Wednesday, May 27, 2009

No oppression to speak of

As some in Israel are trying to ban Nakba rallies (which mark the expulsion of some .75 M Arabs from Israel in 1948), I searched the Israeli press for information about what the commemorations look like. Eventually I found this article on Ynet.

In the comments section, I found an often-repeated argument:

Interestingly enough, today it was published that 94% of Israeli Arabs wish to continue living in Israel, the "racist", "oppressive", "Apartheid" state. How can you explain that? Maybe things aren't all bad over here?

Let's apply the logic to other situations:

  1. Blacks were not oppressed in the Jim Crow era: they didn't leave Alabama for Liberia or Sierra Leone.
  2. Algerians were not oppressed under French rule: they didn't evacuate Algiers and go into exile in Lybia, Morocco or Tunisia.
  3. Gypsies are not oppressed in Hungary: they don't flee the country when their homes are burned down.
  4. Kurds are not oppressed in Turkey, Syria or Iran. They're not flocking to the Kurdish section of democratic Iraq.
There are few if any racist or Apartheid regimes in the world, because only if people emigrate in mass from the land where they were born and where their families have been living for centuries can one speak of oppression.

The exception, of course, are the British Jews. Although 94% of them have no intention of leaving the UK, the country is a hotbed of antisemitism, as demonstrated by the existence of Seven Jewish Children, The Guardian, Ken Livingstone and George Galloway.


andrew r said...

I thought about leaving that very comment when I saw the poll. But then I remembered it's YNET.

Gert said...

It is indeed a very often repeated argument. IsraeliNurse (over at HP) uses it regularly and posted it at mine (on a post about Israeli Apartheid).

The relatively few Palestinians that weren't ethnically cleansed in 1948 and managed to cling to their land for dear life are now used as 'proof' that Israel can't be a racist Apartheid state because... you see, these people don't want to go.

In a minor variant this also used to 'prove' the perniciousness of Hamas: Israeli Arabs prefer the trappings of Israeli liberal democracy over the 'brutal Sharia rule by the Islamists of Hamas'.

Stupidity knows no bounds and there are no limits to the shapes it can morph into...

Islam And The West said...

Zionists can fool some of the people some of the time but they cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

Circular arguments and down right distortions seem to be the most used weapons in the armoury of Zionists and their enablers in the west.

If the two defence strategies mentioned above do not aid in the effort to defend Zionism just cry anti-semite and all opposition usually fades away very quickly.

I always respect people that talk straight. In some ways as a Muslim one always understands where one stands with likes of Rabbi Meir Kahane. For many may hate his politics but at least he never hide his true feelings for his enemies.

Anonymous said...

Let's apply your logic (I mean, idiocy) instead:

Oppression, slaughter, torture of Palestinians (and Arabs in general) is absolutely fine and wonderful as long as it is done by other Arabs. I can give you literally millions of examples.

Syria and Jordan in separate incidences in a single day have slaughtered more Arabs than have died in the last 30 years of Arab/Israeli fighting. No big deal since nobody could give a shit about a dead Palestinian (especially their Arab brethren)unless they die while trying to murder Jews.

Margaret said...

Anonymous 12:26 PM

Your "idiocy" is believing that this is an issue only concerning "Jews." Israel uses my tax money to kill Palestinians, and might be considered to be acting for my government. I don't support that use of taxes (by any power - not by Jordan or Syria either, but they aren't dependent upon US aid for their military power.)

Nor, I would argue, does Israel act on behalf of those who are Jewish, but instead uses the Jewish identity to defend its actions, which are that of a coercive power, and not Jewish in nature. Stop using the Jews as a scapegoat.

Our concern for others isn't best dealt with by intervening in their affairs, IMO.

Margaret said...

"Our concern for others isn't best dealt with by intervening in their affairs, IMO."

That doesn't go far enough, I think, in explaining my position: oppression is a matter of using power to subjugate those without power. What must change is the belief that such use of power is safe. I would argue further that united opposition to such use of power is possible without the use of violence in return, if the threat of reciprocal violence from those unified is made clear. It requires a mighty number, only, in my view, a number that I think will accumulate with time.

How many must die or live in misery until that number accumulates? They will, regardless.

Anonymous said...

Margaret, it is unfortunate that you are so poorly educated. Must be tough. Jordan receives over half a billion dollars annually in U.S. aid.

Stop using the Jews as a scapegoat??? Are you insane. Ever read the Hamas Charter which contains anti-Semitic rhetoric that is identical to Mein Kampf. Israel happens to have the largest Jewish of any country in the world but the ignorance of fools such as you who claim the hatred and bias towards Israel has nothing to do with Jews is breathtaking in it's disengenuousness.

Joshua said...

Anonymous is terrible; notice how he already concedes that Israel oppresses, tortures and slaughters Palestinians by invoking the "Arab" version of Palestinian oppression here. He just wants to put in a lighter subtext since he obviously believes that Israel is being "singled" out for its treatment of Palestinians. I would have to agree with him on one thing: nobody does care about the Palestinians (not even their "President" cares to limit the torture and human rights abuses), and no not the Israelis, not the Syrians, not the Lebanese, not the Jordanians and not the Egyptians will be the saviour to their cause (they never believed in their cause in the first place, and by "they" I mean the ruling elite of the dicactors and kingdoms).

PS Nowhere on this post did someone try to deflect the crimes of the Arab regimes. In fact, Ibrahim just used the normal hasbara reasoning and applied it to the rest of the world and by Zionists' standards, NO ONE is oppressed since they all desire to remain where they currently reside. Anonymous completely misses the point (and not the for the first time) and what is also omitted is how many have left the West Bank and Gaza during the occupation to the Diaspora.

andrew r said...

Mein Kampf and the Hamas charter are not identical in their anti-semitism. If you bother to read both (I don't expect even educated people to read Mein Kampf, just a selection), you'll find Hitler makes it very clear that Jews are a biological plague beyond redemption. Hamas' charter takes the very real crimes committed against their people and conflates it with anti-semitic tropes that were imported from Europe, but it does not say anything like, "if the Jews were left alone in this world they would stifle in offal and filth. They would try to get ahead of one another in hate filled struggle." Conversely, you will not find a line like this in Mein Kampf: "Under the shadow of Islam it is possible for the members of the three religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism to coexist in safety and security."

The Hamas charter refers to Jews in terms of what they've actually done to the Palestinian people, and it answers bigoted oppression with its own reactionary ideology. The anti-semitism of Hitler was outright paranoia from someone who planned military conquest and colonial settlement.

Also, Hamas gave a Palestinian passport to Jeff Halper, something the Nazis would not have done.

While I'm no fan of Hamas' charter, it does contain a few agreeable lines to none from Hitler's rant:

"Jihad means not only carrying arms and denigrating the enemies. Uttering positive words, writing good articles and useful books, and lending support and assistance, all that too is Jihad in the path of Allah, as long as intentions are sincere to make Allah’s banner supreme."

"Our enemy pursues the style of collective punishment of usurping people’s countries and properties, of pursuing them into their exiles and places of assembly. It has resorted to breaking bones, opening fire on women and children and the old, with or without reason, and to setting up detention camps where thousands upon thousands are interned in inhuman conditions. In addition, it destroys houses, renders children orphans and issues oppressive judgements against thousands of young people who spend the best years of their youth in the darkness of prisons."

"Exiling people from their country is another way of killing them."

andrew r said...

For the sake of balance, here's the most offensive line from the Hamas charter:

"The Muslim women have a no lesser role than that of men in the war of liberation; they manufacture men and play a great role in guiding and educating the [new] generation."

Gert said...

andrew r:

I don't think we can whitewash the Hamas charter or brush it under the carpet because it's actually quite vile and anti-Semitic. There are some mitigating circumstances, in particular Hamas' statements regarding the Holocaust (which they acknowledge without caveats or provisos to have happened - link provided on request) as well as a statement that their struggle is with the Occupation, not the Jewish people (link provided on request). And their willingness to sign a religious Hudna (long term truce) in return for a Palestinian state along 1967 borders signifies a break from their original stance, a break that's embarrassing for the Israeli hardliners and which consequently gets brushed under the carpet, despite the fact that stance is now about 3 years old.

It is however rather pot and kettle of the Usurper State to call Hamas anti-Semitic when the entire Zionist endeavour is racist and anti-Palestinian. The creation of the Zionist Entity has done more damage to the Palestinian people than Hamas could ever in their wildest dreams hope to inflict on the Zionist usurpers.

And Hamas, in their embryonic version actually a creation of Israel, is in fact highly useful for the security establishment as a lightning rod onto which all 'security concerns' can be directed and for Hasbarists world-wide to claim: 'we can't deal with those people'.

Senior Likud security-affairs specialist Efraim Inbar put it recently:

Turning to the situation of the 1.5 million residents of Gaza, he referred to an article he had published in early February in which he argued that the international community should not do anything to help the rebuild the homes and public infrastructure that were so extensively destroyed by Israel during the recent war. In the article he argued that the international community should “not be drawn into sentimental escapades of rebuilding and humanitarian assistance that undercut our paramount strategic goals.”
He told me he still believed that. I pointed out that most portions of the international community now seem to have decided that they should help to rebuild Gaza. “The international community may insist,” he said, “but we can certainly do a lot to slow the process down.”
Taking a different approach to the question of Gaza, he then commented with a smile that “Hamas is good for the Jews! As long as they are there it is a gift to us!” [my emph.]
He added, “I wouldn’t hesitate to make a wave of refugees out of Gaza. That would put pressure on Egypt to increase their presence inside the Gaza Strip. They should take over the whole Strip directly, or have their own puppet government there, be it Hamas or whoever.”

In essence, if Hamas was a Western Enlightenment-style resistance movement, they would be just as useful to Israel as they are now. The Charter just provides a little bonus for the Zionists... Like everything else in the conflict, it's essentially a bargaining chip: they'll modify or drop it in return for something else.

Hamas is increasingly enjoying some limelight and the Zionists had better start addressing that or get left behind.

andrew r said...

I wanted to make clear the charter does not equal Mein Kampf. One thing certain, nobody in the opposition camp will let it sweep under the rug, although I doubt most Hamas supporters even care what's in it. The main anti-semitic features about the charter is how it conflates Jews and Zionists, and blames Zionists on a worldwide conspiracy. And while I know this is familiar territory, Winston Churchill had some of the same ideas - Churchill and the Jews notes he'd been sent the protocols shortly before writing Zionism versus Bolshevism: A Struggle for the Soul of the Jewish People. He saw Jews as either bolsheviks, zionists, or participants in their home countries, although he favored zionists the most.

Hamas has been making moderate noises for a long time. Rantissi used to say they could let later generations decide on liberating Palestine within the green line.
As far as I can tell, their stances on history and Jews in general isn't coherent. Mahmoud Zahar linked their struggle to the Warsaw uprising, which likely means he knows the reality of WWII has nothing to do with the charter.

I would like to see their statements on the Holocaust and the Jewish people, actually.

Gert said...

andrew r:

This link covers both topics, actually.

It has also to be noted that Zionists have never in the past shown much scruples about allying themselves with anti-Semites when it suited them: see Abu Mazen (a Holocaust denier), the Christian Zionists (believe the anti-Christ will be a half-Jewish homosexual and that Jews need 'religious perfecting') or the Christian Phalange in Lebanon (Sabra - Shatila) - a bunch of Nazi-styled fascists...

andrew r said...

I believe him, if only because it would make him the most sophisticated Holocaust denier of all time he's playing a double game.

I didn't really understand how right wing the Phalange were until noticing comments from their supporters. They consider themselves Phoenicians and Arabs, not only Palestinians, are outsiders in Lebanon. They're also racist towards Armenians (in fact the Phalange/LF attacked Armenian quarters because they refrained from fighting). Some defenders of Israel try to portray them as just another Lebanese militia. They're a good match, really.

Health Blog said...

They're not flocking to the Kurdish section of democratic Iraq.