A Good Summary,
March 18, 2002 6:04 AM   Subscribe

A Good Summary, albeit in the form of a NYPost Editorial, as to why Israel should ignore 95% of the criticism it gets regarding it's current policy towards negotiating withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza. President Bush: are you listening?
posted by ParisParamus (33 comments total)
Either you thought that piece was good journalism or you are trying to be a troll. I'm not sure which is worse.
posted by machaus at 6:10 AM on March 18, 2002

Either you are delluded, or you are deceived.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:15 AM on March 18, 2002

How easy it is to dismiss something one does not want to confront! That the writing is hardly great, and that the paper itself is way to the right of center still does not obscure that the Arab press has been saying over and over and with approval of governments for some time now.
Dare I suggest those put off by the post in fact check out some Arab sites? Or would that then mean fixed postions might be in need of re-thinking. I am ready: fire back at me!
posted by Postroad at 6:21 AM on March 18, 2002

Paris, I think you need to put on one of these.

This is not a summary. It is a few examples of hate couched in provocative language. Even if it was well written and even-handed (it is neither) it is way too short to capture even the merest essence of the real problem there. Try summarizing your life in a few sentences. Hard? Well, think about trying to summarize the centuries-long conflicts between two entire cultures in a few sentences.
posted by plaino at 6:23 AM on March 18, 2002

How about using some supporting evidence other than a half ass NY post article to support your position? I don't disagree with you outright, but I think this post is substandard. Or on preview, what plaino said.
posted by machaus at 6:26 AM on March 18, 2002

Speaking of deluded, is anyone under the delusion that this topic hasn't been discussed ad nauseum on MetaFilter? How many times can the same people make the same points without getting sick of saying the same things? It would appear that there is no limit for a couple of you.
posted by anapestic at 6:33 AM on March 18, 2002

You can ignore the fact that this is an editorial in the NY Post, and ignore the editorial commentary, and still be appalled by what I assume is the correctly reported fact that the government-controlled Saudi Arabian press is pushing lies of Nazi-level virulence against Jews. Ladies and gentlemen, if you have any illusions about the nature of our enemies and their overt and covert sympathizers, you should lose them now, for you will certainly lose them later: We are dealing with people who want to kill Jews. Plain and simple. They have no good reason. They have simply (like the Nazis) adopted a shopworn-but-still servicable prejudice as the vehicle for their bloodlust. (Don't decieve yourself about this either: for those who cultivate them, the vices of killing and hating can be pleasures just like eating and sex). For Jews, in America, Israel, and around the world, this is a war for survival. I wish them luck.
posted by Faze at 6:36 AM on March 18, 2002

Okaaaaay....So, by that logic ParisParamus, should Nothern Ireland resist U.S. pressure to broker a peace deal in the region because a "professor" at Bob Jones University calles the Pope the AntiChrist?

This article gives a couple of half-assed incidents of Arabs demonstrating some anti-Jew sentiment. I don't think this is very shocking. But to use it as an indictment of "95%" of the criticism directed at Sharon is logically incosistent, intenllectually shallow, and a pathetic attempt at some Arab-smearing using such isolated incidents to generalize about all Arabs.

Besides, Sharon deserves all the criticism he can get at the moment, sending tanks to shell civilian houses, denying basic rights to a minority people under his control, preventing what little independent governence the Palestinians have from functioning, all the while having killed close to a thousand people since the beginning of his administration (page four of the article). Not to mention the fact that he orders all Palestinian men to be searched without any sort of probable cause other than that they are Palestinian men, etc, etc...

Isn't Milosovich on trial for something similar? And let me make this clear: While Sharon isn't as evil as Milosovich, his actions are leading him down that path. Sharon has genocide in his past, and I think its possible he might do something like it again.
posted by thewittyname at 6:42 AM on March 18, 2002

Seriously, PP, where's the "summary"? Some professor writes a bigoted article, so somehow the Saudi peace plan is unfeasable? I've got to echo what machaus said. I find it hard to believe that someone of your intellgence could read this piece and see it as some sort of congent argument against the peace initiative. I therefore find it hard to believe that you're not just dragging your line in the water here, seeing what you can snare...
posted by jpoulos at 6:42 AM on March 18, 2002

You could easily go and find three Israelis expressing crazily anti-Arab views (using words like "bloodlust"), but it wouldn't prove anything about Israelis. America, too, has nutcases, some of them in government, some in the academic world, some in television. Think of John Ashcroft and Patrick Buchanan, think of Bob Jones, and take your pick of the outrageous people in the US media. Germany still has Nazis -- think of Joerg Haider -- but Germany isn't a Nazi country. Taking a small sample of the worst is no way to show the average.

Similarly, the three assertions in that tabloid article (which may or may not be true, may or may not be distorted by the writer) don't add up to much more than three small assertions. One professor said A, one government minister wrote B, one television program showed C.
posted by pracowity at 6:46 AM on March 18, 2002

You've been waving this red flag for quite a while. You should find some other incendiary topic that eventually results in an unproductive, uncontrolled pissing match, and post about it. You know, SUVs, the death penalty and the insanity defense, etc. Just make sure that rational discourse and viewpoint changes will be virtually impossible.
posted by websavvy at 6:50 AM on March 18, 2002

FYI, here's the story on the "blood drinking ritual". For the record, I think both sides are as loony as a $3 bill and will destroy each other eventually.
posted by owillis at 6:55 AM on March 18, 2002

Does anyone know if "the respected Middle East Media Research Institute" reprints any even-handed, moderate journalism from the Arab media, or do they only cherry pick idiotic stuff like the blood libel in order to pursue an agenda?

Trying to make political hay out of this professor's blood libel is like an Arab paper reprinting Ann Coulter's nuke-them-all column and claiming it's representative of American public opinion.
posted by rcade at 7:01 AM on March 18, 2002

Germany still has Nazis -- think of Joerg Haider -- but Germany isn't a Nazi country

Haider not Germany.
Haider Austria.
Thank you.
posted by Berend at 7:32 AM on March 18, 2002

It is a touch hypocritical for me to post here, after previously complaining that this subject gets too much media coverage and that I'm totally bored of it. However, I do think that I can add something to the discussion, possibly, well at least point out something that I was until recently unaware of.

I knew that people in the UK had sympathy with the Palestinian position, however what I did not realise was the extent to which this was the case. I hold what I consider to be a balance opinion, and side with no one. However, that is not the position of most of my country. They consider state murder to be the lowest of the low, and unjustifiable, regardless of provocation.

This stems partially I think from our history. Bloody Sunday being a day of national shame and tragedy. Well as far as people here are concerned Israel is producing a Bloody Sunday on a daily basis. Also the British see the Jewish as somewhat hypocritical. The British gave a lot in WWII and then spent the next 2 years getting bombed, kidnapped and hung by Jewish terrorists. Anyway, regardless of the motivation, what I can not reiterate enough is that British public opinion is squarely against Israel's behaviour. The question is, does this matter?

Well, you may think not. However, Blair is going to have problems getting support for a campaign in Iraq, and a change in US policy towards Israel would help him out. As things stand those arguing against British involvement are citing US double standards as a principle issue. OK, the US can say that they don't need British support, but on a lot of levels it would be very useful for them to have it. From Blair's point of view this is very serious. If he supports the US without any change in US attitude to Palestine it really could be a killer blow for him. I'm surprise, but do strongly believe that this is the case. His party seems to think so too.
posted by RobertLoch at 7:38 AM on March 18, 2002

> Haider not Germany.

Sorry, Berend. Of course not. I was typing away, thinking about Haider, then about Nazis, and (sorry) Nazis --> Germany is a strong connection in my mind. I'm not alone. But of course you are correct.

So, corrected: Austria still has Nazis -- think of Joerg Haider -- but Austria isn't a Nazi country.
posted by pracowity at 8:20 AM on March 18, 2002

After the Arabs get rid of the Jews, they'll go after the Christians.
posted by mikegre at 9:01 AM on March 18, 2002

The same people say the same things as I too say the same things. That site that is run by pro-Israeli folks and reports Arab media in fact has presented stuff that is written by Arabs that point out shortcomings in Arab views. Example: some Arab paper noted that only in a Democracy would some 200 soldiers take a psotion not to fight when ordered by the govt.--the writer noted that no Arab would live to write or talk about this sort of thing.
But if you want a balanced view of things in the Middle East (why those who are bored write to tell us opf their boredom is beyond me), try this:
link two writers from each side discuss a single topic each week.
posted by Postroad at 9:27 AM on March 18, 2002

Anti-semitism in the Arab world is a very interesting topic and worthy of debate as to why relations are currently in the shitter. The on-again-off-again relationship between Jews and Muslims as well.

There is no doubt that, even though MEMRI cherrypicks the worst articles, Anti-Israel and Anti-Jewish feelings are running very high in the Arab world right now. A lot of this has to do with the fact that every night the slaughter of Palestinians is brought as the top story on the evening news, but it also has to do with the fact that small, scrappy, and very very well-armed Israel has kicked ass in every war its fought, and now boasts the region's best non-oil economy and highest standard of living, along with rights and freedoms for Jews that most Arabs will likely not have in their lifetimes.

That being said, we're talking about 50 years in the space of 1400 years of a pretty good relationship, especially in relation to Europe.

At times I wonder if there aren't those who want to keep the Israel-Arab world blood feud alive. A Jewish-Arab alliance would be a very powerful world force and threat to American hegemony in the Mideast.
posted by cell divide at 9:43 AM on March 18, 2002

I was going to write another comment here, but instead, I will recycle one of my comments from one of the hundreds of previous MeFi threads on this very same subject:

Oh Yay, another thread about an impossible political/religious dilemma with obvious sides squaring off using mostly propagandistic (a word?) rhetoric and precious little new perspective. Why don't we just discuss the chicken and the egg some more? The Palestinians and Isrealis (not to mention the people of a few other middle east states) have long exhausted any claims they might have to legitimacy. If one ever prevails over the other it will be by force and then remain only by force, probably imposed from without by some major power like the US. When the US stops needing oil the region will disappear into an oblivion of squabbling religious and political factions (that is, after the arab nations unite to kick out the jews first).
posted by plaino at 10:02 AM on March 18, 2002

'That being said, we're talking about 50 years in the space of 1400 years of a pretty good relationship, especially in relation to Europe.' What do you mean? Who are you refering to?
posted by RobertLoch at 10:06 AM on March 18, 2002

I mean that Jews have lived more-or-less peacefully in the Arab/Islamic world until 1948, particuarly in Iraq, Iran, Morocco, and Yemen. Historically Jews and Arabs lived together in peace, with few instances of the anti-semitic violence that was common to Europe. Another interesting point is that most of the anti-semitic propaganda referenced by MEMRI and others has its roots in Europe.
posted by cell divide at 10:28 AM on March 18, 2002

Arab anti-Jewish, anti-infidel sentiments are pretty well known and understood by those experiencing it. I'd be interested to get an insight into the rationale of the anti-Jewish sentiments of the non-Arab posters in Metafilter.
posted by semmi at 10:31 AM on March 18, 2002

What you're leaving out is that the within-mentioned articles are in official, state-sponsored publications. Find me something equivalent in an Israeli official publication. Tragically, lots of people are in a state of denial about the state of the Arab world. It would be easier, and more honest for you just to say directly that Israel should be dismantled.

I'm not going to bother trying to legitimize the Post's Editorial. Google the topic yourself.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:45 AM on March 18, 2002

Semmi, are you sure you mean anti-jewish sentiments? I don't think you'll find any of those on Metafilter. You might find comments critical of the current Israeli government - which is not the same thing at all.
posted by grahamwell at 10:58 AM on March 18, 2002

To summarize the post/article: Internatonal law, the United States, the United Nations, and virtually all of the world's governments want Israel to withdraw from lands occupied during the 1967 war and allow the Palestinian people to create an independent state there.

However, Saudi Arabia's official newspaper publishes filthy anti-semitic screeds, and Abu-Dhabi television once showed Sharon as a Vampire. Also, a Syrian minister wrote a blood-libel book. Furthermore, some Egyptians might make a movie out of it.

So, as you can see, adhering to UN resolutions, international law, and official US position would be a big mistake as long as such racists exist in the Arab world.
posted by cell divide at 11:08 AM on March 18, 2002

Last week after running across that story on MEMRI, I looked up the history of this "Purim Blood Libel" story. Apparently it's been going around for centuries and has been used to justify persecution and massacre of Jews. Check it out here and here.

As to the issue at hand, it's my understanding that the Saudi leaders (and others in the region) have allowed the relative autonomy of religious zealots in order to legitimize their "divine" rights as leaders. This has unfortunately backfired on them; their universities and media have become breeding grounds for fundamentalists who now want to oust their leaders for not being Muslim enough.

God Has Ninety-Nine Names: Reporting from a Militant Middle East by Judith Miller (available on Amazon) is interesting reading on the subject.

At any rate, it's not surprising that Saudi Arabia's media is saying one thing while its leaders are saying another.
posted by airgirl at 11:21 AM on March 18, 2002

Another thing to keep in mind vis-a-vis Saudi Arabia: This is a country where pretty much everyone with connections/brains can make millions if not billions of dollars. Corruption is so rampant it's figured into budgets. Associate ministers have millions of dollars in Swiss bank accounts. Anyone who has any connection to oil through the government or through private enterprise is literally printing money.

In such an enviroment, what kind of people do you think end up in the Universities or media?
posted by cell divide at 11:41 AM on March 18, 2002

Cell: No one, including myself, has suggested that Israel should not withdraw from the territories (minus about 5% of the West Bank. It's a question of how to do it while keeping Israel safe). Official media is official media. You're showing how week your response is by saying these are "only" scholars, not the real government. BULLSHIT. Especially when it's the education system which perpetuates the hatred of Israel which makes peace so difficult. Remember, most people in the Mideast think there were no Muslims involved in the attacks of September 11.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:57 AM on March 18, 2002

Paris, I didn't mean to say that these were not terrible things and not under the auspices of the Saudi Gov't. Moreover, I thought my post would show how deeply fucked the entire Saudi Regime is, corrupt to the core. The point is that the smart people are busy making oil bucks, while the idiots are running the "unimportant" things like newspapers and universities. I didn't mean to say that they weren't official sources, only meant to illustrate that the people doing the 'dirty work' are even more idiotic than those who 'sign off' on their work. I am definately not here to defend the Saudis, of all people!!

However, that being said, if you think racism is only on one side of this issue, you are tragically mistaken.
posted by cell divide at 12:09 PM on March 18, 2002

cell divide, I think you're generalizing the meaning of racism to the point of dissolution. The Israelis, as far as I see, have no hatred toward the Palestinians as a "race", only toward the political aims of the terrorists who murder Israeli civilians. Palestinians may be Israeli citizens and there have been many political demonstrations by Israelis in support of the Palestinians. On the other hand, Jews are hated by the Palestinians and other Arabs with indiscriminate passion as an entire race. Try to find a Jew as a member of their society.
posted by semmi at 4:59 PM on March 20, 2002

Somewhere behind manic Palestinian terrorists and corrupt, indifferent Arafatians are a lot of poor shlubs living in misery. Too bad they have to suffer, too.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:06 PM on March 20, 2002

The Israelis, as far as I see, have no hatred toward the Palestinians as a "race", only toward the political aims of the terrorists who murder Israeli civilians.

from the Irish Times: An advocate of the "transfer" of all Palestinians out of Palestine, who used words like lice, vermin or a cancer to describe them, Zeevi was the very incarnation of all that is most extreme, bellicose and racist in Israeli society, and had just resigned from the Cabinet because he did not think that Sharon was extreme enough.

After the Arabs get rid of the Jews, they'll go after the Christians.

Many Arabs are Christians.
posted by riviera at 9:28 AM on March 28, 2002

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