Pumasphere 2.5

nijma-star-icon1-d986d8acd985Some time ago Riverdaughter (riverdaughter.wordpress.com) wrote about the breakup of the liberal blogosphere prior to the election. Many of the bloggers who now write for Puma blogs started writing on liberal blogs. When some blogs decided to support Obama, the writers who were undecided or supported another candidate got unceremoniously kicked off the blog on some pretense or another. Now another breakup is happening. I almost didn’t see it because it was disguised as a personality conflict but really now, does that type of thing really happen on political blogs? What I’m talking about is what is known as the P/I issue. As in “Palestine Israel”.

Maybe this is time for a little disclaimer about who I am. I am Christian, of the non-literalist variety, but I take spiritual vitamins from other traditions. I believe in dinosaurs. I believe in the Two State Solution. I believe peace in the Middle East will happen in my lifetime. I believe my actions in the blogosphere can help make that happen. I believe the biggest threat to peace today (and the long-term security of Israel) is the right wing Israel lobby. If someone else does not believe this, please do explain it to me.

So back to the Palestine/Israel Pumasphere breakup. The first breakup was at the Confluence a few weeks ago when there was a discussion about the anti-semitism on the Cannonfire blog. Cannonfire was removed from the blogroll, but nonetheless, several Jewish Pumas left the Confluence. They’re blogging at Widdershins, but I so far I haven ‘t seen any hard hitting middle Eastern commentary that would justify their migration. (Cannonfire, who sets off all my internal anti-tolerance alarms, is now back on the Confluence sidebar.)

Meanwhile, over at PumaPAC (pumapac.org), two commenters, BrianH and sue66, had kept up a storm of right wing Israeli settler propaganda of the most offensive sort. It took the form of massive numbers of links to right-wing Israeli hate publications and videos. It was also about this time I recieved this hate mail (NSFW), using a Swiss-based  anonoymous email service. Then, suddenly they were told they could no longer post the links. They immediately disappeared. It looked like PumaPAC was making a play towards the center and more respectability. Now, suddenly, inexplicably, out of the clear blue sky, two new commenters have appeared, with the same old tired anti-Islamic schtick. No video links this time–they’re linking to racist hatebaiting standards like Sweetness and Light and Religion of Peace. They’re not sneaking in the back door late at night, either. They’re right out there in broad daylight and PumaPAC appears to have embraced them.

If there was any doubt at all left, it evaporated in the 4-7-09 blog talk radio/free us now broadcast. The guests were none other than Marcia Pappas and Dr. Phyllis Chesler, talking not about the recent legal changes in Afghan law but about Buffalo beheading of Aasiya Z. Hassan by her husband way back in February. Then, halfway into the talk, I started hearing little buzzwords like dhimmi and sharia, words that show up on right-wing Israeli propaganda websites. So who are these guys anyhow?

From Dr. Phyllis Chesler’s website: “Some of you might be most interested in my recent work about Islamic gender and religious apartheid, the psycho-analytic roots of Islamist terrorism, or in my work about anti-Semitism and Israel.” Hmmm. Her biography also notes that she is “an affiliated Professor with Haifa and Bar Ilan Universities” (in Israel) and has been profiled in Jewish Women in America.

So let me get this straight. PumaPAC wants to influence Moslem thinking by quoting someone who is Jewish? This is just insane on so many levels. Unless of course, the real agenda isn’t about the women at all.

I’m not against anyone Jewish having a role in Puma, not at all. For instance, jenniforhillary has done a noteworthy job in the past with explaining voter fraud. It’s just that I don’t believe someone from outside any religious tradition can really explain it adequately, especially to someone inside the tradition.

And who is the other one, this Marcia Pappas? She’s the director of the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women. When she started talking about beheadings back in February, the Muslimnista posted this open letter:

…your comments that Ms. Hassan’s murder is a “terroristic version of honor killing, a murder rooted in cultural notions about women’s subordination to men” and that “too many Muslim men are using their religious beliefs to justify violence against women” are a disservice to our community, to people of diverse cultures and faiths, and to our daily work as advocates for survivors of domestic violence from South Asian and Muslim communities.

In this particular scenario, Ms. Hassan had an order of protection, law enforcement officials confirmed a history of domestic violence, and the crime occurred after she filed for divorce. Would you call a Christian woman in this same scenario murdered by gun violence a victim of an honor killing? Femicide is femicide and this tragedy is one more disturbing face of domestic violence.

Your comments eclipse domestic violence for what it is. As we know from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in this country every day, on average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends and in 2000, 1,247 women were killed by an intimate partner. We should, together as women’s rights advocates, be able to name domestic violence when we see it. When we do not, it reinforces the silence around domestic violence and stigmatizes minority communities by condoning “cultural” excuses for violent behavior.

Your comment dangerously re-casts focus on culture, religion, and particularly American stereotypes of Islam. As multi-faith advocates, we reject the idea that any faith condones violence. In fact, we have been working for years to change the language around “honor killing” for we reject the notion that there is any honor in killing – and many of our community members agree. We would hope that an organization as esteemed as NOW would not reinforce stereotypes in the media – especially when this is how many of our fellow Americans shape their understandings of our communities as well as domestic violence.

Well said, Fatemeh. Violence against women is not an Islamic problem; it is a world problem.  Moslem women may be even more reluctant to come forward with reports of abuse if they fear it maybe used as a political tool against their ethnic group.

I suppose I should post that on PumaPAC, but it looks like they’re having a little technical difficulty:


Invalid username, huh. Well, I hope they get it straightened out. Do you suppose one of PumaPAC’s political enemies hacked into it? They’re always bragging about “separating one from the herd” and all the provocative comments they have posted at PumaPAC with fake aliases.

Well, back to Islam.

Suppose you read the words “I have declared war on homosexuals.” Would that work for you? What about “I have declared war on Jews”? Or what about “I have declared war on blacks”? Or women?  Murphy over at PumaPAC says,

i AM fighting (my own tiny personal little) war against islam.

War against Islam? I’m not gonna touch that one.

I have been blogging for a while now, but I have never invoked Godwin’s law. It’s time. Neimoller, where are you?

First they came for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.

They just came for the Moslems.


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