Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Letters to a Zionist friend (3): It's them, not me

Yitzchak Goodman is easily the most civil blogger on the web. He is calm and mild-mannered and always finds a polite way to say even the most outrageous things. When you get angry at him, you know you can't tell him to do something to himself, because he'll never reciprocate.

Now Goodman has a strange obsession. A huge amount of his blogging is devoted to exposing North Korea's autocratic regime -- for instance, here, here and here, just from this last week. This fixation defies explanation. North Korea is not very much newsworthy, and while its human-rights record is dismal, it pales next to that of Congo, where 5.5 million were killed in the last war, and Pygmies were eaten.

Granted, he's not the only one with difficult-to-explain obsessions. My countryman Andrés Oppenheimer, for instance, specializes in trashing Cuba. He appears on TV, writes for newspapers in Spanish and English and has even authored a few books whose sole purpose is to highlight Cuba's failures and belittle its achievements. This, at a time when Cuba has become utterly irrelevant on the international scene.

So that I suppose you were right, my dear Zionist friend, to call Goodman an anti-North-Korean bigot, and Oppenheimer an anti-Cuban bigot.

What?? You didn't call them bigots?

Wait a minute. Your star argument all these years has been that I slam Israel and not Sudan, so I must have a special prejudice against Israel and, in fact, the Jewish people, which turns me into, well, an antisemite. But look at Goodman and Oppenheimer: they also talk too little about Sudan, and too much about North Korea and Cuba. They must also harbor hateful feelings, mustn't they?

Oh, I can see what your response to that is. It's not only that I devote a disproportionate fraction of my time to bashing Israel. It's also that there's a huge wealth of other bloggers, pundits, journalists and commenters who do the same: by contrast, Goodman and Oppenheimer are relatively isolated in their North Korean and Cuban obsessions. Such collective fury directed against a small country can only be dictated by deeply-ingrained hatred, probably the result of milennia of Jewish blood-libeling.

And know what? I'll agree that many, many critics of Israel are vicious antisemites. A majority, a minority? I don't know, but there are many. But what does this say about individual anti-Zionists? Nothing. Nothing at all.

See, Goodman's and Oppenheimer's cases illustrate the fact that, statistically, there will always be people who develop an interest, a negative interest, in a certain country for no reason at all. So how do you know that I'm not the guy that statistically must arise with a specialized interest in finding Israel's defects, just like others criticize Poland, Sri Lanka or Argentina? You don't know, and if you don't know you must give me the benefit of the doubt. Trust me: I am that guy. And I'm not an antisemite, and the proof is that -- I don't have a single Jewish friend! (i.e. I didn't befriend one only to deflect criticism. I do have a left-handed wife, however. Not the same, I know.)

The rest of anti-Zionists? I don't know. Some will hate Jews, some others won't. But here's a piece of advice for you: if you believe you can charge individual Israel critics with antisemitism, don't look at me, look at them.


Anonymous said...

After reading most of that crap I wouldn't so much say you're a anti Semite so much as i'd say your an idiot.

vhs said...

It's not even interesting or amuzing but a sad and reoccurring theme: That the person (anonymous, of course) who had no argument also openly admits to not have even bothered reading the (short and easily read) post he dismisses without argument.

I guess, if 'Anonymous' is your Zionist friend, you're waisting your time with your letters. But I'm sure there are others out here who will benefit from them, so keep writing!

jhrhv said...

That post reminded me of a joke I once heard.

Two soldiers are riding horses through a snow covered landscape. The commander of the two sees on the ground a pile of what looks to dog shit. They both stop to investigate. The commander tells the subordinate to get down from his horse and take a closer looker. The man says it looks like dog shit. The commander tells him to touch the pile of would be shit. The man says touch it? The commander says touch it. So he does and reports that it feels like dog shit. The commander now says taste it. The other man looks at him and says taste? The commander says TASTE! And so he does taste it and reports it tastes like dog shit too which the commander says. Well if it looks like dog shit feels like dog shit and taste like dog shit it must be dog shit so lets go around it.

Then there is the one of boy I knew. People regularly told this boy he was genius. As he grew older he got good grades in school and became a rather successful business person. In his business his colleagues regularly told him how smart he was the word genius was often used when people spoke with him. This person was very modest and never really believed it. One day he took an IQ test got a score of 147. What people had often believed about this person and which he never believed turned to in fact be true.

By the content of what you post, your preoccupation with Jews and Israel the many traits you share with the average anti-Semite etc you might in fact be one. There seem to be a number of people that believe you are an anti-Semite based on what you've wrote on other blogs and they may in fact be correct. It seems like you are one to me. Not that I actually care if some nobody like you is or not.

I know this post of yours is little more then a joke. But if you were interested in the answer to am I a anti-Semite or not. One of the things that might help you to fully explore this question were you in fact interested in finding the truth would be to ask your wife and child(ren) what they think of your views and you as they see them on your blog and some of the sites you post comments at.

Ernie Halfdram said...

It's true that there are some misguided antisemites who object to Jews leaving the shtetls of Europe to create a shtetl in Palestine. But the more dangerous and numerous antisemites are the ones who, like your trolls, are pleased we've about it.

Since we're telling jokes, here's one:

An Israeli and a Palestinian have just left court and are on the bus going to prison. The Palestinian asks the Israeli what he’s in for. The Israeli replies, ‘I ran over a kid in my car and left the scene of the accident. The poor kid is crippled for life.’ And the Palestinian asks how long his sentence was. The Israeli tells him he got six months and asks what he’s in for. ‘I was caught driving without headlights.’ ‘So what did they give you?’ ‘Six years.’ The Israeli tells the Palestinian that seems a bit extreme, but the Palestinian tells him, ‘Actually, the judge was quite lenient. He said he’d have given me life if I had done it after dark.’

Anonymous said...

Isreal's defenders have a special vengeance for Jews who don't toe the line because they give the lie to the charge that Israel's critics are simply anti-Semite.


Gert said...

Ibrahim, let's get this over and done with by answering the following MC question honestly:

Do you:
a. hate the Jews very, very, very much
b. hate the Jews very, very much
c. hate the Jews very much
d. hate the Jews a lot
e. hare the Jews a little
f. hate the Jews somewhat
g. don't hate the Jews

As a little aside, I've often thought that people who believe Jewish critics of Israel must be 'self-hating' Jews are the same type as homophobes who argue homosexuality is a 'life-style choice'.

@ Ernie:

"It's true that there are some misguided antisemites who object to Jews leaving the shtetls of Europe to create a shtetl in Palestine."

But more logically there are anti-Semites like the BNP and the English Defense League who fully support Israel. From one ethno-fantasist group to another, that's logically entirely consistent.

Ernie Halfdram said...

Yeah, I thought that's what I was saying - what I meant to write was, 'But the more dangerous and numerous antisemites are the ones who, like your trolls, are pleased about it.'

jhrhv said...

So Buster it appears from your own unwillingness to answer whether you speak of your obsession with your family that you actually do in fact believe you are a racist and anti-Semite.

The Hasbara Buster BUSTED

Gert said...


It took a while to find your and andrew r's exploits at Elder of Ziyon (the post about "lying PalArab witnesses") and I sincerely hope it's a lesson for the both of you to never try and engage with those trolls again (knowing myself I'll probably be tempted once again, hopefully later rather than sooner). That bunch doesn't understand even basic logic or English for that matter: one gets nothing but straw men, distortions of what was said or written, distractions etc etc in return for any sincere efforts. They wouldn't recognise a logically constructed argument if it came to bite them in the arse. That then is mixed in with a good dollop of the most atrocious racism, cultural supremacism, post 9/44 rage etc.

Interestingly, the level of 'debate' there very strongly resembles that of Harry's Place when matters turn to Israel there (right now they're too busy with Hizbut Tahrir, an extremist but marginal and peaceful group of Caliphaters): same commenting style and intellectual level of a boiled potatoe.

Gert said...

Ooops, 9/11 of course, my bad.

andrew r said...

Gert: Can't speak for HB, I've only been there less than a week. Maybe I'll try to keep it that way.

andrew r said...

I did manage to clam up when they stumbled on a topic near and dear to me, the anti-semitism of Balfour. Benni Morris quoted him at length saying Jews don't belong in countries that "know not their language and belong not to their race" and peppered it with some flattery about services rendered to "Christendom," Morris and the elder are both swayed by a flowery comment that asserts Jews belong elsewhere.

Gert said...

andrew r:

"[...] and peppered it with some flattery about services rendered to "Christendom," Morris and the elder are both swayed by a flowery comment that asserts Jews belong elsewhere."

Since as elder is also convinced Jews belong in Israel, it's nice to see he agrees with a more principled anti-Semite, isn't it?

Paul Hershfield said...

The anti-semitism defense is wearing pretty thin, isn't it? http://ceia-sc.org/page5/page148/page148.openletter.html