April 27, 2012

"Peddling" the Palestinian cause

We have seen and heard too much of this. One occasion is illustrated by the following, courtesy of MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, without whom we would continue to be in greater ignorance as to what is being said in Arabic, so often different from what we are told in English.

MEMRI is called a "tool" of Israel by many who "peddle" the Palestinian cause, but rebuttals to the substance of what is being communicated are rarely, if ever, heard. As if what is being said does not matter in the least. It comes from MEMRI and that is all that counts. This way of looking at things escapes me. 

Now to the story, and a brief comment afterwards. .

Faysal Al-Qassem: A Gazillion Times More Syrians than Palestinians Have Been Killed

Following are excerpts from an interchange between Al-Jazeera TV host Faysal Al-Qassem and Lebanese journalist Salem Zahran, on a program that aired on April 10, 2012 :
Faysal Al-Qassem : How do you account for this denial? The Syrian media give you the impression that nothing is happening there. The Syrian people are concerned only with barbeques, and they all hang out in the parks. Today, Syrian TV has run programs on the massacre of Deir Yassin in Palestine, at a time when the Syrian people is being massacred in Idlib, in Deir Al-Zour, in Homs, and in Hama. By God, how can you make a mockery of the people this way? Is this the time to be talking about the massacres in Palestine, when the Syrian people is being massacred in all the towns…
Salem Zahran : No, Dr. Faysal
Faysal Al-Qassem : How do you respond to this denial? Go ahead.
Salem Zahran : First of all, it's beneath your dignity not to talk about Deir Yassin…
Faysal Al-Qassem : Just answer the question, don't give me a lesson in morals. I'm asking you a question, so answer it!
Salem Zahran : Just a moment
Firstly, it's an honor for Syria and its media to deal with the Deir Yassin massacre…
Faysal Al-Qassem : What about the massacres of Deir Al-Zour, Hama, and Idlib? Thousands are being massacred on a daily basis. Who are you kidding?
Salem Zahran : The Deir Yassin massacre is part of our history and heritage. Palestinian blood is our blood.
Faysal Al-Qassem : What about the Deir Al-Zour massacre?
Salem Zahran : Don't interrupt me.
Faysal Al-Qassem : What about the massacres of Deir Al-Zour and Idlib? People are being salvaged from the rubble, and you direct your camera at Deir Yassin?!
Salem Zahran : When you're done, let me know.
Faysal Al-Qassem : Go ahead.
Salem Zahran : First of all, Palestinian blood is our blood.
Faysal Al-Qassem : It's the same old record: "Palestinian blood." What about the Syrian blood?
Salem Zahran : You should not disparage our history, our heritage, and our culture. We've lived for Palestine, and we will die for Palestine.
Faysal Al-Qassem : And you are also "peddling" the Palestinian cause.
Salem Zahran : Don't interrupt me or I won't talk.
Faysal Al-Qassem : Is this the time to be talking about Palestine? A gazillion times more Syrians than Palestinians have been killed.
Salem Zahran : You make tens of thousands of dollars in Doha, so you don't care about Palestine. But for us, Palestine is the frontier, the land of return, the main cause. All the rest are trivial details…
Faysal Al-Qassem : Right, hundreds of thousands dead and homeless are trivial…
Salem Zahran : Palestine is the main cause, and the Syrian media should be commended for mentioning Palestine. We will not make Palestine disappear for the sake of anything else. Dr. Faysal, I didn't think you would fall into such errors…
Faysal Al-Qassem : Call me a traitor and a collaborator. Anyone who doesn't believe your lies is a collaborator. […]
The loaded clip does not run, but can be found here.

"Peddling" is standard fare for many Arabs to deflect that Arabs cause more Palestinian people to suffer than Israel does. This type of "concern," exposed by the TV host as a ruse, is too easily promoted with the adoption of the Palestinian narrative as a form of incontrovertible truth.

I see the deception in how Palestinian refugees are treated compared to international refugees, particularly by their brethren. Why does collective "right of return" cancel the individual's right not to return, but resettle? I think many Palestinians would choose the path to live anywhere in the Arab world, like any other Arab may, according to my understanding. This would allow them to exercise their rights and decrease those who wish to return to Israel.

Many that violate human rights, and others, want to get rid of Israel and Jews, for essentially religious or ideological reasons. Here again "peddling" occurs, to obscure negative intentions, under the guise of self-determination and human dignity, while most Palestinians are denied agency to choose or take responsibility.

These situations are not hard to connect when one is able to step away from the singular narrative as the only truth. Stepping away can be difficult, particularly when a one sided consensus predominates a group and creates an echo chamber where ideas are not rigorously tested against each other. Without honest and deliberative discourse, the quality of analysis is average, and leads to poor decision making where democratic Western values ultimately pay the price.

April 24, 2012

Progressive Zionists and the Chilling of Intellectual Expression

Another excellent post over at Israel Thrives about Progressive Zionists, asking what do they stand for? Where I sadly concur is with the following:
But perhaps the worst disservice that progressive-left Jews do to their fellow Jews is in the stifling of discussion and debate. Because progressive Jews have absorbed much of the Palestinian narrative, they find all sorts of topics verboten.
They won't discuss the centuries of Jewish dhimmitude under the boot of Islamic imperialism. They won't discuss the recent construction of Palestinian identity, its connection to Soviet Cold War politics, and how this is an Arab people with a Roman name that refers to Greeks. They won't discuss Arab and Palestinian Koranically-based racism as the fundamental source of the conflict. They won't discuss the Palestinian theft and appropriation of Jewish history. They won't discuss "Pallywood." They won't discuss the historical connections between the Nazis, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Palestinian national movement. They won't discuss the perpetual refusal of the Palestinian-Arabs to accept a state for themselves in peace next to the Jewish one. They won't discuss the Arab-Palestinian indoctrination of children with Jew hatred. And they won't discuss Human rights violations against women, children, and Gay people in the Muslim Middle East. And they would much rather discuss the virtually non-existent white supremacist threat over the real threat of the rise of radical Islam throughout the Muslim world under the false banner of "Arab Spring."
I have been planning to write about a recent study, The Corrupting Effect of Political Activism in the University of California, by the California Association of Scholars, that illustrates, among other things, how one sided intolerance results from what is an activist approach, rather than a scholarly approach, to learning about controversial issues.

This helps explain why the narrative of the anti-Israeli proponents and many Progressive Zionists is disproportionately Palestinian to the exclusion of others. The activist desires social "justice" for the oppressed and includes an expectation that disadvantaged groups have the right not to be offended (except for Jews) in the educational and political landscape. It allows for reaction to ordinary insults and disagreeable opinions to be classified as intolerable acts of bigotry.

But it gets worse. According to the report, activist politics, "sharply lowers the quality of academic teaching, analysis, and research," and results in "troubling deficiencies" in student knowledge and achievement, "an inevitable consequence of any substantial influence of radical politics in academia, because its characteristic interests and modes of thought are the very antithesis of those that should prevail in academic life."

The report maintains that colleges are the primary breeding ground in the USA for anti-Western and anti-Zionist values to take hold, as compared to other institutions where a different orientation prevails. Not to mention, when one half of the spectrum of political thought is virtually missing in action, how can the education itself be considered competent?

John Stuart Mill famously said: "He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that." Can we really understand the case for one side without thoroughly grasping the case for the other side? Each answers and helps define the other.

Here, the result is that many students are woefully uniformed in terms of issues like the Arab-Israeli conflict, US and Western civilization, and matters of domestic and international affairs. Instead, there is reliance on a singular ideological narrative, full of holes, where true believers attempt to outdo one another to prove bona fides, as those that dare to scrutinize the dogma are stigmatized.

My view is that Progressive-Zionists will have to resolve the competition between the two competing interests. It seems they are so afraid of doing something wrong that they cannot act in furtherance of what is right.

April 15, 2012

The topic of "Humanitarian Racism"

Over at Israel Thrives, the topic of humanitarian racism is under discussion. It is an important topic for several reasons. Racism should not be tolerated in any form.

Those who loudly proclaim to be "anti-racist" should not practice racism under the guise of acting as humanitarians or proponents of human rights. One need only examine the Durban Conference in September, 2001, and particularly the NGO Forum, to understand. Read about Durban here. Check out the narrative of Tom Lantos here. Look at some photos here. The photos below say it better than anything.



This from "humanitarians," no less.

As was mentioned in the Israel Thrives post, Manfred Gerstenfeld addresses contemporary humanitarian racism head on. The humanitarian racist considers that the non-white or weak cannot be held responsible for their acts, even if they commit major crimes. Humanitarian racists also deny the existence of racism among people of color. He quotes Ayaan Hirsi Ali:
“I studied social work for a year in the Netherlands. Our teachers taught us to look with different eyes toward the immigrant and the foreigner. They thought racism was a phenomenon that only appears among whites. My family in Somalia, however, educated me as a racist and told me that we Muslims were very superior to the Christian Kenyans. My mother thinks they are half-monkeys.”
Her foundation to protect and defend the rights of women in the West from oppression justified by religion and culture is here.

The underlying views of humanitarian racists are welcome in mainstream media and prevalent among the intelligentsia, who happen to disproportionately identify as progressive or Left. Regarding Israel, this comes out through the almost complete acceptance of the Palestinian narrative and its many falsehoods, its continuous promotion that Palestinians are purely victims and not also perpetrators of criminal acts. By adopting such a skewed and intellectually crude perception of reality, humanitarian racists have become supporters, allies and enablers of the worst Palestinian behavior.

Despite what else one may be, to consider Palestinians responsible for their criminal acts and aggression, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, like any human being should similarly be responsible, is not racist at all, humanitarian or otherwise. Except if one trends into Orwellian territory that "humanitarian" racists generally occupy.