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"Five axiomatic propositions of Canadian Nationalism vis-a-vis the Americans:

1. Boy, we hate Americans.

2. We really do.

3. Really.

4. I'm not kidding. We really hate them.

5. So how come they never pay us any attention?"

--Will Ferguson, Why I Hate Canadians, Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1997, p.105.


Saturday, March 23, 2002

Forget "Rain Man" Raimondo, here's "Rain Man" Rabbo. Yasir Abed Rabbo is the Palestinian Authority Information Minister. Yasir appears to suffer from some form of ailment in which he repeats the same phrases over and over, regardless of context. Examples, just since Jan 1, 2002:

March 23: Responding to U.S. allegations of a secret Arafat-Iran alliance to instigate further violence in the West Bank:

"This is a factory of lies," Yasir Abed Rabbo, the Palestinian minister of information, said. "Israel is like any colonial power. When they get in trouble, they try to blame outsiders. There has not been a single Iranian here since the 14th century."

January 29: Celebrating the EU's most recent statement in support of Yasser Arafat:

Mr. Abed Rabbo treasured the EU's emphasis that the Palestine National Authority and its President Yasser Arafat remain the only partner in the peace process. He stresses that the campaign of fabrications and false allegations launched by Sharon's government against the PNA and its President, which aims to destroy it and seek unfeasible alternatives to the elected and legitimate Palestinian leadership, has proved to be fruitless and ineffective.

January 13: Responding to the first hint of suspicion that there might be a clandestine Iran-PLO alliance:

We regret that a number of Israeli mass media devices have completely transformed into megaphones that repeat the lies of the Israeli Intelligence, in order to serve the purposes of the Israeli government to continue its declared war against the Palestinian People and campaign against the Palestinian leadership headed by President Arafat.
A number of Israeli newspapers have today revealed false and directed news on an Arab alliance with Mr. Khaminai and a deterioration of relations with Egypt and Europe. In addition, the Israeli media has also exposed false statements on behalf of the United States and its Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on its position regarding the Israeli allegations on the weapons ship issue....
Similarly, the claim of an alliance with Iran is no more than a myth, which aims to threaten the interests of the United States, Egypt, and Europe. Such allegations reflect Sharon's government's political and military aims behind creating the weapons ship issue and magnifying it.
The Palestinian leadership ridicules such false allegations and expresses sorrow regarding the deteriorating level, which the Israeli media has reached in its link with the Israeli Intelligence devices, Mr. Sharon's office, and the fabrication machine, which works on a daily basis to decorate the methods of the Israeli occupation, oppression, and collective punishment against the Palestinian People.

January 4: Remember the Karine-A?

The Palestinian Authority denied the Israeli assertions, saying they were deliberately timed to undermine the American envoy's mission after two weeks of relative calm that have followed a call by Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader, to halt armed attacks on Israelis.

"These allegations are false," said Yasir Abed Rabbo, the Palestinian minister of information. "The Palestinian Authority has nothing to do with this ship.`

January 5: From the Washington Post, "Israel Says It Seized Palestinian Weapons: News Casts Pall Over U.S. Envoy's Visit"

Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo dismissed the Israeli allegations as a "theatrical game" aimed at torpedoing Zinni's truce efforts.

"We insist that the PA has nothing to do with this ship, these allegations are false," he told reporters after the meeting with Zinni in Ramallah.

January 3: Upon the occasion of an Israeli troop withdrawal in the West Bank:

Israeli Defence Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer said Thursday he had ordered his forces to pull back from four Palestinian towns in the West Bank they had surrounded, just hours before the arrival of US special envoy Anthony Zinni….

But Palestinian information minister Yasser Abed Rabbo slammed the claim as "lies." "There is no withdrawal from any cities, this is just lies before zinni comes to the region," he said.

And my own personal favorite from last year:

August 2001: Just one of those days:

"The Jews control much of the media in American and Europe, they use their clout to spread their lies about what happens here…this has been going on for the past fifty years." Said PA official Yasser Abed Rabbo.

"They murder innocent people and then they lie about it…they know that no body is going to investigate their lies."

Let's hear it for Yasir Abed Rabbo, the "I Didn't Do It" boy of the Palestinian Authority.
Axis of Evil's fourth member. The NYT reports that U.S. officials now suspect that a clandestine alliance between Arafat and Iran is "fueling the Mideast fire":

American and Israeli intelligence officials have concluded that Yasir Arafat has forged a new alliance with Iran that involves Iranian shipments of heavy weapons and millions of dollars to Palestinian groups that are waging guerrilla war against Israel...

Israeli officials say they are alarmed by Mr. Arafat's alliance with Iran because they say it gives the Palestinians a powerful and well-armed patron in the increasingly violent conflict with Israel. American officials echoed that concern and said they were also worried by intelligence reports that say Tehran is harboring Al Qaeda members, including one leader who recently tried to mount an attack against Israel from his sanctuary in Iran....

Abu Musaab Zarqawi, a senior Al Qaeda leader who fled the western Afghan city of Herat after the American military campaign began, has turned up in Tehran under the protection of Iranian security forces, according to senior Israeli and American officials. Last month, Mr. Zarqawi dispatched three Afghan-trained operatives to attack Israel, Israeli officials said. The three, two Palestinians and a Jordanian, were arrested when they crossed from Iran into Turkey on Feb."

But, as always, there are two sides to any story. Here's the other:

"This is a factory of lies," Yasir Abed Rabbo, the Palestinian minister of information, said. "Israel is like any colonial power. When they get in trouble, they try to blame outsiders. There has not been a single Iranian here since the 14th century."

Gee, who do you believe?
Go Guatemala, go!!!! Charles Johnson, citing this blog (thanks Charles! I'll assume that "appointed himself" isn't pejorative here) notes the huge obsession with attacking Israel at the UN conference, and adds "Amid this barrage of Arab malice, not one country came to Israel’s defense."

That was true on the first day of the racism discussion. But on the second day:

ANTONIO ARENALES FORNO (Guatemala) said many of the commitments made in Durban made up a useful framework for the fight against racism and discrimination. As had already been stated, Guatemala had made reservations and had dissociated itself from several paragraphs referring to the Middle East and indigenous peoples. With regard to the latter, a universally accepted framework for the rights of indigenous peoples still needed to be established. Guatemala fully supported the human rights of indigenous peoples and believed there was a necessity to fully recognize the rights of indigenous peoples without restrictions.

As far as the Middle East was concerned, it was unacceptable and beyond comprehension how the issue had been tackled. First of all, this situation was not on the Conference agenda, and the way in which it was dealt with included political aspects which must be resolved between the two parties. The debate also had included issues which were not relevant, such as that of refugees. Most unacceptable was that there had been no adequate treatment of the Holocaust or anti-Semitism, which constituted the worst kind of discrimination. This would always would be a black mark on the Durban Conference

Wow! I don't know what's going on here, but way to go, Antonio! Now if a second speaker would simply echo his words, we'd double the amount of common sense at the conference.
Non-discriminatory, except against stars with six points. From the UN Human Rights session yesterday:

MALIKA AIT-MOHAMED PARENT, of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies [IFRC], said human history was riddled with racism and racial discrimination; the memory of the victims of such discrimination must be maintained. The Red Cross Federation had fought racism and discrimination for decades, and did not allow racism within its ranks nor within its work. The Federation had recently enhanced its programmes for promoting tolerance, respect for diversity, and commitment to human rights.

Apparently nobody bothered to ask Ms. Parent to explain how the IFRC's exclusion of Israel's Red Cross association (Magen David Adom) from full member status is an example of fighting discrimination and prohibiting racism within its ranks and work.
Canada in the "Stupidity Zone. Inspired by Charles Johnson's linking to one of Orson Scott Card's opinion pieces, I'll link to something by Spider Robinson.

In my last column, I suggested Earth is entering an intelligence-lowering field, the opposite of the intelligence-enhancing zone described in Poul Anderson's Brain Wave. Several readers have chided me for citing monumental stupidities by Palestinians, Israelis and Americans -- but only trivial, local stupidities by Canadians. Why, they ask, can't Canada get a fair shake in the Idiocy Olympics?

They'll be glad to hear we have a shot at the gold, having produced what some judges believe is the most appallingly stupid case of journalistic irresponsibility in recent memory. In response to one U.S. government agency's stated intention (now cancelled) to spread disinformation -- admittedly a piece of world-class stupidity in itself -- one of our large metropolitan newspapers ran a lengthy article that assembled slanted factoids, scurrilous Internet rumours, illogical innuendo and outright nonsense to "prove" that President George W. Bush himself bombed the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and pinned it on al-Qaeda to give himself an excuse to kill all the Arabs and steal all the oil.

The piece is presented with a straight face. Only in the last paragraphs are you told the punch line: If America says it can lie, hey, maybe we're lying, too. Tee hee.

My heart sank as I read it. It was perfectly obvious to the meanest intelligence that many readers were going to miss the satirical intent. Most of them, it would appear. A week later, responses were printed -- and sure as hell, three out of five readers believe the piece was serious. One says he faxed it to all his friends, another calls it "brilliant and complete," and the third says it restored her faith in the possibility of freedom of speech. I have to agree: Even composing enemy propaganda is now apparently acceptable, if you smirk as you do it. Or is that word too harsh?

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