Odds and Ends for This Week’s End
I wanted to write a standard post but got afraid it would leave me with little time for Sabbath preparations, so I’m doing a potpourri instead. Daily Kos gets the [dis]honorable first mention, and then I bring something from the Council for Secular Humanism that's been driving me mad for too many times.
From the diary What are WE fighting for? IP Insanity poll, by Eric S. I should note first off that Eric S is one of the better posters there; I disagree with him, and I think he still suffers from much naiveté about the whole conflict (example to follow), yet he is truly a poster I can call even-handed (in contrast to the anti-Zionist posters who misleadingly call themselves such). His diary is a meta-diary, trying desperately to counter the culture of (his words) “personal attack, innuendo, self-righteousness, and accusatory politics” that permeates the Israel/“Palestine” diaries of Daily Kos. He says of that:
It doesn't have to be that way.
That’s where the “naïve” part comes in: the I/“P” debate on DKos is acrimonious because the real-life I/“P” conflict is acrimonious. This is about a fight for survival, according to both narratives, with real, all too real, consequences, as well as the belief that this regional conflict is behind all others in the world (an erroneous belief, but that’s part of the debate). There’s no chance the debate could take place any other way.
And Eric’s diary is proof of this. One of the first comments, by “planyourday”, has the title, “‘Israel’ side of debate doesn’t have the facts”, followed by a list of anti-Israel talking points (sample: “Israel is building a huge Berlin Wall […]”). The comments in response, including from Eric S himself, rightly display outrage at a comment that is diametrically opposed to the very purpose of the diary. But the comment only goes to show that the acrimony of the I/“P” debate is a natural, unavoidable part of it.
Then there is a poll for the diary. That itself is a teaching occasion. Just two caveats by Eric S about the options:
- Option #4 has a mistake (polls on DKos can’t be corrected): “[…] Greater Israel” should be “[…] Land of Israel”, and that means “all of current Israel, the Golan Heights, the West Bank and Gaza”.
- Option #5 means that all Israeli Jews should be thrown out (G-d forbid), including those of Tel-Aviv and Haifa, while throwing them out of Judea and Samaria alone is covered by option #1.
With those points in mind, here are the results as of my taking the screenshot shortly before writing this (I’ll have to include an update after the Sabbath to see where the wind has blown):
- I believe in a two state solution with compromises on both sides: 30 votes = 65%
- A single state for Israelis & Palestinians is the only fair solution: 3 votes = 6%
- I prefer the status quo to continue: 0 votes
- Further marginalize or remove the Palestinians from Greater Israel: 1 vote = 2%
- Zionism is corrupt at its core, the colonizers must go: 10 votes = 21%
- Other: 2 votes = 4%
The diplomatic proposal gets the majority, but the runner-up, at 21% with 10 votes, is the suggestion that all the Jews of the land be thrown out (G-d forbid).
Commenter “dfb1968” on the diary (describing himself thus: “and by the way, in spite of my Israeli right-wing views, I, too, chose Response #1”), had this to say on the result:
And by the way, to those choosing Poll Response #5, I say, I'm armed. If you believe this so much, get your ass over here and try to kick me out of my house.
Good on him, but I have just one question: why did you vote for option #1? Option #1 means kicking the Jews of Judea and Samaria out of their houses. This is particularly strange from someone who had this to say, in another comment, about the suggestion of “planyourday” that the Israel/“Palestine” problem would largely be solved if Israel withdrew to its 1967 borders: “Yes, because those borders did wonders for peace before June 5, 1967”. There are the malicious and there are the naïve, but “dfb1968” sounds like he’s neither, so what’s his excuse? I’m veritably confused.
More from the DKos shennanigans is a good catch by LGF: The Protocols of the Daily Kos (that’s a title Charles gives to many DKos posts displaying Jew-hatred), featuring cartoons on the “Zionism = Nazism” theme by Ben Heine. It was quickly condemned and tagged as a “troll diary”. Whether out of true shame or out of fear of linkage by the “right-wing trolls” isn’t what I’d like to discuss now; I wrote the following on that LGF thread (comment #360):
To their credit, they disavow it. However, the very fact that someone thinks Daily Kos would be a receptive platform for such material is something that deserves thinking about.
The passing of the torch of Jew-hatred to the Left is something Jews everywhere should consider. Hijab Nancy may not be deserving of that Jewish vote, possibly.
Now for the tidbit from the Council for Secular Humanism. For some reason the talk of militant atheists (and their split with the moderate ones) has taken off all of a sudden (examples: Gates of Vienna, Hot Air), so this is relevant. My definitive post on this kind of thing is one from October 5, 2006 that a lot of people must have gotten tired of seeing me link to, but the cowardice never stops riling me, even after the 1,000th time.
Cover of the Council’s magazine, Free Inquiry, for April/May 2007:
And here are some of the titles from the contents page:
- What Really Happened? The Rise of Primitive Christianity, 30-70 c.e.
- The Religion Department The Jesus Project
- A Word from Ingersoll Is Christianity a Failure?
- The Theocons: Secular America under Siege By Damon Linker
Look, as an Orthodox Jew, I have no dog in this fight. Jesus doesn’t figure into my belief system in any way, except for the fact that, assuming his historicity (which I do, by the way), he was a Jew (a fact that many people tend to overlook). But will you tell me why, just why, in the year 2007, you insist on focusing on something that’s really a non-issue in our day and age, to the detriment of trying to address the real problem we have before us? Just like the recent drill of a terrorist attack against children (G-d forbid) that put the villains as “right-wing crusaders”. And cut of the same cloth as the Marxists’ obsession with the now almost irrelevant issue of racism.
“Chocolate Mohammed” and “The Mohammed Project: What Really Happened?” coming up your way soon—not. As Pastorius would say: [expletive] cowards.
Update, for about 9 PM, as I said I’d do. Poll results:
- I believe in a two state solution with compromises on both sides: 49 votes = 59%
- A single state for Israelis & Palestinians is the only fair solution: 10 votes = 12%
- I prefer the status quo to continue: 0 votes
- Further marginalize or remove the Palestinians from Greater Israel: 5 votes = 6%
- Zionism is corrupt at its core, the colonizers must go: 14 votes = 16%
- Other: 5 votes = 6%
The main reason that the percentage for option #5 got lower is the increase in the other votes, particularly option #1; however, 4 votes for option #5 were added after I closed shop for the Sabbath.
As for the diary itself, it has turned to pretty much the usual DKos I/“P” diary, with exactly the things Eric S complained about at the top of it. The regular pro-“Palestine” (=anti-Israel) commenters are vehement in their insistence that Eric’s irenic, level-headed stance is wrong, and that only Israel, as a “colonialist settler state” (this by “litho”), bears the responsibility for the conflict and for ending it.
A final message for Eric S: Eric, you’re a well-meaning and thoughtful person, but you’re running against the same wall that I did at the beginning of this decade, that which you mention in your diary, namely demonization. Throughout the 1990’s, instead of bringing the end of hatred between the two sides, demonization only got stronger. Look at Egypt, the model state for “land for peace” deals with Israel: Israel has had a military peace with it since 1978, but it is the state with the most prolific output of anti-Jewish material in the world. It saddens me to have to engage in demonization of the other side myself today, but I have no choice, for our gentlemanliness is only getting us murdered, not gaining us any good points in the sight of those who hate us, and the Daily Kos Israel/“Palestine” scene is one of many demonstrations of that. I wish, I really wish, the former methods worked; I wish we could all just sit down and sing kumbaya. But there is what we wish, and there is what is real, and reality is cruel and merciless. Reality is an enemy who, instead of building its life up, has opted to keep the refugee camps, to transmit the status of “refugee” to the next generations; an enemy who raises those next generations on “the glory of suicide martyrdom” instead of teaching them peace, and that’s not just in my neck of the woods, but worldwide, in such far away places from here as Thailand, Britain and, yes, even your own country, the United States of America.
What are YOU fighting for? You’re not fighting for anything yet. You ain’t seen nearly anything yet. 9/11, great atrocity that it certainly was, was only a foretaste. And you won’t be able to appease yourselves out of it. Better stop all this foolishness and join Israel in fighting a menace every bit as dangerous as the two previous fascisms (Nazism, Communism). That’s the real war, although even your arch-enemy, President Bush, isn’t fighting it, strange as it may sound. And you will not be able to escape that reality for long.