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Sendoff for slain Syrian defense minister | Martin Kramer

A sight not to be missed: Watch the funeral service for assassinated Syrian defense minister Dawoud Rajiha, the first-ever Christian defense minister of Syria, at the (Greek Orthodox) Holy Cross Church in Damascus on Friday. Quite a sendoff (1:26min).
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Aleppo: Notes from the Dark (part two)

"In the summer of 2013, filmmakers Wojciech Szumowski and Michal Przedlacki spent almost two months in Aleppo, documenting the daily struggles facing ordinary Syrians during the ongoing civil war. Their film 'Aleppo: Notes from the Dark' provides a unique insight into the Syrian conflict and its impact on the people. Przedlacki spoke to Al Jazeera about the making of the film and his time in Aleppo." 

 

Interview: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2014/08/qa-notes-from-dark-2014811151820211912.html

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Salaita's "scholarship"

Israel's Dead Soul

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Steven Salaita is the subject of a controversy about the rescinding of his appointment at the U. of Illinois, probably over his juvenile anti-Israel tweets. But what about his “scholarship”?

 

Example: “It is well known by Palestinians that anytime one of them enters or exits Israel, regardless of nationality, he or she will likely undergo an anal or vaginal probe. These probes… aren’t intended to be pragmatic. They are acts of psychological domineering and political assertion. The agents of these coercive actions are rehearsing their own depravity through fulfillment of their Orientalist notions of Arab and Muslim sexuality.”

 

A totally fact-free fantasy (and in a university press book, too). (Quote from p. 110. Download whole book at http://bit.ly/salaita, pdf.)

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Steven Salaita, Palestinian?

Steven Salaita, Palestinian? | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

Some media are describing Steven Salaita as a Palestinian or Palestinian-American. For what it’s worth, he was born in West Virginia, and his immigrant father came to America from the well-known Jordanian (Christian) Salaita clan of bedouin origin (not Palestinian), most settled in and around Madaba, East Bank. His mother is said (by him) to have had parents from somewhere (unspecified) in Palestine, although she was born and raised in Nicaragua. Steven Salaita, a Palestinian? By choice.

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The Gaza Strip: A Report from Richard H. Nolte

January 1, 1957.

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15 Qassam Rockets intercepted At Once By The Iron Dome

http://sin.org.il/
Martin Kramer's insight:

Unidentified city. Amazing achievement.

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Muslim sites in Jerusalem Trailer

"Trailer of some of the footage we have of Muslim sites in Jerusalem. Director of Photography: Hanna Abu Saada."

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Patrick Seale in Israel | Martin Kramer on the Middle East

Patrick Seale in Israel | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it
Patrick Seale, who traded on his access to Hafez Asad, has died. He made exactly one public appearance in Israel.
Martin Kramer's insight:

The journalist and author Patrick Seale, who traded on his access to Hafez Asad, has died at age 83. I had a couple of encounters with him—one, adversarial, the other cooperative. The first was in Chicago, the second in Tel Aviv, where I found myself involved in his one and only public lecture in Israel. 

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The Iran Foray of the ASA by Martin Kramer | Commentary

The Iran Foray of the ASA by Martin Kramer | Commentary | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

"So what if institutional members of the ASA like Brandeis and Penn State Harrisburg drop out? There’s always the University of Tehran to take their place."

Martin Kramer's insight:

ASA president Curtis Marez admits that Israel’s neighbors have worse human rights records, but adds that “one has to start somewhere.” But the Israel boycott resolution isn’t the ASA’s first “start” in the Middle East. In fact, the ASA had an earlier foray, in Iran. More precisely, it coddled one of Iran’s most prominent America-bashing academics, at the very moment when Iran’s President Ahmedinejad was busy purging Iran’s universities.

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U.S. strategy in the Middle East (unclassified) by Martin Kramer | Sandbox

U.S. strategy in the Middle East (unclassified) by Martin Kramer | Sandbox | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it
“The Obama administration’s policy in the Middle East is an effort to get back to what worked for the United States in the past. It is a nostalgic project.”
Martin Kramer's insight:

Does the US have an overarching strategy in the Middle East? I think so, although I infer it from how the US acts, and not from any document or public statement. Bottom line: the US wants to put the Middle East on the back burner, and keep it there—on the cheap. Here are its four approaches for doing just that.

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Obama’s March to War | Emergency Committee for Israel

The stakes are too high for empty promises.
Martin Kramer's insight:

The Emergency Committee for Israel specializes in these shorts, and the punch line here deserves its name. 

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Hajj 2013 | Exclusive Kaba Kiswa change 2013-1434 Arafa Day

"Background Audio: Makkah Isha Salah by Sheikh Baleela from 8th Dul Hijjah 1434."

Martin Kramer's insight:

The ancient Kaaba, the cuboid structure in Mecca that Muslims worldwide face in prayer, is located at the center of the Great Mosque in Mecca, and is covered by a massive embroidered black silk fabric known as the kiswa. (For those interested in Semitic cognates, it is related to the Hebrew kisui.) The kiswa is changed each year during the hajj pilgrimage; the old one is cut up and distributed to pilgrims. The kiswa switch is quite an operation, and you can watch it in this fascinating clip, filmed during the just-concluded hajj. More on the production process: http://bit.ly/kiswa.

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The October War and Beyond: The Israeli Perspective by Itamar Rabinovich

Prof. ltamar Rabinovich, President, The Israel Institute, Washington DC, speaking at the INSS Conference on "The Yom Kippur War:- A Launching Pad for U.S. Middle East Policy Conference," September 10, 2013.

Martin Kramer's insight:

Always interesting.

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Ian Lustick’s Iron Dice by Martin Kramer | Commentary

Ian Lustick’s Iron Dice by Martin Kramer | Commentary | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

"I don't think even the inveterate 'peace processors,' whom Lustick now dismisses so contemptuously, ever assumed repeated failures would bring them closer to their goal. Lustick did believe it."

Martin Kramer's insight:

I know, I should have ignored it, but I couldn’t help myself. So here is my take on Ian Lustick’s jeremiad in the New York Times, where he argues that the “one-state solution” is the way forward. Not so long ago, he claimed the “two-state solution” was inevitable. So what gives?

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Aleppo: Notes from the Dark (part one)

"In the summer of 2013, filmmakers Wojciech Szumowski and Michal Przedlacki spent almost two months in Aleppo, documenting the daily struggles facing ordinary Syrians during the ongoing civil war. Their film 'Aleppo: Notes from the Dark' provides a unique insight into the Syrian conflict and its impact on the people. Przedlacki spoke to Al Jazeera about the making of the film and his time in Aleppo." 

 

Interview: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2014/08/qa-notes-from-dark-2014811151820211912.html

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Smeared by Salaita

Smeared by Salaita | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

Steven Salaita smears with a broad brush here (http://bit.ly/salaitaethnic): “Arab Americans must successfully challenge anti-Arab racists such as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Franklin Graham, David Horowitz, Steve Emerson, Ann Coulter, Martin Kramer, Stanley Kurtz, and Daniel Pipes.”

 

Seeing my name in the same string with Jerry Falwell’s would be amusing if it weren’t coupled with the blanket charge of racism—the last refuge of scoundrels. Hey, Steve, let me try: “Jewish Americans must successfully challenge antisemites such as Louis Farrakhan, David Duke, Pat Buchanan, Mel Gibson, Hamid Dabashi, Ward Churchill, Joseph Massad, John Mearsheimer, the ghost of Alexander Cockburn, and Steve Salaita.” Classy!

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It's called Holocaust inversion

It's called Holocaust inversion | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

Who wrote these three statements?

 

A: “The IDF Spokesperson receives money to justify, conceal, and glamorize genocidal violence. Goebbels much?”

 

B: “Amos Oz is to incisive political writing what Leni Riefenstahl was to socially conscious filmmaking.”

 

C: “Israeli independence equals sustenance of the European eugenic logic made famous by Hitler.”

 

A: http://bit.ly/IDFGoebbels

B: http://bit.ly/Riefenstahl

C: http://bit.ly/eugeniclogic

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"Gaza = Auschwitz" by Martin Kramer | Mosaic Magazine

"Gaza = Auschwitz" by Martin Kramer | Mosaic Magazine | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

“Jew-baiting is the demand that Israel and its supporters explain why Gaza isn’t like a Nazi extermination camp or a starved ghetto for the doomed.”

Martin Kramer's insight:

At Columbia University, a number of professors, mainly instructors in Middle East studies, have distinguished themselves in the black art of defaming Israel as a Holocaust emulator. I’ve flagged some of these instances here on Facebook. Now I’ve pulled them all together, with some additional material, in a new article for Mosaic Magazine.

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Israeli military flattens Gaza tower block (loads with slight delay)

Israel's military destroys a 13-storey apartment block in Gaza, saying it had housed a Hamas command centre, and warn residents of more attacks.
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The Washington Institute Book Prize

The Washington Institute Book Prize | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

Last call! The Washington Institute Book Prize, May 1 deadline.

Martin Kramer's insight:

The deadline for the 2014 Washington Institute Book Prize is almost here! It's May 1, and the prize is a lucrative one: $30k for the Gold, $15k for the Silver, and $5k for the Bronze. Go to link for prize rules, past winners, and other vital information. Reminder: last year’s winners were ‘The Twilight War: The Secret History of America's Thirty-Year Conflict with Iran’ by David Crist (Gold), ‘The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War’ by Fred Kaplan (Silver), and ‘Tested by Zion: The Bush Administration and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict’ by Elliott Abrams (Bronze).

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FCO Travel Advisory Map: Lebanon

Martin Kramer's insight:

Here’s a de facto partition of Lebanon, by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Red: “Advise against all travel.” Orange: “Advise against all but essential travel.” Green: “See our travel advice before travelling.” (Full advisory: http://bit.ly/advisoryfco.) 

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Boycott Me. Please. by Martin Kramer | Foreign Policy

Boycott Me. Please. by Martin Kramer | Foreign Policy | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

"We will continue to teach our Israeli undergraduates the fundamental ideals behind the world's greatest democracy, and their origins and resonance in the Jewish tradition. Boycott or not."

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Special Relationships by Martin Kramer | Commentary

Special Relationships by Martin Kramer | Commentary | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

“To the best I can determine, in his present job, Kerry hasn’t ever described the U.S.-Israel relationship as ‘special.’”

Martin Kramer's insight:

John Kerry always talks about the “special relationship”—between the United States and Britain. Between the United States and Israel? Never a mention. Even in the lip service department, the Obama administration has downgraded Israel.

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New demo reel of aerial filming in Israel with drones

"We are very proud of the aerial productions we have completed over the years. Filming from the air is complicated..."

Martin Kramer's insight:

What else can you do with drones? Dramatic aerial photographer. The Israeli company Highlight Films specializes in this (and in time-lapse photography too). Enjoy.

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The Opening of Shalem College - אירוע הפתיחה

“Government ministers and renowned scholars, Israel-Prize laureates and philanthropists, and the members of Israel's Revolution Orchestra joined Shalem's first class of students and their families for the college's opening ceremonies at its Jerusalem campus on October 6, 2013.”

Martin Kramer's insight:

Here’s a medley of outtakes from the spectacular opening of Shalem College last week. Other coverage:

• New college dedicated to the humanities opens in Jerusalem, Jerusalem Post http://bit.ly/jpostshalem

• From Moses to Machiavelli, Shalem College sets up shop as Israel’s answer to the Ivy League, Haaretzhttp://bit.ly/haaretzshalem

• New Liberal Arts College Opens in Jerusalem, The Media Line http://bit.ly/mediashalem

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Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution [Syria]

This powerful and tragic film gets startlingly close to the struggle of ordinary Syrian people against Assad brutality. Learn More: http://www.syrianrevoluti...

 

Their lives have been torn apart, but female photographer Nour and FSA leader Mowya are determined to continue to fight the Assad regime. This powerful and tragic film gets startlingly close to their struggle.

A little girl is singing straight to the camera during a street gathering when a mortar strikes just a few metres behind her, throwing the innocent scene into bloody chaos. This is not a dramatically staged fiction film, but the reality of daily life in Syria. "Somebody has to know what this monster is doing to us, to his own people. I'm making sure that somebody is going to know," says Nour. Aged 24, she has abandoned her teaching job to become a war photographer. "I'm not afraid of death", she says. "So many girls have died in their kitchen." The memory of her friends who have died or been tortured and raped during the conflict strengthens Nour's determination to continue the fight. She firmly believes, "we're going to build this whole country again from scratch". Walking through the destroyed and abandoned streets of Aleppo, charismatic FSA leader Mowya manages to retain a dark humour. "Maybe if you film some cats and put it on YouTube a million people will watch the video. Maybe the Americans will help the cats. They don't care about people."

Matthew VanDyke

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