Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Peter Beinart's New Norm for Gauging Jewish Humanism:

Peter Beinart has been pontificating to Israelis and ("hawkish" American Jews) about showing concern for the 500 Palestinians whose death was carefully engineered by their Hamas leaders to be blamed on Israel's military strikes.

"I've noticed that the people enthusiastically supporting this war rarely link to the names of Palestinian dead, even when their deaths are reported by reputable news agencies in stories that contain no overt political spin. When forced to talk about the Palestinian dead, hawks insist that Hamas and only Hamas bears culpability for their deaths. But if they really believe that, they should be broadcasting the names of the Palestinian dead--all the better to show how wicked Hamas is. And yet they almost never do. Which makes me suspect that although they want to believe that Hamas bears sole responsibility, they fear they might not be able to sustain that claim if forced to look hard at the circumstances in which Palestinians have died, and at the names and faces of the people torn limb from limb. I think that fear is well-founded. Which is why I hope the people who support this war--many of whom I know from personal experience are decent and well-meaning--will use their social media platforms to publicize the names of the Palestinian as well as Israeli dead. If they truly believe Israel had no choice, they should have no hesitation."
What's he saying? Why should Israelis recite the names of Palestinian victims, many of whom are Hamas operatives and combatants? Has he gone on record demanding that Americans recite to themselves the names of the many innocent Afghans, Pakistanis, Iraqis who were killed by US armed forces during war? Is it some sort of a new standard for one's humanism that he is trying to impose on Jews and none other except Jews? A new method by which to shame them? There is a certain megalomaniac pathology at work here.

Joan Cocks , in “Individuality, Nationality, and the Jewish Question Social Research,  Winter, 1999 , explains the moral complexity an "exceptional Jew" is faced with. She takes Isaiah Berlin’s special darling status in the terms that Arendt set forth:

“Arendt provides a Proustian account of French salon society, which found exceptional Jews magnetic and the mass of Jews obnoxious. Berlin repeatedly represents England as a liberal and tolerant society in which Jews could feel themselves equal to all other citizens. Nevertheless, the realities of English anti-Semitism should make us wonder … Berlin resembles the assimilating Jews he describes in "Jewish Slavery and Emancipation," who for survival's sake had "to make themselves familiar with the habits and modes of behaviour" of Gentile society, to "get this right" and "not miscalculate." … The figure of the exceptional Jew as Arendt analyses it would help explain Berlin’s remark, so incongruous with his long and happy existence at the pinnacle of English society, that Marilyn Berger reports in her New York Times obituary for him. "Of course assimilation might be a quite good thing, but it doesn't work. Never has worked, never will. There isn't a Jew in the world known to me who somewhere inside him does not have a tiny drop of uneasiness vis-à-vis them, the majority among whom they live ... one has to behave particularly well ... [or] they won't like us." When.. "it was suggested to him that he was surely the exception ... he had an immediate response: 'Nevertheless, I'm not an Englishman, and if I behave badly...'" Arendt might have phrased the point somewhat differently: "I'm not an Englishman but an exceptional Jew, and that is precisely one reason why they salute me. But if I act like an ordinary Jew..."

There is a great deal of bitter insight in these attempts to understand and describe how some Jews try to manage and negotiate their Jewishness in a world which has become fed-up with and unsympathetic to, Jewish history. Unfortunately, with such baggage, carried by both the purveyors of “antizionism”, as well as their intended and unintended, audiences there is so much pain and noise interfering that even if there is a kernel of useful value in what they preach, it gets lost in the ruckus.

The "proud Jew and Zionist" business that Beinart resorts to is quite pathetic and self-defeating.

 "When I go to Israel--and see a vibrant, incredibly creative, Jewish civilization built less than a century after our people came so close to extermination--I am literally moved to tears. I am a Zionist in a very simple, almost childlike, way. As a Jew, I consider Israel a miracle for our people. But I also know that in our history, Jews have won sovereignty before, and lost it because of moral corruption. And I see controlling millions of people who lack basic rights for almost 50 years as moral corruption. I have seen it up close in the West Bank. I have seen what it has done to Palestinian friends of mine. And that fills me with as much anger and sadness as Israel's existence fills me with joy. I don't want our joy, our rebirth to be built on the suffering and humiliation of others. I want us to have our state--to revel in it, and for Palestinians to have theirs as well. I'm not naive enough to think that will entirely end this conflict. But it will provide some measure of justice to both us and them. For me, that will be Israel's greatest triumph. And it will ensure that this precious gift handed us by previous generations--at such a terrible cost--endures for our children."
 Such is the discomfiture perfectly described once by Leon Wieseltier, (Beinart's old colleague in the New Republic) speaking of another self-styled "proud Jew": "I detect the scars of dinners and conferences". It's the same dismay at being associated with a despised country and an insecure parvenu people (American Jewry, which Beinart is attempting to "re-educate" into being better Jews, or Americans, or Zionists, who knows? ) that Arendt detected in prominent German Jews, when they needed to put as much distance as they could between their own elegance and German-worthiness and the squalor and poverty of alien Polish Shtetl Jews who were part of their Germany.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

I don't mind people who purportedly care about human rights and human dignity use the term "racist" and provide horrifying tales of Israeli racism. What I do mind is the moral condescension and hypocrisy of such "peaceniks" who harbour in their heart of hearts dark and unreconstructed pathological prejudices.I'm not suspecting Elizabeth Tsurkov of any such prejudices. I'm sure she has been very solicitous towards Mizrahi Jews in Israeli society and

their haughty marginalization by certain parts of the Squeaky Clean Left. I'm just saying, you know, how impressed I am by her concern for the Mizrahi Jew mistaken for an Arab.

This in response to this tweet:

And then I wondered about that "racist" thingy and how it can act like a moebius ring:

Nonsense, Ochovsky style

And still on the same subject. Gal Ochovsky, on his television show, conducted a terrible racist interview with Ronen Shoval from “Im Tirtzu”.** “You are such an Ashkenazi , he told him “with blue eyes”. And that really is wrong that this young man with his Aryan looks should behave like the barbarians and the Feiglins. In the mind of the enlightened Ochovsky in order to be a dangerous racist you need to be dark skinned, dark-eyed. Though, in fact, Feiglin has blue eyes, too. This won’t do any good. Ochovsky has solid opinions about blond blue-eyed people. For him they are über alles and that was just for starters. There was no interview there, only an unleashed fulmination, cringing support for and self-ingratiating to Bakri, the great actor, and analogizing “Im Tirtzu” to McCarthyism and the benighted thirties. So said the man who loves the Aryan look.
The problem does not spring from Ochovsky’s opinions. The problem is his shallowness. It was Bakri who called for a boycott against Israeli culture, and not just at the Paris Festival. Is there a chance that Ochovsky would turn Bakri into a Nazi or a McCarthyite? Not bloody likely. Ochovsky was one of those who aligned himself with the boycotting of Hall of Culture at Ariel. So there. He is for boycotts but will tag as Nazis ("The thirties”) those who call for boycotting Bakri.
It is all right for Ochovsky to have his own television program in which he sprays his agenda. Freedom of Speech and all that. How come, though, that there is not a similar television program which promotes the antithesis to Ochovsky?"

To quote a well known Jewish rabbi:  He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first  stone.

Just saying, like.

 "The following story illustrates my point: In 1947, before the declaration of Israel’s statehood, an incident took place at exactly the same spot as this one, the corner of Jaffa and Ben Yehuda streets. A group of kids just out of school encountered two Arabs, “one young, the other old” and treated them with “distinct crudeness”, including “coarse provocation” and bodily injury. An eye witness to the incident was Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, the spiritual leader of national Zionism in general and the settler movement in particular. He saw what happened and later published a scathing letter to the principal of the school these kids attended. He specified that “not everyone was complicit in the deed … some [of the kids] protested against it”, but the letter was severe and sharply-worded.
“I was pained and ashamed … The reality of the incident upset and offended me and forces me to alert you to the need to pay special and intense attention to prevent such incidents in future. From a moral aspect instructed in the Torah and from the practical aspect of good social and national politics. We need to educate for  peaceful manners and neighbourly relationship”. There is a double message being made, simultaneously moral and political. We should not learn everything the Rabbi had to teach but this letter should be taught in school, in the subject of civics."

Consider Palestinian hatred of Israel (and 50+% of Jews) in the light of story told by Reinhard Heydrich to Adolf Eichmann and Rudolf Lange in "Conspiracy":

 He told me a story about a man he had known all his life, a boyhood friend.  This man hated his father.  Loved his mother fiercely.  His mother was devoted to him, but his father used to beat him, demeaned him, disinherited him.  Anyway, this friend grew to manhood and was still in his thirties when the mother died.  The mother, who had nurtured and protected him, died.  The man stood at her grave as they lowered the coffin and tried to cry, but no tears came.

The man’s father lived to a very extended old age and withered away and died when the son was in his fifties.  At the father’s funeral, much to the son’s surprise, he could not control his tears.  Wailing, sobbing….he was apparently inconsolable.  Utterly lost.  That was the story Kritzinger told me.

The man had been driven his whole life by hatred of his father.  When his mother died, that was a loss, but when his father died and the hate had lost its object, the man’s life was completely empty.

Palestinian identity IS hatred of Israel. It's not a self-sustaining identity as it thrives only on fantasies of destruction and revenge. 

Prof. Abu Khalil is a great supporter of Palestinian nationalism. He is much admired by many of the more educated Palestinians and supporters of Palestinians. His view is a fairly accurate representation of the kind of hatred Kritzinger's story explains. It's an hatred that is  a core of identity. Everything a person is rides on that core. It explains why Palestinians (and by extension most Arabs) cannot deal with the very idea of Jewish suffering, that they celebrate murder of Jews and beatify mass-terrorists. Their response to horrors inflicted on Israelis is compatible with the type of pure hatred epitomized in the son's relationship to his father. Cultural ethos is always an enactment of a worldview, a philosophy, a way of defining oneself.

Hatred and violence are partners in the same way.  Hatred is the worldview. Violence is the ethos. Therefore, the ideal extends towards destruction, more destruction, and nihilism. The celebrations of mass-murder are only a manifestation of the constitutive hatred that forms Palestinian identity.

Reduce the hatred, and you augment civilization. But only Palestinians can do that for themselves. They have to decide what they are going to be when they grow up. Make no mistake about it, nothing, not even the annihilation of Israel,  is ever going to satisfy this unappeasable hatred and its need to feed itself. It's a bottomless pit.  And only Palestinians can climb out of this pit.

I said it before and I'll say it again: Humans tend to opt for the lower, baser, primitive instincts of our nature. Humans also learn things by observation and imitation. When faced with an enemy whose ethos preaches, supports and glorifies no-holds-barred hatred and violence some humans will respond in kind. 

It is a law of nature. 

To prevent this, we have created civilization. But "Civilization is not self-supporting. It is artificial. If you are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization -- you are done." (Ortega y Gasset).

This is what happened with these murderers. They gave in to the most primitive of rage. What I would like to know is what is their relationship with civilization and how come they grew so wild that they could even come together, think together, plot and carry out such a horror.

More important I want to know who is truly responsible for turning these persons into murdering monsters. Who is the inciter? Who told them this can be done and that it is right?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Friday, June 20, 2014

British Foreign Office in 1949...

As per the love that flows towards the Jewish state from the Presbyterian Church, voting to boycott Israelis and remove them from the circle of grace accorded to all humanity

Friday, May 23, 2014

 What are the goals of the BDS movement?

From the pen of a BDS-supporter, mover and shaker, comes a vision for a one-state solution:

There is only conflict between you and us: only conflict.  I even cringe when I see you protests because I know how deeply racist you are and how much you suffer from self-admiration and delusions.  But your delusions are good for us: you won't know what will hit you in the future in response to all the war crimes that you have committed against our people.  You may hear a cheer or two from a handful of puppets of your occupation, or from a propagandist or two in Saudi publications.  But the conflict will continue:  It will only end by the end of that Zionist entity and an end to the occupation of Palestine.  And once the Palestinian refugees are returned to their homes all over Palestine, I will make sure that you get decent rents in the formerly Palestinian refugee camps because we may be a bit short of space for the occupiers then.  Oh, one more word: go and shed more tears for Mubarak and ask him for space in his Sharam Ash-Shaykh hospital. 

And here is Norman Finkelstein, providing the glossary necessary to understand these goals:

"... the BDS movement “think they are really clever” by covering up their real intentions when they call for a “three-tier” agenda of ending the occupation, demanding the right of return for all Palestinian refugees and equal rights for all Arabs in Israel. “You know and I know what the result is. There is no Israel!” he said."

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Before and After

I don't get it. The "before" photo shows a valley between two mountain slopes. There is a group of trees in the middle but the mountain slopes are bare, brown and rocky. The "after" photo shows a valley between two mountain slopes. The valley in the middle is bare and seems to be covered by some sort of sand. The mountain slopes on either side of it are green and covered with trees and grass for as far as the eye can see.

So I really don't understand what kind of a before and after this is. How long has elapsed between the before and the after? How long would it take for the trees in the after to grow on those bare slopes of the before? How many years, or seasons, hours, would it take for those slopes to turn green? And how come neither the author of the piece nor any of the commenters noticed this anomaly? Perhaps someone can enlighten me?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The New Moral Frontier: It's not a lynch if the victim is a Jew 

In recent news: 

Two Israeli journalists covering Palestinian riots in Beitunua, near Ramallah, were attacked by masked Palestinian rioters on Friday.

The journalists, Walla Arab affairs analyst Avi Issacharoff and a cameraman, were attacked after a Palestinian woman claiming to be a journalist set the rioters on them, Issacharoff told Channel 10 News on Friday evening.
 The two were beaten by masked men and suffered bruising before being evacuated from the area by plainclothes Palestinian Authority security officers, who then transferred them to the custody of the IDF’s Civil Administration for Judea and Samaria.

Look how the BDS Angry-in-chief characterizes the near-goring of two Israeli journalists:
"... two Israeli journalists said they were nearly “lynched” by a Palestinian mob."  Today, I NEARLY invented a cure for cancer."
Now see how he characterizes similar (very few) incidents in the past when the victims were Arabs:

Zionism is a mass hate crime

lynching Arabs in Israel:

that Israelis habitually lynch Arabs,

This is Zionism: “Two Palestinians narrowly escaped a lynching attempt in Jerusalem Tuesday evening after they were assaulted by dozens of ultra-Orthodox Jews. The two Arabs were wounded, while a Jewish resident who protected them with his body was stabbed.” (thanks Rashid)
Posted on July 23, 2008 by As'ad

According to Haaretz, following the incident in Zion Square:
Four minors between the ages of 13-15, including one girl, were arrested on Sunday in connection with the attack at Zion Square, in which one victim was seriously injured and three others were slightly hurt.

Let's look at some records:

The professor says thathat Israelis habitually lynch Arabs,

 Googling " lynching of Arabs by Israelis" produced 409,000 results . 

I looked at the first 5 pages. There were lynching stories and near- lynching stories but only one  story about a "near lynching" of  Palestinian youths by Israeli-Jewish youth, the same incident I mentioned above.

Other lynching and near-lynchings stories were about Palestinians murdering or attempting to murder Israeli -Jews, one attempt to lynch a Palestinian family mistaken for Jews. ("She spoke to them in Arabic and only then did they understand that we ourselves are Arabs, and left us alone. I hit the gas and drove away as fast as possible.” According to him, the youth clearly mistook them for Jews: “Me and my wife look Jewish, even the police officer who arrived said ‘at first sight I was sure you were Jews.")

Then there are other Arab-on-Arab lynchings, like this one:

They had been "caught red-handed," working for Israel, and so were executed.
According to the Associated Press, who also photographed the grisly spectacle, masked Hamas gunmen had forced the six men suspected of collaborating with Israel to lie face down on the street, then shot them dead. Later, while an angry mob stomped and spat on five of the bodies, the sixth was tied to the back of a motorcycle. “Spy! Spy!” the people screamed as the corpse was dragged off.

There are websites where one can find accounts of these lynchings that ended in death. All you need is to look for them.

But I think in view of these records  we will be justified in puckering our brow at Prof. As'ad AbuKhalil's manner of reporting gory near-murders and lynches. And we may wish to ask the respectable Professor who teaches young Americans at a bona fide good university in the US:

Why does he claim that "Israelis habitually lynch Arabs," when the record shows that it is Palestinians who seem to be unable to resist lynch-mobbing lusts?

Why does he belittle the serious near-lynching of Israeli journalists when not too long ago he referred to a violent clash among youths as a lynching, and extrapolated from this lie that Israel is in the habit of lynching Arabs?

One would be forgiven for concluding that for the venerable, justice-loving professor, it is almost as if the murder of an Israeli Jew is a normal occurrence, only to be expected, nothing to be exercised about.  His justice juices begin to flow furiously only when an Arab is killed (or almost killed) by a Jew.

He has no inclination for law and justice when Palestinians are summarily lynched for the suspicion of collaborating with Israel:

According to the West, those collaborators should be respected and their freedom of movement ensured because such are the rules of Western freedom of expression.  I can say this: Palestinian treatment of collaborators over the years has been far less brutal and indiscriminate than French resistance treatment of Nazi collaborators.  There is no question about that."

So we see a professor who is in charge of forming the minds of future generations of Americans, promoting, on his well-attended website, distortions of historical, easily-verifiable records, perversions of notion of justice, contempt for human life, justifications for murder and valorization of gory revenge as a reasonable recourse of action.

Of course he is not a man of peace. As can be evidenced from the most cursory perusal of his "news" service. This is the man whom universities trust with educating the young. This is what a BDS mover and shaker looks and sounds like.

Make no mistake: The BDS movement reflects this man's values. 

He tries, here, to put some distance between himself and the BDS movement, as if it does not go far enough:

"I count myself as BDS supporter, advocate, and even spokesperson but I am categorically against the existence of the State of Israel"

However, as we see from the quote he provides from Norman Finkelstein  he is fully aware that there is no light between his position and that of BDS:

"... the BDS movement “think they are really clever” by covering up their real intentions when they call for a “three-tier” agenda of ending the occupation, demanding the right of return for all Palestinian refugees and equal rights for all Arabs in Israel. “You know and I know what the result is. There is no Israel!” he said."

" I am categorically against the existence of the State of Israel", says the self-proclaimed
"BDS supporter, advocate, and even spokesperson". Which is exactly what Finkelstein claims is the goal of the BDS movement: "There is no Israel!” 

It all hangs together, the subhumanization of Israelis and the avowal to have Israel eradicated.
People who support BDS should know what it is they are supporting.