Friday, March 07, 2008


All That Stuff Hillel Said ...

While too many Palestinians, in cheering for the recent murders in Jerusalem have demonstrated themselves to be truly on the side of evil and perhaps one could argue that liberal moonbats like me are naive, let's be careful not to be carried away.

I have read, circulating via e-mails, some kinda disturbing stuff about the inhumanity of Palestinians. Certainly too many Palestinians are acting in an inhumane manner -- but the question is, how is that different than maybe not so many but still too many Jews act when Palestinians get caught in the cross-fire of counter-productive Israeli "responses" to attacks on Israel(*)? I know, there is a difference here: Israeli actions are at least within the context of a legitimate, if perhaps disproportionate and wrong-headed military response while terrorism is terrorism ...

... but still, isn't the whole problem that too many Palestinians do not view Israeli Jews as human? Isn't that how "they are like Hitler"? Well, when we Jews start viewing Palestinians as un-human, aren't we merely doing what we criticize others for doing? Whatever happened to "do not do unto others what you would have them not do unto you"? Nu? even if the Middle East is filled with non-humans, what of "In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man."?

Pehraps this is too soon (or maybe not: "if not now, when?"). But what do we say as Jews as we morn? We say the Kaddish which asks not for vengeance, not even for justice and certainly does not eulogize the dead, but rather asks God to establish the Messianic Kingdom, "swiftly and soon".

So while Israel should and indeed must respond to such horrid attacks and we must remember the degree to which radicalized Palestinians do represent a threat to Israel (**), we must not, even now -- "if not now, when?" -- abandon our humanity, for to do so would simply grant Hamas a final victory of being right about our humanity.

* how did Israel's show of "strength" and "resolve" help the Yeshiva Bochers recently killed?

** many liberals forget that part of the indefensiveness of apartheid was that the alternative clearly would not, e.g., result in a massacre of whites. When the most radical terrorist/"freedom fighter" is Nelson "the Teddy Bear" Mandela, it's hard to justify fear of a backlash ... OTOH, Israelis have much to fear from the Palestinian side. Some moonbats may dismiss this reasoning as victim blaming, but it really is the case that if the Palestinians were led by the likes of Nehru and Gandhi, they'd have a state by now (***) ... which makes the Palestinian cause less morally defensible for the same reason (and more extremely so) that Israeli "responses" are less morally defensible: if you could have had as much or more success without hurting so many people, it's wrong to have done things with such violence!

To criticize Israel for their disproportionate responses to violence without similar criticism of the Palestinians is frankly an outrageous double standard -- although it is not always just anti-Semitic. Sometimes lurking beneath the surface is a very anti-Arab racist attitude of "those Jews should know better, but maybe the Palestinians, poor victims, don't know better".

*** and not just because you attract more flies with honey than vinegar, as my dad always says, but also because if the Palestinians actually built a functioning state like Nehru and Gandhi built India, then recognition of Palestinian independence would be such a non-event anyway as there would be a de facto state of Palestine, that even the most ardent of Revisionist Zionists wouldn't care! ...

(Update) ... OTOH (wow! we Jews really do have a lot of hands!), c.f. the old joke:

A schnorrer goes to Rothschild's house and raises such a ruckus that Rothschild himself comes out and gives the schnorrer a mark saying "you've got your money, you best go ... and you know, if you didn't raise such a ruckus, I woulda given you two marks". The schnorrer replies "look Rothschild -- I'm not a banker and I don't give you banking advice ... you're obviously not a schnorrer so please don't give me schnorring advice".

We Jews seem to have lost a key aspect of our temperament (which is, as far as classical Zionism is concerned, not a bug, but a feature) and that is what must have at one time been called our "special Jewish genius": we simply aren't as clever as we used to be -- now we wonder how come those Palestinians do what they do? In the past we might not have been happy about it, but we would have understood better and hence been more clever about our responses.

Anyway, sometimes I feel like someone has to come in to the ME and be a parent (call me a neo-con here). And what do parents do? Do they take sides? Even if they know one side is right in claiming s/he owns the toy or whatever is in dispute, it gets taken away from both sides until they can play nicely. Zionist-nationalists and Hamas-ites alike should be glad they are not getting the "go to your rooms treatment": otherwise Israel would be told to go to its corner of the room (pre-1967 borders or some such) and the Palestinians to theirs (some small subset of the West-Bank and Gaza strip) with the rest of the land completely left depopulated. Is that what people want?

I know ... the Hamas-ites claim that there is no "your room" for Israelis. But a parent would say "well, that's what you claim, I claim otherwise" and punish the kid for lip. Is that what people want?

People might wine and complain about what's fair or not, but what would your parents say about that?

One of the more pernicious aspects of a decades long standoff is that it strengthens not only the more militant, the situation that is produced seems to change the environment so there is a competitive need for those who want power on the respective sides to demonstrate to their side that they are the more militant. Those who seek to rule over the two sides can gain power by appealing to the increasing view of the respective populations that they are hard done by and can't get justice except by increased violence and intransigence.

I've come to think that it will take a radical change in the situation to force that spiral to the bottom and then the lowest point of the bottom to make an effective plurality or majority of the population give up this mind set. The violence in the Israeli-Palestinian situation certainly hasn't produced more justice on either side, it has prevented instead of produced it. I think that part of the problem is also the definition of justice which might put absolute versions of it over the need for people to live a decent daily life that can be realistically obtained in the possible future instead of the impossible unrealistic future.

The role played by outside countries that don't have to live there hasn't produced much that helps.
Yikes, this sentence gives the opposite impression of what I intended.

I've come to think that it will have to be changed to MAKEa radical change altering the situation that forces that spiral to the bottom and then the lowest point of the bottom to....
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