Christopher Hitchens’ ‘Fundamentalist’ Exemption for Zionism

In Arab culture there is a strong imperative to not speak ill of the dead, but I’m going to have to make an exception for Christopher Hitchens. Knowing Hitchens, I’m sure he’d approve. Hitchens had a tenacity and ferociousness that would not compromise for considerations of tact, tradition, or politeness. That was something I admired about him, and will pay tribute to it in the only fitting way possible.

I only met Christopher Hitchens once, on March 9th, 2006. The New York University Remarque Institute held an event entitled “What Happens Now? Israel And The Palestinians after Gaza, Sharon, And Hamas.” Hosted by the great late Tony Judt, it brought Hitchens to speak along with Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury and Israeli journalist Gideon Levy.

The discussion was very interesting and intelligent, until Hitchens took the pulpit and started hyperventilating about Hamas winning the Palestinian elections. He went on for 20 minutes on the evils of religion in politics. A theocracy, he said, could never make peace with its neighbors and will always discriminate based on idiotic religious grounds. Palestinians thus deserved to be isolated and punished by the USA for choosing a religious regime.

After his talk, I took Hitchens aside and asked him why he didn’t feel the same way about the other religious fundamentalist regime in Palestine: Zionism. If he was so concerned about Hamas’s religious fundamentalism, why was he silent about the religious fundamentalism that is driving millions of Palestinians out of their homes, occupying their land and denying them freedom because of their religion? Shouldn’t America deal with Jewish fundamentalism in the same way he wants it to deal with Islamic fundamentalism?

For once, I saw him flustered and speechless. It was clear he genuinely had not thought of this and now he felt thoroughly embarrassed. He smiled, looked around, tried to find something to say, but came up with nothing. He then tried to ignore me by going back to his comfort zone and engaging in a shouting match with a Muslim and calling him a “fucking peasant.” (That man was Ashraf Laidi, a currency trader and author whose CV indicates he’s never really been a peasant.) I asked Hitchens if he’d make my point in his next talk about Palestine/Israel, and again, he had nothing to say. I ended with: “well, either tell me why I’m wrong or admit you’re wrong and that in your next speech you’ll denounce Islamic and Jewish fundamentalism in the same way.” The stupid smirk left his face, and he walked away.

This was post-2001 Hitchens. The over-riding directive of his life was to make money by pleasing American right-wingers by dressing up their idiotic nationalism, chauvinism, and jingoism with Big Words and an English accent. It was a highly rewarding career, because he sold to morons who watch Sean Hannity the illusion that they are not complete cretins, and they pay top dime for that sort of intellectual deceit.

Clearly, it was not part of the New Hitchens act to include material critical of Israel, since the awful Islamo-Fascist-Satan-Beast had to be defeated at all costs. This life-long crusader against religion had perfected his new act to the point that he had stopped noticing, entirely, that Israel was a state based on religious discrimination, and was championing its case as it went on ethnically cleansing people who came from the wrong religion. Still, I’m sure on his death bed he would have imagined that this was all worth it, since it helped Israel and George W. Bush, the two greatest forces of secularism of our time, to spread the gospel of enlightenment, freedom, rationalism and tolerance to the “fucking peasants” of the Arab world.

159 thoughts on “Christopher Hitchens’ ‘Fundamentalist’ Exemption for Zionism”

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  2. A long (and good) one on Grealish
    So the inevitable has happened, xem t? l? cá c??c bóng ?á hôm nay and Jack Grealish has committed his international future to England. Cue much wailing and gnashing of teeth in Ireland as we lose a potential mainstay of our national team to his country of birth.

    Some of your readers may be slightly bemused to think that a kid with about a dozen senior appearances could cause a huffluff with so simple a decision, but any production line of talent has long ago ground to a halt in Ireland. Seamus keo da banh truc tuyen Coleman is the last Premier League regular we produced, even though he’s the wrong side of 25.

    We’ve now had our pr*cks royally teased by Grealish, who represented us throughout the youth ranks before turning his back on the Irish setup at the eleventh hour. C’est la vie – I for one am not shedding any tears. Thinking about this from the perspective of the lad himself though, the decision looks a tad iffy. He was basically guaranteed a 100 cap career in the Irish midfield, barring injury problems, and that career would have begun within the next 6-9 months. Should Ireland qualify for the Euros next year, it’s not improbable that Grealish would have forced his was into that squad in time for the tournament.

    Contrast the above with the experience Grealish kèo bóng ?á tr?c ti?p is likely to have in the England setup. The competition for places in much more intense, and one suspects that Roy’s squad for next summer is pretty much set in stone already. Fast forward 12 months, and if he’s still at Villa Park he’ll have to light up the league to force his way in (as opposed to the ease with which Tom Cleverley wandered in having just set foot on the pitch for United).

    Looking further ahead, if Grealish does manage to get himself a foothold in the England squad he probably guarantees himself 3-4 tournaments more than he could hope to reach with the Irish side.

    However, his chances of winning anything are still almost nil as we all know. Furthermore, the likelihood is that at least one of those tournaments will be a complete flop and the side will return home with howls of derision ringing in their ears. As he himself will be aware, that didn’t even happen to the Irish lads after their disastrous Euro 2012 showing.

    On balance, the lad has increased his chance of international glory from 0% to maybe 10%, while ensuring that the level of competition preventing him from building that side of his career increases tenfold. Playing for the English national team has always had the look of a poisoned chalice to a casual observer, due to the disparity between the hype and the reality. Hopefully, for Grealish’s sake, his decision turns out to be the best one for him when he looks back on it in 15 years’ time.

  3. A long (and good) one on GrealishSo the inevitable has happened, xem t? l? cá c??c bóng ?á hôm nay  and Jack Grealish has committed his international future to England. Cue much wailing and gnashing of teeth in Ireland as we lose a potential mainstay of our national team to his country of birth.Some of your readers may be slightly bemused to think that a kid with about a dozen senior appearances could cause a huffluff with so simple a decision, but any production line of talent has long ago ground to a halt in Ireland. Seamus keo da banh truc tuyen  Coleman is the last Premier League regular we produced, even though he’s the wrong side of 25.We’ve now had our pr*cks royally teased by Grealish, who represented us throughout the youth ranks before turning his back on the Irish setup at the eleventh hour. C’est la vie – I for one am not shedding any tears. Thinking about this from the perspective of the lad himself though, the decision looks a tad iffy. He was basically guaranteed a 100 cap career in the Irish midfield, barring injury problems, and that career would have begun within the next 6-9 months. Should Ireland qualify for the Euros next year, it’s not improbable that Grealish would have forced his was into that squad in time for the tournament.Contrast the above with the experience Grealish kèo bóng ?á tr?c ti?p  is likely to have in the England setup. The competition for places in much more intense, and one suspects that Roy’s squad for next summer is pretty much set in stone already. Fast forward 12 months, and if he’s still at Villa Park he’ll have to light up the league to force his way in (as opposed to the ease with which Tom Cleverley wandered in having just set foot on the pitch for United).Looking further ahead, if Grealish does manage to get himself a foothold in the England squad he probably guarantees himself 3-4 tournaments more than he could hope to reach with the Irish side.However, his chances of winning anything are still almost nil as we all know. Furthermore, the likelihood is that at least one of those tournaments will be a complete flop and the side will return home with howls of derision ringing in their ears. As he himself will be aware, that didn’t even happen to the Irish lads after their disastrous Euro 2012 showing.On balance, the lad has increased his chance of international glory from 0% to maybe 10%, while ensuring that the level of competition preventing him

  4. Daniel Sturridge. With his double strike in the 3-2 win over Aston Villa taking him to 37 goals in 57 starts (that’s 0.65 goals per game), Sturridge is officially Liverpool’s most prolific scorer in the Premier League era. That’s not bad when you’re going up against the likes of Luis Suarez (0.63) and Fernando Torres (0.64). At any level of football, strikers can mask a multitude of sins (e.g. conceding twice at home to Villa) and the England frontman is the one who can do it for Brendan Rodgers. The good news for Liverpool is that, after numerous injury lay-offs, their deadliest striker of the modern era is currently alive and well and scoring. For now.

  5. When I read about the horrors inflicted on Iraq: the depleted uranium, the razing of Fallujah, the massacre at Haditha and countless other smaller acts of American terrorism….and then I remember that Hitchens was a cheerleader for all this and I'm thankful he'll no longer get to spew his venom.

  6. The guy did have a flaw in his thinking, but not in the direction the author makes. Talk to him about zionism and he'd use the criticism as any other religious ideology. Hearing him talk about Saddam though… it's like he has complete disdain for any distinction between ends and means. Yes, Saddam was an arsehole, and yes,
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  7. The detrimental effects of kham benh dong mach vanh o dau hard drinking were particularly pronounced in young and middle-aged adults, and people who were otherwise in good health, said lead researcher thi?u máu c? tim ? ng??i tr? Dr. Isaac Whitman, an electrophysiologist at the University of California, San Francisco. However, the study bài thu?c ch?a b?nh tim did not prove that heavy drinking causes cây thu?c ch?a b?nh tim heart failure.

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  8. Patients with mechanical kham benh dong mach vanh o dau heart valves may benefit from managing their own blood thinners, a new study suggests.

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  9. The genus Aerodramus was thought to h? y?n sào khánh hòa be the only echolocating swiftlets. These birds use echolocation to locate their roost in dark caves. Unlike a bat’s echolocation, Aerodramus swiftlets make clicking noises that are well within the human range of hearing. The clicks consist of two broad band pulses (3 – 10 kHz) separated by a slight pause (1 – 3 milliseconds). The interpulse periods (IPPs) are varied depending on the level of light; in darker situations the bird emits shorter IPPs, as obstacles become harder to see, and longer IPPs are observed when the bird nears the exit hu yen sao khanh hoa of the cave. This behavior is similar to that of bats as they approach targets. The birds also emit a series of low clicks followed by a call when approaching the nests; presumably to warn nearby birds out of their way. It is thought that the double clicks are used to discriminate between y?n khánh hòa ch?ng s?n individual birds. Aerodramus sawtelli, the Atiu swiftlet, and Aerodramus maximus, the black-nest swiftlet are the only known species which emit single clicks. The single click is thought be used to avoid voice overlap quà t?ng cho s?p during echolocation. The use of a single click y?n sào khánh hòa nguyên ch?t might be associated with an n?m linh chi evolutionary shift in eastern Pacific swiftlets; determining how many clicks the Marquesan swiftlet emits could shed light on this. It was also discovered that both the Atiu swiftlet (Fullard, 1993) and the Papuan swiftlet yen sao khanh hoa nguyen chat (Price et al., 2005) emit clicks while foraging outside at dusk; the latter possibly only in these circumstances, considering that it might not nest in caves at all. Such behavior yen khanh hoa chung san is not known to occur in other species (Fullard, 1993), but quite possibly does, given that the Papuan and Atiu swiftlets are not closely related. However, it has recently been determined that the echolocation vocalizations do not agree with evolutionary relationship yen sao khanh hoa chung san between swiftlet species as suggested by DNA sequence comparison (Thomassen & Povel, 2006). This suggests that as in bats, echolocation sounds, once present, adapt rapidly and independently to the particular species' acoustic environment.

    Three hypotheses are yen sao khanh hoa tinh che considered to describe how echolocation evolved in the genus Aerodramus and, as determined more recently, other taxa in the Apodidae. One hypothesis states that echolocation evolved from an ancestral species of swiftlets and was lost in the genera which lack echolocation. A second hypothesis is that echolocation evolved independently several y?n sào khánh hòa tinh ch? times. The third scenario involves a combination of the first two, i.e. a gain-loss-regain scenario.

  10. Several functional yen sao thien nhien subunits (like vocal muscles and brain areals) are needed to produce the echolocating system. Past studies have thought that the loss of one of these subunits was more likely to occur than acquiring all the traits needed to echolocate. But a recent study (Thomassen et al., 2005) suggests that the echolocation subunits were mainly located in the y?n sào thiên nhiên central nervous system, while the subunits in the vocal apparatus were already present and capable of use before echolocation even evolved. This study supports the second hypothesis of independent evolution of echolocation in Aerodramus and Collocalia, with the subsequent evolution of complex behavior needed to complement the physical echolocation system, or even the third approach, as the vocal apparatus-parts of the echolocation system might even be inherited from some prehistoric nocturnal ancestor.
    The energy contained quà t?ng cao c?p cho s?p in 100 g of swiftlet nest is 345 kcal. The nests are often served simmered in chicken broth.

    Authentic bird's-nest soup is quite quà t?ng s?p 2016 popular throughout Asia. It is also extremely expensive; many western restaurants serve a less expensive version consisting of soup with noodles shaped to resemble a bird's nest.
    The use of echolocation ??i lý y?n sào khánh hòa t?i tphcm was once used to separate Aerodramus from the non-echolocating genera Collocalia and Hydrochous (virtually nothing is known about Schoutedenapus). But recently, the pygmy swiftlet Collocalia troglodytes was discovered making similar clicking noises in and outside its cave y?n sào thiên nhiên khánh hòa (Price et al., 2004). Characteristics of behavior, such as what materials other than saliva the nests contain, can be used to qua tang sep differentiate between certain species of Aerodramus (Lee et al., 1996).

    Authentic bird's-nest soup is made from nests of some ?ông trùng h? th?o species of swiftlet, mainly the edible-nest (or white-nest) swiftlet (Aerodramus fuciphagus) and the black-nest swiftlet. Instead of twigs, feathers and straw, these swiftlets make their nest only nam linh chi from strands of their gummy saliva, which hardens when exposed to air. Once the nests are harvested, they are cleaned and sold to restaurants. Eating swiftlet nest material is believed to help maintain skin tone, balance qi ("life energy") and reinforce the immune system. It is also san pham yen sao khanh hoa believed to strengthen the lungs and prevent coughs, improve the constitution and prolong life. The nutritional value of 100 g of dry nest includes 49.9 g of water-soluble protein (including amido nitrogen, monoamine nitrogen, non-amino nitrogen, dong trung ha thao arginine, humin, histidine, lysine and cysteine), 30.6 g carbohydrate (glycoprotein and mucin), 4.9 g iron, 2.5 g inorganic salt (including potassium, sodium, calcium, s?n ph?m y?n sào khánh hòa magnesium, sulfur, phosphorus, silica and other trace elements), and 1.4 g fiber (Dictionary of Traditional Chinese Medicine, The History of Chinese Medicine and the Nutrition Table).

  11. The swift family remains gia to yen sao khanh hoa one of the more complicated groups of birds in taxonomic research, but the swiftlet tribe is a rather well-defined group. Its internal systematics is confusing; the plumage is usually dull, with shades of black, brown, and gray; from their outward appearance, most species are yen sao khanh hoa nguyen to very similar. Swiftlets have four toes, except the Papuan swiftlet which lacks the hallux (back toe). Their legs are very short, preventing the birds from perching, y?n sào khánh hòa ch?ng s?n but allowing them to cling to vertical surfaces. Flight is mainly gliding due to very long primary feathers and small breast muscles. The larger giá t? y?n sào khánh hòa Aerodramus swiftlets weigh about 14 grams and are 10 cm long.

    Swiftlets are insectivores; hymenopterans and dipterans being the most abundant prey (Lourie & Tompkins, 2000). Typically, they leave the cave during the day y?n sào khánh hòa nguyên t? to forage and return to their roost at night. Males and females look similar; as usual in such cases, these birds are monogamous and both partners take part in caring for the nestlings. Males perform aerial displays to attract females and mating dai ly yen sao khanh hoa occurs at the nest. The breeding season overlaps the wet season, which corresponds to an increased insect population. Clutch size depends on the location and the food source, but it is yen sao khanh hoa thien nhien generally not large; Aerodramus swiftlets lay 1 to 2 eggs. The eggs are a dull white color and are laid every other day. Many if not all species are dai ly yen sao khanh hoa tai tphcm colonial nesters; some build their nests in high, dark corners on cave walls. Swiftlets in temperate zones do migrate, but most Aerodramus swiftlets live in the tropical Indo-Pacific region and do not migrate. These birds y?n sào khánh hòa thiên nhiên usually remain in one cave or other roosting/nesting site. Some examples of caves include the Niah Caves at Niah National Park & Gunung Mulu National Park which are all located in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo.

    The genus Aerodramus is of special interest due to its use of echolocation and its intricately constructed saliva nests which in some species contain no other material yen sao thien nhien khanh hoa such as feathers, moss or twigs and are collected, selling at extremely high prices (see Bird's nest soup). It has been argued that the high demand for these nests could have had an adverse effect on their populations (Hobbs, 2003; Marcone, 2005) but other authorities (Jordan, 2004) have shown that modern techniques of nest farming have increased the bird population.

  12. 5 years late but I feel compelled to reply to this post nonetheless, as I have somehow had the misfortune of stumbling across it.

    Hitchens condemned Zionism on many, many occasions, and stated many times that it was founded on a delusion and was an inherently unhelpful and harmful movement.

    He was however, aware of the moral imbalance between the two sides engaged in the Palestine- Israel conflict, and very aware that militant Islam is a force far more in need of our condemnation and attentions than the state of Israel, however glaring its flaws may be.

    Your entertaining account of ‘taking Hitchens aside’ and leaving him ‘flustered’, ‘speechless’ and ’embarrassed’ is as hard to believe as it is self-congratulatory.

    I only hope that 5 years on you are now wise enough to be embarrassed by your younger self.

    1. It’s also appropriate to add that Israel is not a Theocracy. Hitchens specifically talked about theocracies. So the whole piece is predicated on a falsehood.

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