Sunday, May 30, 2010

Arabs, Jews and dogs

There are words. Words can chill. Like the morning I went out into the street and found two intoxicated teenagers daubing obscene graffiti on the hood of my car. "I'm gonna kill you," I yelled at them. "I'm gonna hang you both from that light pole." The drunk youngsters capped their spray-paint cans and meandered away mumbling incomprehensible things, maybe because they were scared by my words, or maybe because they were already done drawing their giant penis. I was myself scared by the enormity of what I had said. I knew I'm incapable of hanging anyone from anywhere --I weigh 55 kg--, but the violence ingrained in the society --the concept that minor offenders deserve Draconian punishments, including capital-- had surfaced in an individual who prides himself in being nonviolent.

Fast forward, and eastward, to today's Jerusalem. If I were a Jewish activist fighting for the Arab residents' increasingly eroded rights I wouldn't be comfortable at all hearing them shout, as they occasionally do at their demonstrations, "Jews are our dogs." I don't believe for a moment those Arabs would turn on their Jewish supporters because they're Jewish. In fact, it's quite probable that the very same Arabs whose aunt shouted those words were sipping tea with honey and mint leaves with their Jewish supporters moments before the protest. It's the society's ancestral prejudices that speak through that middle-aged lady, and it would be good for the Jerusalem Arabs to gain consciousness of what needs to be fixed in said society. Although I agree it shouldn't be necessarily their top priority, it's disturbing to see next to no internal Arab reaction against the supremacist discourse seeping into legitimate protest. Or, from another perspective, it's startling to see how unaware Arabs are of the political correctness that prevent Westerners from overtly expressing the horrible sentiments they also subscribe to. (I always recall how exultant many Argentinians were that the Twin Towers had been blown up and the Yanks had been taught a lesson. But they didn't celebrate in the street, God forbid.) Because you know, words can scare.

Then there are actions. Actions can scare more than words. In fact, actions can kill, which words can't, not at least on an individual basis. And in the I/P conflict, it's the Israelis who can carry out actions, not Palestinians. Despite the ever more occasional terrorist attack, it's the Israelis who harass and degrade Palestinians on an everyday basis. Stopping someone for 5 hours at a checkpoint when you could have stopped him for 1 hour, while not as spectacular as comparing him to a canine, is much more hurtful.

I don't know if Israeli Jews have called Arabs dogs. Snakes, monkeys, donkeys, cockroaches -- yes. But not dogs that I know. However, I do know of interactions between Arabs, Jews and dogs that take place not in the realm of words, but in that of actions. Like the following one:

This is a video of an Israeli Defense Forces dog attacking an elderly Palestinian lady. Notice how, as the canine savagely bites the woman’s hand, the soldiers try to pull it away, most probably causing her even more pain, instead of hitting the animal in the head with their rifle butts or directly shooting it to prevent further harm to the human being attacked.

One life is more important than the other here, and it's clearly not the woman's. In a very literal sense, Palestinians are worth less than dogs to Israeli soldiers.


Anonymous said...

This is a fantastic example of the particular form of idiocy Alberto Miyara suffers from, by which his argument invariably ends up proving the EXACT OPPOSITE of what he intended.

The video he posts as proof of the Israeli's inhumanity CLEARLY shows the soldiers frantically trying to pull an out-of-control dog off the woman. After they succeed, one of the soldiers puts his arm around her shoulders protectively, taking her to receive medical attention for the bite on her hand.

If anything this video is a SUPERB example of why the IDF has been rightly called "the most moral army in the world".

Ernie Halfdram said...

The questions that arise immediately are why the most moral soldiers sicced their dog onto the woman in the first place and why they neglected to command it to desist. If the dog was really out of their control, then why does the most moral army leave attack dogs in charge of those who can't control them?

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

The video CLEARLY shows the soldiers frantically trying to pull an out-of-control dog off the woman.

Which of course doesn't respond to my point: the soldiers privilege the well-being of the animal over that of the woman ferociusly bitten by it. They don't stun the dog so that it won't suffer, even as the woman is evidently suffering quite a lot.

I'm not saying the Israelis are Nazis. I'm saying that Palestinians are worth less than dogs to them, which the video eloquently proves.

After they succeed, one of the soldiers puts his arm around her shoulders protectively

Can you consider someone less than human and hug her all the same? Yes you can. Ask my cat.

Maoz said...

I've noticed you have a whole thread on Israeli Jewish racism. It's depressing to read, and you make valid points, but did you know that... ?

Also from the article, "Moreover, only 53.7 percent of the Israeli Arab public believe Israel has a right to exist just as an independent country, according to the poll, down from 81.1 percent in 2003."

In case you were wondering, the reason the article emphasizes "just as an independent country" is that we're not talking about Israel's "right to exist as a Jewish, democratic state" (or an ethnocracy, as you would probably call it). No, we're talking about the country's existence, period. In my opinion, that essentially boils down to the mere presence of a large Jewish population.

Your response will probably be that this animosity is reactionary. But why isn't Jewish racism? Why can't it be a reaction to wars and suicide bombings?

In the early 20th century (when Zionism was still much more multi-faceted, and talks of a bi-national state were perfectly mainstream), Aref Pasha Dajani told the King-Crane Commission "[The Jews'] history and their past proves that it is impossible to live with them. In all the countries where they are at present, they are not wanted...because they always arrive to suck the blood of everybody..."

Along with countless other slogans and genocidal declarations, why can't we consider this as a root cause of Israeli Jewish racism?

In the end, your citing cases of Israeli Jewish racism is not an argument. It's just an illustration of the fact that there is, indeed, a conflict involving two people with mutual animosity.

Ernie Halfdram said...

It's crucial to understand that racist attitudes are not the cause but the symptom of racial discrimination and oppression. Whether inculcated deliberately or not, they serve first and foremost to justify the oppression. At the same time, oppressed groups may be inclined to essentialise the group they perceive as their oppressor. This is ultimately counterproductive and wrong, but significantly it does not involve systematic discrimination against and oppression of the essentialised population. That's the difference.

Maoz may object that suicide bombings and Qassam launches constitute a form of oppression. They are not. They are forms of resistance to oppression and largely retaliation specifically for armed attacks.

Or he may be of the opinion that 'the Arabs', or whoever it is who's supposed to harbour antisemitic attitudes in this context, would oppress the Jews if they had the opportunity. That's as may be. But even so blunt an instrument as bourgeois criminal law can distinguish intent from action, and what we're talking about here falls a long way short of intent.

If Aref Pasha Dajani is correctly quoted, it seems to me that the deplorable, atrocious attitude he evidences there just reprises Herzl, nearly verbatim.

When the guys who pound on your door in the middle of the night, ransack your house and bash your mother with a rifle butt proudly announce themselves as 'Yahoud', it comes as no surprise that Palestinian kids come to think of Yahoud as their enemy.

When you want someone else's land, it's awfully convenient to be able to say with conviction, 'Those Aborigines never knew how to use the land, anyway' or 'We made the desert bloom', and yibbiddiyibbiddi... Same shit, different arsehole. If you crave an explanation for Israeli Jewish antiArab racism, look no further.

Maoz said...


I agree with you in large part and, at this point, can say with relative conviction that Zionism was a historical wrong turn. I do happen to think that "the Arabs" (those who identify as Arabs) will oppress "the Jews" (those who identify as Jews) if given the chance. I do think that a bi-national state is likely to lead to a Balkan tragedy here (unless instituted with the proper prerequisite--that each side outgrow its nationalism). Bosnia/Cyprus/Lebanon is much more in the pipeline than Switzerland/Belgium/Quebec. I also happen to think that if the Israelis hadn't prevailed in 1948, a Levantine Holocaust would have followed a European one. Of course, we don't know what would have happened had the Egyptians actually reached Tel Aviv, but I think we're intelligent enough to make educated guesses. We may take the "ethnic cleansing" of the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem and Kfar Etzion as case studies.

Same applies here. Qassams and Katyushas are not big enough to count as oppression, but that doesn't mean it's reason to make fajrs, zelzals, and other heavier armament accessible. After all, we can separate intent from action without forgetting that a link still exists.

Anyway, your claim boils down to the notion that it was the Zionists who initiated the racial fracas because the ideology is inherently racist. Again, I think that this oversimplifies Zionism in its earlier years.

Maybe it will take a Balkan tragedy in Israel for historians to look at the issue with more nuance and sympathy, but I think it's fair to say that the bi-nationalist, socialist Zionism espoused by Chomsky was not at all an anomaly (by his own account, no less). From Brit Shalom to HaShomer HaTzair, there was an audience for bi-nationalism, and it's interesting to watch how it slowly collapsed in the wake of the Hebron Massacre, Tel Hai, etc.

If we're going to entertain the idea of Zionism being inherently racist, then I think we should also entertain the idea of xenophobia on the part of the Arabs. In the early 1900s, I really don't think the commotion was about the prospect of being displaced. I think it was more an issue of not wanting the heart of the Arab World and former caliphate flooded by white, Yiddish-speaking atheists.

Anonymous said...

second try to post - did I make a mistake or did Ibrahim delete me?

anyway fake "Ibrahim"'s "explaining" of this video is all wrong - from beginning to end, every second of it.

a well trained dog will go for the sleeve of the to be attacked which this one obviously did and you don't damage a valuable dog to save a garment from ripping
- if some flesh got in the way it can't have been much or the woman would have stopped pulling away so vigorously

the worst one can say is that the soldiers should have figured out earlier, that to stop the woman pulling away was the method to get the dog under control. Is there something in their rules of engagement that forbids them to touch apprehended women? It would seem likely to me.

I am sure that they'll have amended their dog training procedure after that.

2 things would be of interest:

one the report of an unbiased dog trainer
second the medical report of the woman - I'd bet highly that there was no "mangled" hand.


Anonymous said...


If Ibrahim knew anything about what Unit Oketz dogs do, he would realize that these aren't just guard dogs. They're arguably as valuable as any soldier, simply because they constantly save soldiers from life-threatening situations (sniffing out bombs, terrorists in hiding, etc).

Anonymous said...

I was recently told what a dog trained to accompany a disabled child is worth - it was in the multiple five figure Euros plus a shortened life expectancy for the dog.

and yes 1,55 m tall whiff of a fake Ibrahim, unesteemed writer of short stories and composer of music has no solid knowledge of anything

and yes I guess the dog acted exactly as it was supposed to and that the IDF will adapt the training of either the soldiers or the dogs as much as possible to prevent a scenario like that from happening again.


andrew r said...

I also happen to think that if the Israelis hadn't prevailed in 1948, a Levantine Holocaust would have followed a European one.

I'm very familiar with the line of argument that goes, "Okay, Zionism has some oppressive features but it has to be violent because the Arabs would do even worse to us." It doesn't even occur that maybe the Zionist agenda was unsavory in Europe before put into practice in Palestine.

Zionism from day one had the goal of removing the native population by hook or crook so a Jewish majority could take their place. It's a violent agenda that would be met in kind. Had the Zionist Jews immigrated to Palestine to live in the existing society without the intention to replace it, there would've been no Jerusalem riots, no Hebron massacre and no 1948 war.

I don't think any one ever welcomed a movement whose leaders and intellectuals declared intent to take over their country, regardless of religion. And Palestinian Christians were also against Zionism.

Anonymous said...

andrew you are not only ignorant you are also a bore

sometimes reading a number of books from all sides helps the little grey cells to function again but proposing to somebody who can't even google properly to read a book is probably a bit much

andrew r said...

Sad to say Silke, I've read Ariel Sharon's auto-biography, the Case For Israel by Dershowitz and Dr. Lozowick's book that ends with, "Imperfect as it is, is Zionism worth fighting and dying for, unto our children's children's children? Of course it is."

You also tend to disregard that Zionists can incriminate themselves even as they defend Israel to the death. I wouldn't be able to argue the details but I think a strict diet of pro-Israel literature would've made me anti-Zionist in any case.

I know it's boring to argue against Israel from the perspective of everyone having the right to live in their country and it would be much more fun to cheerlead the hardened, Jewish soldiers who prevent another shoah by attacking a boat armed with humanitarian supplies. You can always go somewhere more exciting.

Anonymous said...

thanks andrew
you are hopeless
somebody who can perceive the boats even tonight as "armed with humanitarian supplies" should maybe imbibe some videos.

White flags all over the place claims Free Gaza
and never mind the thugs with the whatever they could grab at work really skilfully -
and to repeat myself - they are so good at it, they are likely to make the toughest hooligans realize that it is time for him to brush up on his skills.

no way you have been reading the books you read with an open mind - you are just a nitpicking ignorant little panting for blood wannabe

Anonymous said...

Alberto you really know nothing about Arabs, Jews - but especially about dogs. An attack dog cannot always be controlled, and you can't get it to release by bashing it on the head. Nor do Israeli soldiers carry around tasers so they can "stun" out-of-control dogs. What the soldiers did - trying to release the grip from the inside - is exactly what you're supposed to do if your dog loses it. Any impartial observer of that video would tell you that. And none would say that you're watching an ugly oppressor savagely allow a woman to be victimized by a dog. Look again at the behavior of the soldiers, that's just not who they are.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

For some reason, I suspect this dogology expert is the same person as the classical music expert who a few threads back was nonsensically claiming that Mendelssohn converted to Christianity to advance his career.

Anonymous said...

why don't you just shut up after you have so clearly demonstrated with your post that you know less than nothing about dog training
- and why should you judging from our north of the mediterranean countries the whole concept seems to be alien to them and you told us repeatedly about your time in Spain
oh and while you are at it stop smearing Mendelssohn's memory by mentioning him on your dirty Jew maligning blog.


PS: if I remember last time around Mr. know-all fake Ibrahim claimed Mahler did it for no career reason - just one expert quote seems to have killed that ignorant of Wikipedia's qualities impostor's claim once and for all.

You are fake and vacuous and ignorant wherever one pokes

demize! said...

Then why do you read his blog religiously? Curious, if I found ones writing vacous, and or idiotic I would avoid it. And you said "Dirty-Jew" so you are obviously an anti-Semite. Remember a Jewish Jeweler is an anti-Semitic construct or sumpin.

andrew r said...

Jews aren't dirty. This blog is dirty. I can be pretty vulgar when I want, though.

Anonymous said...

I have a haunch that this "demize!" trying to impress us Ibrahim-"devotees" around here is another one of Ibrahim's multiples.

and thanks andrew - how considerate and lovely of you to stand up for my integrity