Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Israeli Jewish racism (update 2): Disposable citizens

Every few years an Israeli Jewish politician floats a test balloon. He puts forward the idea that the areas where the Arab citizens of Israel live should be transfered --complete with the citizens-- to the future Palestinian state in exchange for Jewish settlement blocks in the West Bank. Those areas are highly fertile lands in comparison with the alternative option for a territorial swap (an empty zone in the Negev); but to paraphrase Golda Meir, they hate the Arabs more than they love the land.

Formerly, it was extremist politicians that formulated the proposal. In the latest iteration, however, it was the Deputy Foreign Minister, the ineffable Danny Ayalon, who articulated it. As Ynet reports:

"Israeli Arabs will not lose anything by joining the Palestinian state. Instead of giving the Palestinians empty land in the Negev, we are offering them land full of residents, who will not have to leave their homes," said Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon in an interview to London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper published on Saturday.

Upon prompting from the reporter, Ayalon explained the philosophy behind the proposal:

When asked if he was referring to the concentration of Arab towns and villages known as the Triangle region, he said: "Yes. Why not? If the Arabs in Israel say they are proud of being Palestinian, why shouldn't they be proud of being part of the Palestinian state?

Please someone explain to Ayalon that if people who are proud of an identity had the duty to become part of the place where that identity is majoritarian, all Mormons around the world should relocate to Utah and, more to the point, all Jews around the world should emigrate to Israel. While I'm sure Ayalon would be delighted to see Argentinian Jews make aliyah en masse, I'm not so certain he would be happy with American Jews taking the same step. A Lobby-less Israel is as nightmarish a prospect as one full of returning Palestinian refugees.

By the way, I wonder what identity the Deputy FM thinks Israeli Arabs should be proud of. The country does not recognize an Israeli nationality; instead, it divides its citizens into up to six different national groups which have little in common. Hebrew could be an agglutinating factor, as is the case in other small countries like Estonia where the language defines the nation; but again, speaking the language means nothing to the State, to the point that lawmaker Ahmed Tibi, a fluent Hebrew speaker, will always be irrelevant because he's an Arab, while Avigdor Lieberman, a terrible Hebrew speaker, is the Foreign Minister.

Back on topic, what are the prospects for Ayalon's idea of disposing of Israeli Arabs? Not very bright indeed. The Arabs, plus the Ashkenazim who like to defend the fiction that Israel holds the moral high ground on blogs, constitute a solid majority that prevents (for the time being, at least) the project from bearing fruit. But if the project can't succeed, why does he wave it in the air?

When you're the majority and want to opress a minority, the easiest way is to let them know that their existence is provisional in the territory that you control. Israeli Arabs see that what was once the discourse of the most marginal elements in the society has now become mainstream; that what was once whispered is now unabashedly shouted; that the State is closing in on them with a growing arsenal of proposals to restrict their private property rights, to curtail their freedom of speech and conscience and even to "encourage" their emigration. It matters little that the projects are not enacted. The objective is that with each round of threats the Arabs will have to be thankful that the State deigned not to expel them this time.

Because this is not about ethnic cleansing; this is not about expulsion. This is about dhimmitude. This is about making sure that disposable citizens remain in that category.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How to (formerly) outrage a Zionist

It used to be that Zionists were outraged by the Palestinian practice of packing bombs with metal objects to cause maximum damage in suicide bombings. They would publish ghastly descriptions and pictures, like:

Front view of a pelvis imbedded with nails and metal fragments.

X-rays taken from victims of suicide bombings reveal pieces of metallic fragments embedded in their skin, muscles, organs and bones, says Dr. Michael Messing, who visited the victims of suicide bombings while at the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Suicide bombers pack their bombs with nails and other objects so even survivors of suicide bombings will suffer from the bomb's effects.

"They're trying to maximize the number of people they kill and injure," said Messing of the terrorists.

The accusation became an essential component of the demonization of Palestinians:

Those sadists who dip their hands in the blood of lynched reservists, who gouge out the eyes of two thirteen-year-old boys in a cave, who murder and mutilate an unarmed shepherd, who target a ten-month-old baby girl playing with her father, who fill their suicide bombs with flesh-tearing nails -or who cheer such abominations in the streets of Jenin or Ramallah are indeed egged on by words, and drunk on anti-Zionist venom.

That was the difference between them and civilized people; the Jews didn't do those things:

When have you last seen a Jew detonating bombs with nails blowimg gentiles to smithereens in the name of Moses?

Fast forward to 2009, the year that Argentinian Juan Martín del Potro won the US Tennis Open and South African Richard Goldstone wrote a damning report on the Israeli activities in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. While del Potro was crushing his rivals, Goldstone was busy finding facts. And among other things, he found what follows:

864. On 4 January 2009 the Israeli armed forces struck an ambulance in the Beit Lahia area with a flechette missile as it was attending a number of wounded persons who had been hit in an earlier attack. Those wounded in the first attack had also been hit by a flechette missile. As a result of the attack on the ambulance, one of the first-aid volunteers in the ambulance crew, Arafa Abd al-Dayem, suffered severe injuries. He died later the same afternoon.

865. The following day, as is the custom, the family set up condolence tents where family and friends would pay their respects and comfort the grieving relatives. The family home is in Izbat Beit Hanoun, a built-up area in the north-east corner of the Gaza strip. It is located between Jabaliyah and Beit Hanoun, about 3 kilometres from the border with Israel both to the north and to the east. Although the Israeli armed forces had entered Gaza at the time of the incident, in this area they remained on the Israeli side of the “Green Line” border. Two tents were set up – one for male visitors and one for female visitors. They were positioned at about ten metres from each other. The male tent was outside the house of IK/11. The tents were struck three times in two hours, again with flechette missiles.

866. The Mission spoke to several of the witnesses who had attended and survived the attacks on the condolence tents. The Mission noted the great pride Arafa Abd al-Dayem’s father had in his son and the deep sense of loss he clearly felt.

867. As regards the attacks on the condolence tents, witnesses stated that at around 7.30 a.m. on 5 January, the house of IK/11 was hit by a shell. The shell struck the fourth floor of the fivestorey building causing the roof to collapse.477 Three men at the gathering, including the father of the deceased, were slightly wounded and taken to the Kamal Idwan hospital in Beit Lahia for treatment. They returned to the house at around 8.15 a.m. where a decision was taken by the mourners to end the condolence ceremony for fear of further attacks.

868. The witness stated that at around 8.30 a.m. when the people were leaving the house of IK/11 and moving towards the women’s condolence tent, two flechette missiles struck within a few metres of the tent and less than half a minute apart. Around 20 to 30 persons assembled there were injured. The injured include a 13-year-old boy who received a flechette injury to the right side of his head and a 33-year-old man who sustained injuries to the chest and head, his body punctuated with little holes according to a witness who saw his corpse being prepared for burial. A 22-year-old man was wounded in the abdomen, the chest and the head. A 16-year-old boy sustained injuries to the head and the neck. A 26-year-old man sustained injuries to his chest, head and left leg. These five persons died of their injuries. Another 17 persons present at the scene, including 14 men, two children (aged 17 and 11) and one woman were injured.

869. RA/14, who survived the attack, still has several flechettes embedded in his body, including in his chest, and is unable to move freely without pain.(...)

877. The Mission notes that, during the condolence ceremony, flechette shells were fired in the vicinity of a large group of civilians, killing 5 and injuring more than 20. To consider the attacks indiscriminate would imply that there was a military objective underlying the attacks in the first place. The Mission has no information on which to base such a conclusion and notes the silence of the Israeli authorities on the incident.

Do you know what a flechette shell is? Here's some basic info:

A flechette shell is an antipersonnel weapon that contains ten to fourteen thousand 1 .5-inch steel darts which, as they are released from the canister, spread out in an arc that can reach a maximum width of about ninety-four yards.
Well, this looks dangerously close to a bomb packed with nails, doesn't it? If Israel uses it, it mustn't be illegal, God forbid. Now if this sadistic weapon is allowed by the laws of warfare, the only issue is whether it is used against combatants or not. Mourners at a tent that include a 13-year-old are not, in my book, combatants.

You will find thousands of refutations of the Goldstone report over the Internet, mostly hurling crude ad-hominem attacks at the author and calling into question his ability to investigate because he claimed someone was wearing a shirt when actually it was a T-shirt. When it comes to the war crimes themselves, however, the refuters suddenly go silent and point to the Israeli response, which in this case is

Recently, eight additional criminal investigations by the Military Police were ordered regarding matters more closely connected to "operational activities", including allegations of shooting towards civilians carrying white flags and directing flechette munitions towards civilians or civilian targets. Seven incidents that appear in the Goldstone report are currently under Military Police criminal investigation. In a typical Military Police investigation, evidence is taken from Palestinian and other complainants who may have witnessed the events. In such cases, the investigative office of the Military Police approaches the complainant to assist in contacting potential witnesses. For example, the investigative office of the Military Police has approached human rights NGO's for assistance regarding currently ongoing cases. Additionally, the investigative office of the Military Police has, via Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, approached the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to receive additional information regarding an incident where claims of use of human shields were raised. That incident remains under investigation.
Or, in plain English, "we're thinking out how to spin this, and we're having a hard time. We'll contact you when we come up with something."

In any event, please notice how the outrage at bombs filled with nails is quietly being dropped from Zionist discourse. If that army uses them, they can't be all that bad.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Dershowitz: A liar -- and an illiterate one at that

Not that the world needs me to expose Alan Dershowitz as a liar, but as a matter of fact I have. (More than once.) Now he's again at it on his Jerusalem Post blog, publishing one mendacious hatchet job after another targeting men and women of the Hebrew persuasion who still have a conscience, or, in Zio-parlance, self-hating Jews. Foremost among them, needless to say, is Richard Goldstone, whose report on the Israeli carnage in Gaza pointed to war crimes, with Israel's government failing to appoint an independent commission to investigate the charges.

In a recent piece, claims Dershowitz:

"He cannot possibly believe that Israel used the thousands of rockets that Hamas directed against its children as an excuse, or a cover, for its real goal, namely to kill as many Palestinian civilians as possible."
Of course, it would be outrageous if Goldstone believed that. But, once again, it's a lie. In the report, Goldstone claims that

what occurred in just over three  weeks at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 was a deliberately disproportionate  attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish  its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an  ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability.
Punishing, humiliating and terrorizing are not the same as killing. Dershowitz knows it, but prefers to transform an accusation that is made by Goldstone, but which is not outrageous, into another accusation that is outrageous, but not made by Goldstone. Sorry, Alan, we've caught you with your pants down again.

See also Jerry Haber's minutious destruction of Dershowitz's "response" to Goldstone, on which his blog article is based.

As an aside, I was amused to see that, according to Dershowitz,

Goldstone (...) refused to credit eyewitness reports published by refutable newspapers, and even admissions by Hamas leaders.

Well -- if the newspapers were "refutable," Goldstone was right not to credit their reports, wasn't he? A few hours after the article was published on Dershowitz's blog, a reader spotted the mistake and commented,

24  |   Arnold - Canada, Thursday Feb 04, 2010
Editing error: paragraph 5, line 4: should be "reputable" rather than "refutable".

The misspelling was corrected (but I preserved the cached version with the mistake here).

It's not the first time that Dershowitz struggles with the English language. A few months back he debated arch-Zionist hawk Melanie Philips over whether Obama adequately passes the loyalty (to Israel) test. Philips argued Obama is bent on Israel's destruction. Dershowitz's (correct, in this case) position was that Obama would eventually "see the light" (i.e. understand the power of the Jewish lobby) and back down from pressuring Israel. In that debate, the "civil rights champion" argued:

This is simply not the Barak Obama that I know and voted for. No one who fits this characterture would have gone to Sderot (...) No one who fits that characterture would have appointed Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State, Dennis Ross (...) as an advisor on Iran and Rahm Emanuel as his Chief of Staff.

Making charactertures of American presidents is indeed horrible. But I'm a linguist, and in my professionally distorted view, grotesquely misspeling the word caricature is even more horrible.

Dershowitz's trouble getting fairly common words straight may have cost him the book censorship he sought circa 2005. When the University of California Press was about to publish Norman Finkelstein's Beyond Chutzpah, a neat exposé of Dershowitz's bogus scholarship, Alan tried to stop the book from coming out by writing to California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the crucial paragraph, the expert appeals attorney warned:

I know that you will be interested in trying to prevent an impending scandal involving a decision by the University of California Press to publish a viciously anti-Semitic book by an author whose main audience consists of neo-Nazis in Germany and Austria. The book to which this is a sequel was characterized by two imminent historians as a modern-day version of the notorious czarist forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Of course, Gov. Schwarzenegger refused to censor the book. Among other factors, he must have taken into account that Finkelstein was slammed by imminent (i.e., soon-to-be, but not yet so) historians. If they had been eminent historians, who knows, maybe the book would have never seen the light of day.

Some people wonder how it is that Harvard continues to proudly display a professor who openly endorses crimes against humanity, such as torture or collective punishment. I, for my part, would be pleased to see the university fire Dershowitz on far simpler grounds -- his illiteracy.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The missing word in the dictionary

Among contrarian commenters at this and other anti-Zionist blogs I have recently noticed an increased use of the argument, "Judaism is not a race; therefore, Jews can't be racist, and Israel, which is the Jewish State, can't be a racist country." To me, this claim has always sounded similar to the one that Arabs can't be antisemitic because they themselves are semites. I.e., the superficial appearance of a word, its intuitive meaning, are taken to represent the actual concept involved in that word.

Now, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary,

Main Entry: rac·ism
Pronunciation: \ˈrā-ˌsi-zəm also -ˌshi-\
Function: noun
Date: 1933
1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
2 : racial prejudice or discrimination

It all boils down to the meaning of race. Which is:

Main Entry: 3race
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle French, generation, from Old Italian razza
Date: 1580
1 : a breeding stock of animals
2 a : a family, tribe, people, or nation belonging to the same stock b : a class or kind of people unified by shared interests, habits, or characteristics

As can be seen, there is a broader meaning to the word race than people usually think. We tend to only consider features that can be genetically passed on; but a community with shared interests can also be counted as a race.

Israel apologists tend to point out that Judaism is not a race by the criterion involved in defninition 2a. After all, Ashkenazis tend to be whitish, Sephardis tend to be brownish and the Ethiopian Beta Israel are outright black. True, but Judaism is above all a genetic concept, in that you're Jewish if your mother also is. In response to this, it is frequently claimed that you can join Judaism through conversion, and if you can join it it's not a race. Also true, but converts are asked to become fanatical subscribers to the myriad Jewish superstitions, which is not required of "genetical" Jews. These newcomers (which, anyway, are statistically almost irrelevant) become part of the Jewish race as per definition 2b above.

Some will still be unconvinced that Judaism is a race. But you can belong to a group that is not a race and still be racist. This happens in several layers in Israel. In the first place, Jewish groups hate each other. The Ashkenazim hate the Sephardim, the Sephardim hate the Ashkenazim (to the point of shouting "Hitler was right" at them), they both hate the Ethiopians, etc., with very specialized hates playing a particularly important role among the haredim (the Litvak hate Chabad, etc.). But all these groups are cemented by a common hate of the Arabs (do I have to clarify that this is a statistical statement, that allows for numerous individual  exceptions?). And latent in the latter is a generalized hate of people not Jewish -- which is not explicitly promulgated by most Israelis, but is widely tolerated by the society. This hate can be perceived in the frequent assertions, by the Jewish clergy and West Bank settlers, that Jews are more sacred, more valuable or, simply, more worthy of life than non-Jews. As Shmuel Neumann, who describes himself as a "Ph.D. (...) actively involved in (...) an emigration program for Palestinians," put it recently in the settler organ Arutz Sheva:

One Jew named Chai is worth more than the two million so called Palestinians who inhabit Judea and Samaria. Barak may give the order to evacuate Jews, but the Almighty gave the order thousands of years ago to evacuate the gentiles[.]

The big, the enormous advantage that Zionists have is that there is no word to describe this hate of neighbors who are not Jewish. There is no horrible-sounding counterpart for the term "antisemitism." There exists a specialized word for the hate of Jews, but there's none for the symmetrical hate of non-Jews.

So that, until "antigentilism" or "goyophobia" gain currency, we will have to stick with "racism" to describe the mistreatment and abuse of the non-Jewish citizens of Israel and the occupied territories -- a fact which, itself, is beyond dispute.