Monday, August 01, 2005

More about that racist card

I am hereby amending this post to refer not just to charges of racism, but to include charges of being against a certain culture, ethnicity, group, or people. I wouldn't want my remarks to be limited only to those who use the word "racist"--after all, there are other cards in the deck.

Here's a portion of a clarifying and expanding comment I made recently on that thread (and by the words "behind suicide bombing" I don't mean they are actually plotting with the bombers or giving them money, I mean they support them ideologically):

The majority of Palestinians, as many commenters here have pointed out, are behind suicide bombing and would fervently like Israel to disappear and all the evil Jews to die. The best evidence is that this is not a minority opinion, it's a majority opinion. I do not think there is a culture on the face of the earth today more devoted to rage, death, destruction, and yes--racism and prejudice, including despising blacks, and promoting the most virulent form of anti-Semitism on the face of the earth today--than the Palestinians at this point. They are not even ashamed or covert about the anti-Semitism part of it; they glorify in it and celebrate it.

So, every time I or someone else mentions this, do I need to put in a sort of legal disclaimer that says, "Of course there is some minority percentage of Palestinians who don't feel this way? Who are mostly silent and powerless, and afraid to speak? Who in fact would be killed if they voiced this opinion?"

No doubt the same was true of the Germans, too, in WWII. But when a certain ethos and belief system is the dominant one in a culture, I don't feel we need to make that disclaimer every time. Those who keep requiring that we do so, in my opinion, are deflecting the issue and closing their eyes to the sad and painful truth about this particular group of people at this point in time.


At 12:09 PM, August 01, 2005, Blogger goesh said...

As a people, they are horrific. I recall the incident where a couple of Israeli's got lost in the wrong part of town and were apprehended by palestinian police. A mob then broke in and literally butchered them and the one animal was photographed waving his bloody hands out a window while a mob celebrated below. Not long after this, they targeted a yellow school bus with mortars and then the homicide bombing started in full force. And who could forget the wedding reception that got hit, or the ice cream parlor full of women and kids that got bombed, or the disco full of teens? Savage animals need to be treated as such. There will be no palestinian state built on the dead bodies of women and children in ice cream parlors. Not now, not never.

At 3:55 PM, August 01, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Until the Palestinians establish a consistent set of laws and enforce them equally (whether Arab,Jew or other)they will be regarded as nothing more than an unruly horde.
Goesh re-opened the memory of a horrific image which I recall that literally made the hair on my neck stand erect. We have to ask ourselves, do Palestinians really want to join the world community as a peaceful independent nation? I am not convinced.

At 4:09 PM, August 01, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since comparisons with Germany and German attitudes during the Nazi era came up repeatedly in this and the previous related discussion, and since I am German, I would like to add another aspect to the -- as I see it, largely apt - analogies.

As a de facto punishment for WWII, Germany was stripped of roughly the eastern 20 per cent of its internationally recognized pre-war territory, which was then attached to Poland (to an extent as compensation for Stalin's land grab in eastern Poland). Eastern Prussia, Outer Pommerania, Silesia, for those to whom those terms mean anything.

My grandparents on my father's side suffered the full impact of this when they were driven out of Silesia in 1946/47. The events of those days were a constant theme in my grandmother's tales which I listened to all through my childhood (I was born 1962).

What was done to Germany and Germans at the time was very likely illegal already back then. However, I always felt that it was just -- or at least not unjust -- in a larger sense. Historical justice. (Or shall we even go beyond that?) As a nation, you just can't unleash destruction on such a scale as did Nazi Germany and then, once it's over, expect not to pay a price, expect perfect justice for yourself.

What's my point in this present debate with its Near Eastern focus?

Well, if the territorial loss Germany suffered as a consequence of WWII can indeed be regarded as justifiable (as it largely is, here and abroad), it could very well be argued that Israel has every right to permanently annex the territories it has occupied since 1967.

Germany suffered its territorial loss to Poland as retribution for one devastating aggression in which it tried to wipe out a national identity -- though not physically exterminate the Polish people (unlike the European Jews). The Palestinians in conjunction with their Arab brethren, on the other hand, until 1967 tried to destroy Israel three times. Plus, it makes sense to assume that (a) in 1973, in case of success, the Arabs would also have marched on to the sea and not have contented themselves with liberating the West Bank and Gaza, (b) that on all four occasions (1948, 1956, 1967, 1973) the Palestinians/Arabs would have gone not only for the destruction of the state of Israel, but for the killing of Jews per se.

If the situation is regarded through the prism of the German precedent, Israel can be seen as having every moral right to annex the occupied territories and expel the hostile populations.

I'm not necessarily advocating such a policy -- which in the present environment is completely unrealistic anyway. However, I'm saying that it would be arguable and defensible.

Michael Herzog

At 5:39 PM, August 01, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I’m the original anonymous who posted the “anti-Arab propaganda” comment. I’m taking your advise, so you can call me Huck.

First let me say that I am a fan of your blog, despite disagreeing often with what you write. I like the “how a mind changes” premise. I chose the name Huck because I love how Huck Finn is able to change his mind despite what Mark Twain called his “deformed conscience.”

I realize that using the phrase “anti-Arab propaganda” does generalize, so in a sense I’m guilty of what I’ve been criticizing. I thought of writing “anti-Palestinian propaganda” but considering a few facts, I thought “anti-Arab propaganda” would be the right choice. Palestinians are Arabs, their fellow Arabs often refer to them as Arabs and not Palestinians, and many Israelis call them Arabs exclusively, refusing to refer to them as Palestinians because that might somehow legitimize the whole concept of Palestine itself. But beyond all that, as I’ve followed your blog over the last several months, I’ve noticed a clear focus on Islamic terrorism and extremism. Since these spring from the Arab world, it made sense for me to view your comments and the comments that followed in the context of criticism of Arab culture in general. Maybe I was wrong. I’m willing to change my mind if convinced. Again, I don’t have a problem with criticizing the worst parts of any culture, but without putting those parts in the context of an entire culture, what I think we get is propaganda rather than analysis.

This whole thing reminds of these East Germans I met in Prague back in the 1980’s. I was the first American they had ever met. They wanted to know about the terrible problem with drug addiction in America, about all of the homeless people, about the intense oppression of African Americans, about the super-rich and the rest of us who were apparently all living in utter destitution. Their sense of American culture was so warped by partial truths about America they had been hearing for years. How we speak or what we know about Arabs, Arab culture, Palestinians, Palestinian culture can, I think, contribute to a similar kind of warping. I’ve found that most of us only know the horror stories and not much else.

Anyway, it’s been good to know that you’ve been reading my comments. I look forward to more of your posts.

At 8:27 PM, August 01, 2005, Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

I don't think Hitler ever got the amount of support that the Palestinians routinely give to destroying Israel. A reliable poll of public opinion in Germany in 1936 was not possible, but I doubt the percentage in favor of exterminating the Jews was higher than in "Palestine" right now.

It is quite possible that the Palestinians are measurably the most anti-semitic group of people that has ever existed.

It reminds me of Annie Dillard's book, A Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek. In it the author describes a butterfly which emerged from its cocoon improperly, and when its wings dried they were deformed. All the poor creature could do was walk around waving its beautiful but malformed wings ineffectively.


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