Friday, January 29, 2010

Israeli Jewish racism (update 1): Genocidal languages

When German Chacellor Angela Merkel spoke before the Knesset on March 18, 2008, MK Arye Eldad, from the National Union-National Religious Party, left the plenum in disconformity. His objection? Merkel was addressing the Israeli parliament in her mother tongue -- German. As Eldad explained to the media:

"The last words my family heard were in German, and those were the orders to shoot them," Eldad said. "My protest is against the State of Israel and the Knesset, who invited her to make an address inside [the Knesset] when protocol does not require it."

Eldad's account may or may not be accurate (lots of Jews were executed by Ukrainians or Lithuanians), but what does it matter? The important thing is the symbolic significance of his unsourced statement. Very much like Misha DeFonseca or Benjamin Wilkomirski or Herman Rosenblat -- who are we to laugh at their fake Holocaust experiences? I mean, after all they went through, does it really matter it was a fabrication?

Joining in Eldad's protest was Shelly Yacimovich, from Labor:

Yacimovich said that while Merkel was a true friend to Israel, "allowing her to speak in German in the Israeli Knesset is utterly insensitive to Holocaust survivors. Germany is our ally, but in our generation we must respect the wounded psyches of survivors."

At first glance this would seem to be nonsense, and one would be tempted to point out that while survivors deserve respect and a just treatment --such as Germany, though not Israel, grants them--, they should not hold all speakers of a language hostage. Upon deeper analysis, however, one realizes that German's compound words, separable verbs and mixed vowels indeed arouse in the speaker the desire to commit genocide. Particularly guilty is the umlaut sign (¨), not coincidentally also present in Turkish. (Spanish also uses it, but nowhere as frequently; that would explain why the Inquisition killed far less people than the Holocaust or the Armenian genocide.)

Against that backdrop, Israeli Arab student Hanin Muslah committed an even worse crime than Angela Merkel. While on an Israeli bus, she spoke Arabic. Yes, Arabic -- the language in which the Mufti of Jerusalem instructed the Germans to start the Final Solution. Ynet reports:

Muslah, who is originally from the Wadi Ara area and is studying for a degree in engineering at the establishment's architecture and interior design department, said two armed security guards boarded the bus near a checkpoint as it was leaving Ariel. She claimed that the guards questioned her after hearing her speak Arabic and eventually ordered her to get off the bus.

"As I was talking on my cell I noticed they were pointing at me," said Muslah, who takes the same bus home every day. "I started to cry. I have never been so humiliated in my entire life. They took me off the bus in the middle of nowhere. I told them, 'I'm an Israeli, just like you are, so why are you treating me like this? Why take me off the bus in such a degrading manner?'"

Ms. Muslah is wrong. She is Israeli, but the guards are Jewish, i.e., much more Israeli than her. The Israelis' concept of equality is the same as that of the pigs in Animal farm. (Will I ever be able to criticize Zionism without using antisemitic, dehumanizing, and, worst of all, treif imagery?)

The Dhimmi status of Arabs in Israel is further confirmed by the following remarkable statement:

"I don't wear a veil or traditional dresses; I don’t look Arab," said the student, "I was taken off the bus only because I spoke Arabic."

Somewhat pathetically, this young woman is implying that, had she worn a veil, taking her off the bus would have been OK. I did my homework, she seems to complain, to have the "right" looks. Can't I be forgiven if I speak Arabic with my mom on the cell?

Ehm, no, Ms. Muslah, you can't. You're a second-class citizen. You'll be tolerated on buses and even in classrooms, but the moment you get assertive about your Arab identity, the system will make sure that you don't get away with it.

Later on in life you'll discover that however Western the clothes you wear, and however polished the Hebrew you speak, your job application will be dismissed as soon as your prospective Jewish employer reaches the line in your résumé that says, "Name." Welcome to Zionism, Ms. Muslah.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Letters to a Zionist friend (4): From blood libeler to reliable witness

OK, at last your insistence has borne fruit and I've watched that video you wanted me to check out:

This is a phone interview with Talal Abu Rahma, a Palestinian journo in Gaza, done during operation Cast Lead. In it, Rahma reports that Hamas members have gone undercover and that he hasn't seen any of them on the streets in the past couple of days. You claim this is the definitive proof that Hamas "hid among civilians," which clears Israel of responsibility for any civilian deaths.

A few questions arise, though. Any Jew reporting Israeli atrocities (the Breaking the Silence soldiers, for instance) is a self-hater according to you: can't there be self-haters among Palestinians? Or more likely still: isn't it possible that Rahma is a Fatah supporter aiming to tarnish Hamas? An examination of Rahma's reporting record is in order.

And our readers won't believe what pops up in the Google search. Mr. Rahma is none other than the journalist who first blamed Israel for the murder of the Palestinian boy Mohammed al-Durrah in October 2000. As was reported at the time:

"They were cleaning the area. Of course they saw the father," says Talal Abu-Rama, the camera man who watched the horror unfold. "They were aiming at the boy, and that is what surprised me, yes, because they were shooting at him, not only one time, but many times."
Now it's not like you've never given your opinion on Mr. Rahma. On the contrary, you've described all people who charged Israel with that murder as antisemites who engaged in the centuries-old blood-libel that Jews murder babies. So if that opinion of yours is sincere, quoting Rahma would be akin to quoting David Irving, David Duke or other certified Jew-haters.

The fact that you yourself are, nevertheless, peddling a video that quotes Rahma proves that you don't believe that accusing Israeli soldiers of having murdered al-Durrah on purpose is by itself a blood libel. We actually don't know what exactly happened that day in Gaza, but that an Israeli soldier or group of soldiers took aim at the child and killed him (out of "bad-appleness," not policy) belongs to the realm of the possible, and any analogy between that speculation and an antisemitic medieval myth is simply yet one more instance of Zionist bad faith.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Selectively believing Mahmoud

In an article titled I believe Ahmadinejad, former Israel Air Force top officer Aviam Sela, the architect of the 1981 bombing of Iraq's nuclear facility at Osirik, deploys the umpteenth version of an already familiar Zionist analogy: Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is Hitler; those who appease or try to negotiate with him are Chamberlain; and if Iran is not bombed the result will be another Holocaust. In his own words:

As was the case then, now too the Jewish people and enlightened nations are facing a dictator, this time an Iranian one, who keeps on declaring that the people of Israel have no right to exist. Or simply put, he says that the entity known as the State of Israel has to be eliminated, along with its Jewish citizens of course.
This paragraph contains truths --for instance, that Ahmadinejad is a dictator--, but it also contains a considerable amount of distortion.

Did Mahmoud talk about eliminating Israel? His actual words were "the Zionist regime," which is not quite the same. I recall when on June 1, 2001, the Nepalese royal family were mowed down in unclear circumstances. That certainly annihilated Nepal's monarchical regime, but it didn't obliterate the state of Nepal or the Nepalese people. Zionism, like monarchy, or apartheid, is a political system, not a country or an ethnic group.

But let us assume, for the sake of argument, that my antisemitism prevents me from realizing that when Ahmadinejad says Zionist regime he means Israel. Did he make any reference to its Jewish citizens? No; his speech did not contain the word "Jewish." So why does Sela suggest that he's singling out the Jewish population of Israel for elimination? That can't be inferred from any of the dictator's words.

Sela further muddies the waters by (again, incorrectly) claiming:

Hitler, just like Iran’s Ahmadinejad when he speaks of the State of Israel, presented a clear position whereby those born Jewish have no place on earth.
One would expect a former top officer from the IAF to be more rigorous in his interpretations. Iran's president has never presented a position that Jews have no place on earth. In fact, he has systematically endorsed the right of some 15,000 Jews to have a place on earth in the city of -- Teheran.

But another question worth raising is whether Ahmadinejad ever said that Iran itself will take care of eliminating the Zionist regime, the state of Israel, the world Jewry or whatever Sela chooses to interpret when he wakes up in the morning. It is not the same to say "John Doe needs to be killed" as to assert "I will kill John Doe," especially when people who combine both the will and the ability to murder Mr. Doe are not exactly in large supply. In other words, wishing for something horrible to happen to someone is itself horrible, but until you decide to harm that person yourself your horrible thoughts are basically irrelevant (unless you can have someone else do the task, which is clearly not the case here).

It would help a lot if Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had ever clarified if he meant that Iran would work towards the elimination of the Zionist regime or he was just talking rhetorically.

Well, actually he did.

In July 2008, the Presidency of The Islamic Republic of Iran News Service reported:

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that the Zionist regime is inherently doomed to annihilation and there is no need for Iranians to take action.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of D8 summit in Malaysia, he said the Zionists themselves are well aware of the fact that their time is over.

"They label us as aggressors but this is a big lie because the Iranian nation throughout the history never attacked any nation," he said.
So if Sela's analogy is sound, surely we'll be able to find a Hitler speech in which he clarifies that Nazi Germany won't take action against the Jews, won't we?

Of course, we can revert to the theory that Ahmadinejad is a clown, but then why should we take some of his words seriously and some others not?

But the icing on the cake is Sela's proposed remedy to this impending Holocaust:

In retrospect, we can present today the lessons and conclusions we should have drawn back then, before the Munich Conference and before 1939. Had we had our own state back then, we would have expected its leaders to take the required decision and curb the process undertaken by Adolf Hitler. We would have expected the decision to thwart the threat.

The government of Israel took such decision, according to foreign reports, after it decided to prevent the killers of our 11 athletes in the Munich Olympics from undertaking another such massacre. By doing so, the State of Israel created the right kind of monument for our murdered athletes. The living monument of those who hurt us and are no longer alive is the most important testament to our continuing lives here rather than the embarrassing monument at the outskirts of Munich.
By now almost everyone, and certainly Mr. Sela, is aware that in its campaign to avenge the deaths of the 11 athletes, Israel "collateraly" murdered completely innocent civilian Ahmed Bouchiki, a Moroccan waiter and the brother of Gipsy Kings musician Chico Bouchiki, whom they mistook for the Black September terrorist Ali Hassan Salameh at the Norwegian resort of Lillehammer.

So what Sela is advocating is more Israeli actions outside of the rule of law, with no regard for possible non-Jewish collateral deaths, in line with Rabbi Yaacov Perrin's ruling that one million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.

Indeed there are guys around making scary threats, but we should first be concerned with those whose threats are credible, of whom Mr. Sela provides an excellent example.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sderot residents: "We want the Qassams back"

You would think Israel cares a lot for Sderot. After all, its soldiers sacrificed life and limb, or at least a few thousand white phosphorus shells, to make the place safe from Palestinian rockets in operation Cast Lead. They didn't want to, but in the end there was no other option than to wipe out 1,400 terrorists, between men, men dressed up as women, women who allowed men to dress up like them, and children who might have grown up to kill Jews. You would think it was all done for Sderot's sake.

Think again. In a story titled Sderot plagued with welfare crisis, Ynet reports that, now that the rockets are over, the true face of Sderot as an impoverished and neglected community of mostly Mizrachi resdidents has emerged. Director of social services in the Sderot Municipality Yigal Levy is very candid about the origins of the city's current troubles:

Over 4000 families are currently being treated by social services in Sderot. Out of all applications this year, 40% were new applications and some 20% of those were related to bank debts and foreclosure threats. The municipality finds itself unable to attend to all of the new problems as a result of a drop in grant funds.

"The number of applications has risen, but our ability to address them has dropped by 50%," Levy complained. "The government saved people from the Qassams, but now no one really cares."
An indebted resident feels virtually helpless:

"Suddenly when it's calm and there are no more Qassams, they've threatened to take away my house. During the operation everyone was considerate. (...)

As long as the operation lasted no one approached me and I could live in peace, at least in that respect. My debt isn't that high, I'm trying to pay it off and still they threatened to evict me…I always felt that we were abandoned here, but now I feel it even more," he said.
But most striking is his actual longing for the days when the rockets poured down on the town, "bringing unspeakable pain to the population and leaving them mentally scarred forever":

Sometimes I think, to hell with it - bring on the Qassams. It'll solve my problems with the bank and I'll get to keep the roof over my head[.]
Yes, firing those rockets against a civilian population center was a crime against humanity on Hamas' part, which can't be overlooked or forgiven. But no matter what the intentions were, the actual harm inflicted can't be disregarded either. Any equivalence between the low-level damage suffered by Sderot and the carnage visited on Gaza is immoral and should be denounced by intellectuals as a monstrously dishonest debating device.