Keith Sanborn on Sat, 20 Apr 2002 17:20:30 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Weak analysis

>I found the report from Amsterdam interesting and troubling in its 
>facts and its linking of Morroccans with gay bashing; the analysis 
>of what I wrote, included with that report, however, was extremely 
>weak and very far off the mark.

>>Here arabs are seen as
>>madmen who go to their deaths with a twisted ecstatic smile on their
>>faces. We hear little of the Israeli soldiers who, instructed to
>>perpetrate systematic abuses of human rights in the Occupied
>>Territories, refuse to serve there. We have no consciousness in our
>>media of the connection between the murderers of Rabin and the
>>current Israeli policies of State Terrorism. In our media the
>>Israelis are seen to hold an absurd monopoly on the term
>>I am saddened by the behavior of both parties in this conflict. But
>>it was clearly the Israelis who walked away from the Oslo accords.
>Well, I don't live in the United States -- only in one corner of its
>mediascape (Canada) -- but I have heard tons about Israeli soldiers
>who refused to serve as soldiers;

Sorry, you have the CBC, not NBC, ABC, and CBS. There's no comparison 
in the mediascape on a day to day basis, even if you have Ted 
Turner's inflicted on you. The resistance of these extraordinarily 
courageous Israeli soldiers has not to my knowledge been widely 
reported here.

>I suspect that the meaning assigned
>to the word "anti-semitism" is the product of its Aryan-movement 19th
>c history rather than the conspiracy implied (such is the life of
>languages,; and
>"clearly" is, to understate colossally, hardly clear to everyone.

There's no conspiracy meant or implied; I was alluding to etymology, 
language and culture. I'll leave the recent arguments in comparative 
genetics out of it.

>Speaking of straw men:
>>I believe she is mistaken to think that the support of
>>the Palestinians by rightwing elements in Europe absolves the Iraeli
>>government from its crimes of Terror, of destroying the
>  >infrastructure of Palestinian lands in the name of self-defense.

>I mean, leaving aside the "rightwing" non sequitur, who would
>possibly make such a stupid argument?  She certainly didn't.  And:

Sorry again, you didn't read her very carefully, that is precisely 
the argument she made. And it was unworthy of her or anyone. That's 
why I mentioned it.

>  >The "settlers" in the occupied territories are seen as pioneers
>>reclaiming their homeland instead of invaders grabbing land.
>Your analysis of Israeli public opinion and of Israeli media coverage
>may be a bit off here.  Certainly there are a handful of folks who
>see things the way your argument needs them to, but to extrapolate
>from them to the citizenry at large is kind of weird.

I'm not analyzing Israeli public opinion, but American public 
opinion. You missed the point there as well. I can't comment on 
Israeli public opinion. I don't monitor their media and I don't speak 
Hebrew. I wouldn't offer such opinions unless I did. Do you?

>Bottom line, I guess, is that any assertion of "the way things really
>are" is likely to be conjectural unless you've actually measured
>something and folks agree on the premises of measurement.  Corollary
>being that generalities are probably not useful terms in which to
>talk, unless one is interested in epic struggles between Good and
>Evil or, more prosaically, one is interested in viewing the situation
>as a fight between two opposing sports clubs, in which case it's
>relatively easy to don the right coloured sweater, wave the right
>flag, sing the right songs, line up on the right side of things, etc.
>For what purpose, I'm not sure.

>  >In this battle, the Israelis are not the underdogs; they are the
>>overlords. And though we drown in a sea of moral contradictions, that
>>situation should not be lost sight of. From where I write, it is far
>>easier to lose sight of the crimes of State Terror than the retail
>  >crimes of terror.

This vague attempt at moral relativism is so absurd it lessens the 
credibility of everything you write. The difference between the 
terror tactics employed both by certain Palestians and the Iraeli 
government, and the tactics of two opposing teams in a sporting 
spectacle is very clear to me, even if it isn't to you. There are 
basic facts and a struggle over land and self-determination should be 
clear to anyone; they are not some opinions that came out of the air, 
no matter how you construe them.

That said, I have been to Israel and the Occupied Territories. I have 
had the same automatic rifles with a nervous finger on the trigger 
pointed in my direction that the Palestinians experience every day 
within their camps, surrounded by 15 foot high fences of barbed wire. 
So I understand an infinitesimal bit of what motivates these attacks 
by the Palestinians; I still don't agree with them, nor with the 
State Terroristic apparatus that built the fences and staffed them 
with armed soldiers.

"Bantustan" is too weak a word for what these are.

These camps, such as the one at Nazareth I visited, all too vividly 
recall too many arenas we have seen around the world at various times 
in history, yet strangely they don't appear on American TV.

I believe the impact would be shattering to the moral authority of 
the Israelis, who have garnered support by media coattailing on the 
despicable rhetoric coming from the White House about the fight 
against Terrorism. Their appearance might not only evoke painful 
scenes in European history, but might as well cause Americans to 
reflect on their own histories of internment. Perhaps Canadians might 
have similar cause for reflection in their corner of the mediascape; 
it seems in Holland, a great deal of reflection has been going on 
recently about the role of their army in genocide, if only by way of 
failing to prevent it.

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