Monday, June 7, 2010

The Deafening Sound of Silence

It’s a dark day for journalism. Helen Thomas “retired” today amid the furor over her remarks on Israel. The 89 year old Thomas has been a White House reporter since the end of the Eisenhower administration.

I don’t know which part of it all saddens me most. She apologized for making a perfectly fair proposition, that those who are occupying Palestine should “get the hell out” and go back to where they came from (largely Germany, Poland and the US). While I don’t support the forceful removal of anyone, the best solution for “Israel” would be if everyone there collectively left of their own free will.

Suppose you support a two-state solution, however. Maybe Ms. Thomas’ remarks are a bit crass to one who believes Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish nation (for whatever reason… *cough* holocaust *cough*). Are her comments so harsh that they warrant this response?

Her comment was compared to shipping black people back to Africa. This is kind of ironic, because Israel was founded in this way. Europeans were sick of Jews, so they killed many of them. They couldn’t stand them even after the war, so they shipped them off to Israel. Sure, there were some pesky Muslims living there, but fighter plane squadrons, tank battalions, rockets, and more assault rifles than citizens can be a convincing bargaining chip in land disputes.

Israel is a nation founded thanks to anti-Semitism. Had Jews not faced so much persecution, and had European nations not desperately wanted to get rid of them, Israel wouldn’t exist today. If everyone could just get along and play nice, this would have never happened (which is not to say it was inevitable…).

No. Saying Israelis should leave Palestine is actually like… like telling Americans to go back to Europe. What Israel is doing to the Palestinians is really no different than what we did to the Native Americans.

Yet, by Israeli logic, it would be quite fair for the native tribes to come forward and demand the land and homes of all those living in… say… New York and Florida. Ancestral land is ancestral land, right? I wonder if the Jewish lawyers in those areas would handle their cases.

My question: how much suffering must the Palestinians endure before we can stop blindly siding with Israel? At what point have the Palestinians gone through their own holocaust?


  1. You can't turn back history, which has seen innumerable nations conquered and lost. Ancestral claims don't mean dick (however it should be pointed out that historically there is no doubt that the Jews were there long before the muslims because Islam is a much newer religion than Judaism). The Jews are back there to stay. They'll fight like hell because they have nowhere else to go. The muslim nations of the world should take in the Palestinians to demonstrate they have any shred of humanity, and while they're at it they should join the modern world - free their women from serfdom and violence. Oh, and by the way, all they have to do to stop Israel's Gaza crackdown is to stop lobbing 3000 rockets per year across the border.

  2. (however it should be pointed out that historically there is no doubt that the Jews were there long before the muslims because Islam is a much newer religion than Judaism)

    I almost took you seriously until you threw that in there. Technically, if we're going by mythologies, Jews should have been given Egypt.

    Your estimate for the rockets per day is laughable. It is closer to 20-30 per month, with very few casualties. Compare this with massive strikes against ridiculously under equipped Palestinians resulting in civilian casualties in the thousands (no exaggeration there).

    Oh, and by the way, all they have to do to stop Israel's Gaza crackdown is to stop lobbing 3000 rockets per year across the border.

    So you collectively punish the whole population for the actions of a few? And you wonder they they attack you? Maybe they lost a loved one to one of your carelessly punitive assaults. You seem pissed off about a few rocket attacks, imagine if everyone you knew had lost someone. That is the situation of the Palestinians.

    You are an idiot, and I hope someone slips bacon into your kugel.

  3. Unfortunately, it seems that the U.S. will continue to blindly defend (or at least ignore) whatever crimes Israel might commit. I don't see this changing anytime soon.

    But it is hard for me to get too upset over it when I see our president refusing to prosecute his predecessors for the war crimes to which they have confessed. How can we possibly be expected to do the right thing with Israel when we refuse to hold our own leaders accountable for torture and illegal wiretapping?

  4. As for Israel claiming the land as theirs through ancestry . . . well dig deep enough into the ground and you find that Israelis budded off from the Canaanites. Archeological evidence shows that they emerged there as tribal society that evolved from the Canaanites and slowly grew over time into their own kingdom.

    So, they were there all along, but so were the Canaanites. All of Joshua's exploits are mythological stories that we take way too seriously today.

    When I look at it from that angle, I just see it as one big nasty mess fueled by religion.

    @Vjack: Small world. I seem to keep bumping into you online. I bet one day we might also bump into each other face to face one of these days.

  5. In all honesty many Israelis can't go back from where they came from. After the war many Jews attempted to return to their homes in poland and germany from the concentration camps and the new squatters would kill them on the spot.

    Also you have a large amount of Israelis originally from Arab lands and there is no way in hell their former neighbors will let them move back now, considering they kicked them out in the first place.

    I am not saying that this warrants occupation or anything, and there are indeed many new Jews coming in from Russia and the US and do have the ability to move back. But you can't ignore that this is not a reasonable option for many Israelis displacing them would be no less inhumane than what the displacement of the Palestinians. It is a tough issue, but a simple all Jews go to US, Poland or Germany is not really a feasable nor a moral solution to the issue.

  6. Thank you for commenting, it's always nice to have old posts still read by others.

    I understand that Jewish people have gone through difficulties and that they are the victims of persecution. This does not excuse them from committing their own injustices, however.

    If a man has his home taken from him, his family killed, his possessions taken away, it is still a crime if he takes the home of someone else, kills their relatives, and takes their things.

    Thomas' point, I believe, is valid, even if some Polish or German communities would be hostile towards them (I think you'd find there are cases where there is, but there were people who did go back, so clearly some could have). Since there was the option of going to a nation like the US or applying for amnesty elsewhere, I find the notion that invading another country and displacing its people to be a cop-out at best, a crime against humanity as worst.

  7. I agree with this, like I said I never said this warrants occupation, just that it is something to take into consideration that by kicking out the occupiers in order to resolve the problem of one refugee you are in effect creating the same problem with another refugee.

    This was the case when Jews occupied Palestinian lands, the same problem will occur if the Palestinians successfully kick out the Jews, you'll still have a bunch of refugees that no one wants.


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