Thursday, February 23, 2006

The new anti-Semitism

Today Frances put some NPR people in touch with me to possibly discuss the whole port sale brouhaha that's being going on here of late. I guess they were interested in my perspective as someone living here who's spent quite a deal of time in the Middle East. I told them Rami Khoury's more their guy than me (they'd already spoken to him to be on the show.) For one, I've kind of avoided the story just because it's getting too tedious--the whole political-ness of everything Bush does and the way Congress members are now out-vying each other to distance themselves from him. It's all been so tiring of late, not to mention depressing.

But I also avoided the story because I was a bit conflicted about it. I mean, having companies from other countries controlling our ports? It just didn't seem right somehow, perhaps because places of entry into the country seem so linked to national identity as well as security. I didn't know until just a while ago (when Samer told me) that the contracts up for sale are currently owned by a British company; this completely changed any hesitation I'd had before. Not to mention this editorial that I came across in the LA Times which states

Dubai Ports World, like the foreign companies that already run the majority of key U.S. ports — including 80% of the terminals in Los Angeles — does not own the points of entry. It is a contractor that coordinates logistics. And most important, it's not in charge of security. Port operators work with U.S. security officials (port police, the Coast Guard, the Department of Homeland Security) in charge of preventing terrorism.

I listened to Christopher Dickey on "Fresh Air" this evening and was really impressed with his take on the subject as well as his articulate analysis of current events in the Middle East (definitely worth listening to--here's a link). Then I looked at Maureen Dowd's piece from yesterday and was just shocked. I'm a fan of Dowd, but I couldn't believe how ignorantly she attempts to characterize the UAE. This was complete stereotypical tripe. She'd do best to venture a bit out of New York before she writes stupidity about a place and people she knows nothing about.

Kind of makes one think this new anti-Semitism (Arabs are Semites, after all) is the new vogue.

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