeli bulldozer while she was peacefully protesting the demolition of Palestinian homes in the Gaza Strip. The Israelis could hardly afford to kill Rachel Corrie twice."
In this paragraph Ms. Narwani through lies by omission contributes to the Palsbara psuedohistory of the flotilla raid, in which Israel killed a bunch of people on one ship for no reason and left the others completely alone, again for no reason. Oh, and a bunch of soldiers got injured for no reason as well. Did the Rachel Corrie enter Israel peacefully because of 'international outrage' or because the people didn't try to lynch the soldiers and take them hostage? Don't expect Ms. Narwani to tell the whole truth, though. Reality isn't anti-Israel enough for her. Let's continue...
"But now Israel has a bit of a problem. There are still many flotillas being planned, and they cannot afford for these non-violent humanitarian missions to de facto overturn their military decrees. Right or wrong, Israel must protect its Gazan siege at any cost, otherwise its every ruling suddenly becomes open to protest and international opinion. That's no way to run a military state."
Oh, and she was so close to sounding reasonable! But she just had to get in that jab at Israel that it is a "military state," whatever the frak that means. Again, notice that Ms. Narwani is actually going on record to say that a bunch of fanatics stabbing soldiers in the stomach is "non-violent." But she's actually got a point: Israel needs to take measures to defend themselves and cannot back down if their enemies start using activists instead of terrorists. Because as soon as the defenses drop they will start using terrorists again. It has already started happening in the West Bank. Ms. Narwani can't be bothered to see both sides of the issue, though.
"So this next boat is making them rub their hands with glee. It is Lebanese in origin. Easy target - they're Arabs, have Arab sounding names, therefore the association-game will be put into play once more. Rashid Khalidi - you ain't seen nothing yet."
 What was that about making statements without evidence? They have proof that Hezbollah is associated with the flotilla, Ms. Narwani, just because you can't be bothered to actually do your own research doesn't mean you can lie about it to your audience and expect us to believe you.
"And, apparently, mainstream Jewish-American groups like the AJC are happy to drive that point home. These are not women, they are terrorists, Cohen extrapolates. They know some terrorists, they have been in the same room as some terrorists, they eat the same food as the terrorists...therefore they are terrorists."
 "This has nothing to do with Hezbollah even though it is an honour for us to be supporters of the resistance,"-Samar Hajj. They might not be terrorists themselves, but they certainly are terrorist supporters. Ms. Narwani isn't going to try and deny that, I see. Notice how once again Mr. Cohen has morphed into "mainstream Jewish-American groups." That's a neat trick, I'm going to have to try it sometime.

At this point, Ms. Narwani hilariously changes her story. Check out the next paragraph, and remember everything she has been saying up until this point.
"Firstly, let me point out that the Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah is not considered a terrorist organization by any other nation than Israel, the US and Canada. Hezbollah has been in a coalition with the largest Christian political party in Lebanon for the past four years - not a fact you will readily read in the US media. "
 Have you got that, audience? These flotilla activists are not associated with Hezbollah! Not not not! There is no evidence that they are, people only think they are associated with Hezbollah because they are Arabs. Anyone who thinks they are even in some way associated with Hezbollah are simply flaming racists who want to play the association game. There is nothing going on between them and Hezbollah.

But if they were associated with Hezbollah, it's okay because Hezbollah aren't terrorists anyway! The old terrorism two-step is back again, thanks Ms. Narwani for dusting it off. Better to cover all of your bases, just in case someone proves you wrong on one particular point? Very wise.

Anyway, here is what Ms. Narwani is predictably leaving out:
-Although it's true that only those three nations recognize all of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, Australia and the UK consider the military wing and the External Security Organization of Hezbollah to be terrorists as well. 
-Furthermore, the European Parliament passed a resolution recognizing Hezbollah has committed terrorist activities. And although the Netherlands does not maintain lists of terrorist organizations, they do consider Hezbollah to be one in their equivalent report.
-Although Hezbollah is a political party, it is also the only political party in Lebanon (to my knowledge) that possess a private army. This is in direct violation of UNSC resolution 1701. Hezbollah has also called for the destruction of Israel, making their existence illegal under the Convention of the Prevention of Genocide.
-Not that any of that matters, because Ms. Narwani's argument is based around the logical fallacy that it is impossible to be a terrorist organization and a political party at the same time. If the Irgun had become a political party after Israel's foundations, I don't think Ms. Narwani and company would stop thinking they were terrorists. I wouldn't!

At this point Ms. Narwani starts talking about the women on the flotilla, so I think it might be a good time for a break. Stay tuned for part 2.

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