Across the bay due north from Haifa in northern Israel, the ancient port city of Akka/Acre "changed hands many times between Christians and Muslims" during the Crusades. It "was ceded to the Arabs in the United Nations partition of Palestine in 1948 but was captured by Israel shortly thereafter." Above, eastern walls at dawn (left) and prison, part of Crusaders' underground city. Normally a tourist spot, the underground city is "now open 24 hours a day as a makeshift bomb shelter," reports the Boston Globe. (Antonio Vasquez photos)
"This song is relevant today, because Nasrallah is a naked king who is dragging an entire nation into war, and the ones who pay the price are innocent civilians," says a member of the Arab Israeli rock band "Khalas," quoted in a ynet news story linked by Israeli blogger Lisa Goldman of On the Face:
In contrast to what one may think, Khalas is not using their songs to criticize Israelis or Jews. Their criticism is directed toward Arab society.
“We think that we have to fix our own house and criticize the Arab sector before we complain about the state and the government”, said Beromi. “In the song ‘The King Is Naked’ we are protesting the behavior of Arab leaders who do not listen to their people." The band is based in Akka.
"Nasrallah's great achievement," headlines Israeli blogger Lisa Goldman of On the Face, providing an English translation of this Time Out Tel Aviv cartoon: "I just got into the Guinness Book of World Records for holding the biggest number of hostages ever: The entire nation of Lebanon!"
Blogger Goldman herself is featured in a Wall Street Journal story (subscription only) today on the strange blogfellows of the Israel-Hezbollah war, a group of mostly Western-educated Lebanese and Israeli bloggers who comment and imail across the frontline. A taste of the tangled threads of their correspondence:
The Internet has made it possible "to have a Beirut-Tel Aviv online IM chat in real time," Ms. Goldman wrote . . . "That's what happened to me and this blogger a few nights ago. We chatted while he was sitting on the roof of his apartment building in Beirut watching missiles from Israeli planes fall on his city and describing it to me. He was carrying on an online conversation with another Israeli at the same time."
The Lebanese blogger, who runs the Lebanese Political Journal blog, won't disclose his identity because he believes his online chats with Israelis could be considered an act of disloyalty. He says in an email: "Chatting with Israelis from Lebanon during war is very awkward." But, he says, "One remembers that we are still humans regardless of where the borders lie."
One of Goldman's dearest Lebanese blogfriends "made a 180-degree turn since the beginning of the war and has become an Israeli hater":
"It was really tragic for me," says Ms. Goldman. "That was one of the things that was the hardest thing about this fighting, because we had this really fragile new community, and we were slowly peeling back the layers of prejudice."
"Arabs and Jews all live together in Acre [Akka]. We are like a model of co-existence for the rest of Israel," the mayor of the ancient Haifa Bay town told a Boston Globe reporter recently. "All the people here support the government campaign against Hezbollah. We hope they can solve the problem quickly because if there is peace there will be lots of tourists and lots of money to help all the people whose businesses have been closed for the past week."
to Nasrallah, one man's "naked king" is another man's holy warrior. One of the bloggers at Lebanese Political Journal thinks the man in the black turban and his sponsors in Iran and Syria are winning the propaganda war:
Nasrallah is becoming an absolute Shia idol. He is the hero of the Syrians and Iranians . . . His charisma is still there and his followers are ready to do anything to please him.
More insight from a July 16 International Tribune analysis:
Sheik Nasrallah is shrewdly rallying the faithful by evoking his party's claim to a holy mandate. "You are fighting the sons of Muhammad and Ali and Hassan and Hussein and all the prophet's household," he told the Israelis in a recorded message broadcast on the group's satellite television station, Al Manar, and on several Arab satellite news stations. The sheik's black turban in his picture onscreen signaled his own descent from the Prophet Muhammad. "You are fighting people who have faith," he said.
"Nasrallah led Hezbollah into a disastrous contest with Israel, to establish himself as the champion of Lebanese Shias, as that constituency seeks a revision of the country's politics," Steven Schwartz adds in the latest TCS Daily:
Nobody can say whether his destructive adventure will reinforce or undermine the political power of Hezbollah. Worldwide Shia opinion, even in Iran, is divided. More Shia Muslims around the world may see Nasrallah as a terrorist than as a hero.
He does look rather dashing in his prophetic [PBUH] finery, but we prefer a man in a white hat. Ten gallon, preferably. Two were on display this afternoon in a joint press conference of Number One and Number Two of the Anglosphere at the White House. The ever eloquent Tony Blair's rhetoric invoking the good guys' faith in freedom was rousing. A couple of tidbits:
The bond between Britain and the US is stronger than ever. We share the same goals, and we share the same values, and we share the same determination to defeat the terrorists.
I think the American leadership is indispensable. We shall prevail.
One of the things we have to do is to stop apologizing for our positions.
That last bit is key to winning the propaganda war.