« Photo Friday (Vol. XX*XV) [sacred & profane edition] | Main | An open letter »

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Those people...

I must say, I'm having a lot of trouble maintaining my position here in mid-stream on the rushing currents of Israeli politics.

It's not that my views have changed that much... but rather I can't help the fact that more and more I am being forced to take people to task who are politically to the left of me for using inflammatory language... which ends up making me appear as though I am firmly entrenched on the political right. 

Political relativism aside, I still consider myself a centrist with a strong moral rudder that allows me to veer both right and left when necessary.

However, what keeps pushing my buttons lately is hearing/seeing people stake out a position against the anti-disengagement crowd without making even a token effort at espousing a rational pro-disengagement philosophy.

A relatively new blog on the scene here in Israel called 'Something Something' is written by a couple of eloquent people calling themselves simply 'he & she'.  I check it a few times a week because, while I don't agree with many of their opinions... I can always learn something from a well-written opinion piece... especially one that challenges me to mentally defend my own views. 

In fact, I firmly believe that many of Israel's social and political problems stem from people not paying enough attention to opinions other than their own.

Unfortunately, when I surfed over to read the latest installment on 'Something Something' all of my circuits blew. 

I would really rather not try to summarize the post that set me off because I know I can't be completely fair.  Go read it and then come back.  I'll wait.

Here's my response (warts and all):

I must say that I am a bit taken aback by the tone and content of your post.

You expressed very strong feelings against the color orange and the people who have chosen it as their banner, yet you have said nothing about your own beliefs on disengagement. This is, unfortunately, very typical of many on the far left today. Their agenda is not a free-standing one, but rather an active opposition of anything they perceive as coming from the religious and/or right.

You mentioned the actions of a couple of lunatics as your reason for denouncing the entire disengagement movement, yet you ignored the responsible, non-violent actions of the disengagement movement as if it doesn't exist (and yes, irresponsible/dangerous actions are loudly denounced by both the leaders and participants in the anti-disengagement camp!). This selective presentation of facts is both intellectually dishonest and blatantly biased. I doubt you would want someone in Europe to judge you as an Israeli based only on what they read about some underworld crime figure in Tel Aviv.

I have a feeling that if the government made a decision to give away your home you would do exactly what most of the settlers have sworn to do, which is to use all means of protest and civil disobedience at their disposal... and then walk away in tears once all efforts have failed.

These people are not criminals or evil. They were encouraged to live in Gaza by a grateful government who applauded them for their pioneering spirit in building a paradise amongst the sand dunes. What changed from that time to this? If a general orders his troops to pull back they have no choice but to comply... but these people are civilians and not bound to follow orders blindly. Regardless of what you feel about disengagement, you cannot ignore the basic issue of forcefully relacating Jews from their homes simply because they are Jews.

You insinuated that part of the 'orange agenda' is injuring police and soldiers, yet you made no mention of the many documented unprovoked injuries that have been inflicted on demonstrators by the police and mishmar hagvul. The leaders and organizers of the anti-disengagement movement have done a tremendous amount to ensure that protests and demonstrations are conducted responsibly, and without violence... can the police say the same?

You are entitled to have your say, but please recognise that blindly opposing someone else's opinion is not really the same as having an opinion of your own.

Pretty shrill and strident of me, huh? 

I will freely admit that I find it personally infuriating when people don't share my opinion on important issues.  I doubt that this small failing of mine is unique.  But to hate someone so much that you lose sight of your own position?  That's not only not rational... but the barely concealed hatred of an entire group of people because they hold an opinion different than one's own is repugnant. 

For the record, I actively denounce political violence and irresponsible/inflamatory language whenever I hear or see it (regardless of whether it comes from the right or left of me).  But I really try not to get so carried away (read: pissed off) that I lose sight of my own position relative to theirs!

If you oppose disengagement, please state your case... protest enthusiastically... demonstrate peacefully... march the length and breadth of the country... and even pray with all your might.  If you support the disengagement please do likewise.  We live in a democracy, so every demonstration and editorial is a celebration of what makes Israel unique here in the middle east.

But please, please don't pretend that the people who don't share your opinion are evil or sub-human.  They are not... and you are not. 

Nothing good can come from an orgy of schadenfreude at seeing someone else's agenda on the verge of being defeated when your own hatred has left you adrift in a sea of vitriol without an agenda of your own.

What this country needs is a couple of years of marriage counseling to learn how to fight amongst ourselves.  Both the right and left need to learn that at the end of the day we will all be sharing this big lumpy bed called Israel with 'those people' (meaning those with whom we are presently angry)... so everyone needs to fight fair and not say too many things that can't be taken back.

[UPDATE: Dave (author of A Current Window) was thoughful enough to post a link to a wonderful 'kevvanah' (meditation) that one should have in mind while reciting the prayer for the State of Israel.  I thought it was important enough to share the link here in case you aren't in the habit of checking the comments.  Thanks Dave!]

221_16_5_32

Posted by David Bogner on July 24, 2005 | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c581e53ef00e5505212818834

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Those people...:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Edah put out yesterday a very fitting "kavvanah" to say before the prayer for the State of Israel.

http://www.edah.org/kavvanah.pdf

Seems to fit in with what you're saying...

Posted by: Dave | Jul 24, 2005 2:22:10 PM

Dave... Perfect! I hadn't seen this and it perfectly sums up my feelings. I have added an update to the end of today's post with a link to the document because there are a lot of people who don't read comments... and I don't know one person who wouldn't benefit from internalizing what is written there. Thanks again.

Posted by: David | Jul 24, 2005 2:55:50 PM

Your response to that post was perfect and your points well-made. I quite agree with you about this.

I have gone back and forth about the disengagement a zillion times in my mind and posts such as his make me furious. They say nothing rational or productive.

Posted by: Stacey | Jul 24, 2005 4:57:17 PM

I strongly agree that a centrist and strong moral rudder is needed at least when it comes to public discourse. "What this country needs is a couple of years of marriage counseling to learn how to fight amonst ourselves." Yes, but could mediators are hard to come by, and plenty of marriages don't get patched together after a certain point.

Let me know what you think of my brief dvar Torah for today's fast, because I also want to see us better anchored than "adrift in a sea of vitriol". Kol tuv,

Kaspit

Posted by: kaspit | Jul 24, 2005 5:25:29 PM

Very good. But are you going to tell us which side you're on, or is this going to be like the American Presidential elections?

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jul 24, 2005 6:42:38 PM

"What this country needs is a couple of years of marriage counseling to learn how to fight amongst ourselves."

So true.

Reminds me of something I once heard by Rav Riskin. He said that the tradgedy in Israel is that there are so many different Jews with so many different dreams and no one is interested in hearing anyone else's dream. People are only interested in telling other people what their dream is. To portray that idea he contrasted American and Israeli political discourse. He said that when he was on "Nightline" they were directed to lift a finger if they had something to say. He was on the Israeli equivalent of "Nightline" a few times and he said that every time he was told to shout out whatever it is he wants to say whenever he wants to say it. Nobody ever listens to anybody else.

Posted by: tmeishar | Jul 24, 2005 7:03:04 PM

This sounds all too familiar. You could change the terms slightly and talk about being for Bush or Kerry and it would be the same. There is an unhealthy level of anger in the world right now.

Too many prefer to debate by dehumanizing the opposition and refusing to accept that there may be any validity to the other side.

That is how you end up in a situation in which people throw out terms like "nazi" so haphazardly.

Posted by: Jack | Jul 24, 2005 7:39:40 PM

i agree with your comments.those who took a risk and built homes in gaza should be treated with the respect they deserve

Posted by: richard | Jul 24, 2005 9:20:01 PM

Stacey... Thank you for saying so. Going back and forth about an issue is perfectly legitimate... and so is having a strong fixed position. Vilifying an entire group of people rather than take issue with their position is not ok.

Kaspit... If you're implying that a 'divorce' is an option... We did the civil war thing and divided the nation already. It didn't turn out well for most of the Jewish people.

Doctor Bean... I have... several times. :-)

Tmeishar... Have you ever watched the Knesset in session? The leaders need to lead by example.

Jack... People that will devalue a word will devalue a person.

Richard... Even if one isn't inclined to view the settlers as heroes or pioneers, To call them the enemy is a gross misdirection of anger.

Posted by: David | Jul 24, 2005 10:17:07 PM

I have... several times. :-)

Oh. I guess I must have missed it. I don't read this blog that often!

Care to throw me a bone / link, or should I search the site for "Gaza"?

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jul 24, 2005 11:13:04 PM

Doctor Bean... Feel free to search the site. But be warned... I am not defined by any one position I may take any more than those people in orange are defined solely by their choice of color. My position on this particular issue is pretty straight forward, but my sympathies do not necessarily cut the same way as my common sense. What set me off on my rant today was that this woman decided for herself that this enemy in orange was some one-dimensional demon.

Posted by: David | Jul 24, 2005 11:22:49 PM

Hmmm... A search for "Gaza" leads to about a dozen posts. I haven't looked through all of them. But I have to think that I read virtually all of them when they were first posted. I admit my memory isn't what it used to be. Many posts criticized the tone / language / tactics of one side or another, but I don't recall anything like "I think the disengagement plan is a good/bad idea. Here's why I'm for/against it. Moreover, here's a picture of my bee hive."

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jul 24, 2005 11:22:58 PM

My position on this particular issue is pretty straight forward

So tell me what it is! Stop worrying about being stereotyped. I have friends of every political stripe. Right now, I have you pegged as a person whose opinion about (almost) every issue is on the right, but whose liberal upbringing and emotional regard for liberalism (and perhaps emotional distaste for Israeli conservatives) makes him unable to come out of the right-wing closet.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jul 24, 2005 11:28:00 PM

Oh. OK. Thanks.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jul 24, 2005 11:35:25 PM

i understand completely. i am relatively middle of the road, sometimes right leaning, but esp here in california i come off as some right wing nutjob to people. i am always shocked when someone accuses me of being that way.

i think you had a good reply though.

Posted by: Lisa | Jul 25, 2005 1:18:19 AM

Stacey...I once heard that the biggest oxymoron is an apolitical Israeli. How very true! : )

0

Posted by: jaime | Jul 25, 2005 2:23:24 AM

Opposing the disengagement, I understand is against the law….as much peace is a positive result of disengagement I hope it's not going to provide a leeway to the division of Jerusalem.

Posted by: kakarizz | Jul 25, 2005 12:14:57 PM

oops! I meant....Opposing the disengagement, I understand is against the law….as much as peace is a positive result of disengagement I hope it's not going to provide a leeway to the division of Jerusalem.

Posted by: kakarizz | Jul 25, 2005 12:18:16 PM

I don't understand.

You said the left needs to pick its own agenda and not just react to the right?

I think that's a little funny since it's the right who is anti-disengagement. Meaning, it is the left who is taking the position that it wants to disengage. And it is the right who is against that.

Maybe it is the right who should pick its own issue besides making the state of Israel as vulnerable as possible in the upcoming month.

Posted by: SF | Jul 25, 2005 2:26:54 PM

Thanks for pointing this out, David, I left my own comment for "her".

When the police blocked the busses with the Kfar Maimon demonstrators I was very much reminded of the "Hamburger Kessel" in June 1986 in Germany. German police cordoned a group of about 800 people off and did not let them move for several hours. Among the 800 were certainly quite some violence-prone demonstrators. The previous day there had seen an extremely violent demonstration.

However, German courts decided afterwards that the police was not justified in their action and awarded a small sum as compensation to each demonstrator.

Posted by: Ruth | Jul 25, 2005 2:37:37 PM

In addition to marriage counselling, we could all do with a dose of Dr. Harvey Karp's "The Happiest Toddler on the Block" to prevent temper tantrums. He advocates listening first and acknowledging the validity of someone else's feelings and needs to help them make the first step past Neanderthal behavior. I really worry about the infantile level of discourse we experience nowadays from the media and from highly emotional rhetoric, and not only in Israel.

Posted by: savtadotty | Jul 25, 2005 5:31:35 PM

This is a tough issue for anybody that cares about Israel. Not only is it tearing apart the Israeli public, I think it is tearing apart many individuals too.

I feel for the settlers, and I feel for the soldiers who have to face them.

Nobody wins here.

Posted by: psychotoddler | Jul 25, 2005 10:35:11 PM

Do you see a diference between gaza and the Northern Shomron region? The Israeli / Jewish connection to Gaza is much more tenous when compared to other regions the Government is considering giving away.

Posted by: D & C | Jul 25, 2005 11:00:49 PM

PT,

Your comments reminded me of a song from the play 'Chess.' It is called 'Nobodys Sside.'

Everybody's playing the game
But nobody's rules are the same
Nobody's on nobody's side
Better learn to go it alone
Recognize you're out on your own
Nobody's on nobody's side

Posted by: Jack | Jul 25, 2005 11:12:17 PM

David,
You are being a bit disingenuous. The policy of the government of the State of Israel is to disengage from Gaza, including moving a population of 9,000 Jewis settlers to different locations. Those on the right in protest are theones against something, with no clear idea of how to proceed with furthuring relations with israel's neighbor other than to maintain the status quo. Yes, some on the left have negative feelings towards their religious or right wing fellow citizens, but the extreme, holocaust laden, negative rhetoric is much more a characteristic of the peaceful, responsible right, than the left, who merely want to follow through with the stated government policy.
Now, you may say I don't understand, but since i am just as good at rhetoric (bulls**t) as you, we can dispense with the tricks we use to discredit the other side.
If you were really calling for a calming of the political speech prevelant both in israel and the US, you would be better served discussing the issues and theior various legitimate and faulty arguments rather than start off by pointing your finger at the political left.
Having said all that, I agree with you ingeneral that our political language has reached new heights of innsanity. But i do not agree that it is coming from any one point. You should check out last weeks NYT magazine for a discussion by Matt Bai about "framing."


Posted by: Jordan Hirsch | Jul 25, 2005 11:33:09 PM

Lisa... Forget what other people think. You just go on thinking all the issues through and following your conscience. Good for you!

Kakarizz... It isn't illegal to oppose the disengagement. It is illegal to try to block the disengagement by acts of civil disobedience. As to Jerusalem, Shimon Peres has just made an announcement that there can be no peace with the Palestinians unless we Divide Jerusalem. Sometimes I wonder what he is thinking about! What have the Palestinians done to deserve such a compromise??? They haven't stopped the terrorists... they haven's stopped filling their children's schoolbooks with incitement and blood libels... they haven't even officially recognized Israel's right to exist. Why are we rewarding them over and over?

SF... No, what I said was "This is, unfortunately, very typical of many on the far left today. Their agenda is not a free-standing one, but rather an active opposition of anything they perceive as coming from the religious and/or right." Notice I said 'many' and 'far'. I was very careful not to overgeneralize. Now to your other statement. Opposing a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and the transfer of a population simply because of their religion/nationality is something that many people find repugnant... and so they oppose it. Using words like disengagement may provide some semantic cover for your argument, but it is crystal clear for those who do not want to be forced out of their homes that they are opposing something tangible, and not just reacting to the left. When you say, "Maybe it is the right who should pick its own issue besides making the state of Israel as vulnerable as possible in the upcoming month" I had to laugh. If this isn't the right's issue, I don't know what is. And as to making the country vulnerable, I suppose you still think Oslo didn't make the country vulnerable.

Ruth... I have been so upset about the police stopping both buses and cars without legal cause that I have not been able to write about it. Maybe one day I will have the distance necessary to approach the subject.

Savtadotty... to acknowledge the validity of someone else's point of view one needs to actually acknowledge that other points of view exist. :-)

psychotoddler... Unfortunately, both the left and right lose... but the terrorists get another one in the win column.

D& C... I think there has been less hand wringing over the northern Shomron so far because there are relatively few people living in those communities. Also, There is already a precedent of swapping land and adjusting borders in that part of the country that goes back to Ben Gurion and King Abdullah.

Jack... Perfect.

Jordan... If you will notice, this whole rant was not about disengagement, but rather about a very mixed up woman who has mistaken anyone wearing orange for the enemy. I reserve the right to single out anyone if I think they have said something offensive or dangerous. I have been very judicious with when and how I state my position on any number of issues here... but sometimes it's possible to not state a position, but rather take exception to a specific statement without being accused of being a reactionary. As to your point about how things are positioned... yes, the right is opposing a policy (meaning they are the negative to someone else's positive), but it is a clear position. If someone comes to remove you from your home it is not incumbent upon you to provide an alternative plan! It is enough that you don't feel you should be made to leave. Moreover, it seems it is incumbent upon the people who want you to leave to define exactly how your leaving is going to bring peace. 'She' from Something Something was simply venting at the right because she hates them and wants to see them defeated. That's not a compelling reason for people to be removed from their homes. There are several levels of this issue. One is what each side thinks is the best short term approach to dealing with the Palestinians. The other is the issue of whether it is ethically/morally permissible to transfer a population based solely on their religion/nationality. Some would call this ethnic cleansing. I know if anyone stood up in the Knesset and suggested forcibly transferring Arab villages to Jordan that is exactly the term many people would be throwing around! In this post I did not intend to get into either of these levels, but rather simply wanted to point out that nothing whatsoever can be served by the kind of hateful message that was contained in 'Something Something's' post.

Posted by: David | Jul 26, 2005 12:04:23 AM

David, you just made me think of something I hadn't remembered in years. About 17 years ago I was doing a rotation in Einstein with a Medical Student from Israel, and we were discussing these issues, albeit from the other point of view.

At the time I recall thinking that the only real way to keep control of the territories might be to remove the indigent Arab population. He was horrified with the idea of "transfer" and couldn't believe any Jew could consider it.

And here we are now, talking about the same thing, but applying it to Jews. Suddenly it's not so inconceivable.

Posted by: psychotoddler | Jul 26, 2005 4:01:34 AM

David, you make good points as usual, but referring to the relocation efforts of disengagement as "transfer" is in and of itself an inflammatory use of language. If we called it a straightening of defensive line, or the pulling back of a salient, we would be using the language of tactics and strategy, which I think are highly appropriate. As for that woman, well, c',mon, she is just one idiot, and much less representative of her side than those calling the dsengagement "ethnic cleansing" or "expulsion."
The jews of Gaza are being relocated because they are in an exosed salient. It may be the stupidest idea ever, but it is not ethnic cleansing, and it is certainly not a transfer.

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch | Jul 26, 2005 5:40:41 AM

David,

I have read the original post from She over more carefully, must sday that i think your criticism of her post is simply inaccurate. She makes it very clear that she is not condeming all religious people, only those involved in sme of the more outrageous act of protest. She is not even critical of all the opponents to disengagement, but rather to those Ii mentioned above. Her only objection to the anti disengagement side is that condemnation of extremist behavior seems too infrequent.

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch | Jul 26, 2005 5:51:21 AM

So you are justifying the damage the protestors will be inflicting on the country because Oslo failed?

Every police officer and soldier will be working to keep the protestors from entering Gaza and rioting and simultaneously opening up cities to violence.

Posted by: SF | Jul 26, 2005 8:07:09 AM

Jordan, she makes it clear that she is not condemning all religious people in much the same way that some folks exclaim, "but some of my best friends are [insert minority or other here]." Moreover, she brands the movement as a whole as hateful. The enemey is orange. I would never dream to call my fellow countrymen who support the disengagement as my enemy. They are my countrymen -- I may disagree with them, and their perspective may make me angry, but I can not bring myself to use such an inflammatory word to describe my relationship with them.

The truth is that the majority of the protests are peaceful and the soldiers and police are being treated by the protesters as they themselves would like to be treated. The media is focusing [surprise, surprise] on the less peaceful protests and thus the picture is wildly misrepresented.

During this difficult time, and especially during the three weeks, the extremists on both sides would do well to remember that we must unify rather than divide. As you well know, the Beit HaMikdash was destroyed for sinat chinam (baseless hatred). The more fractured and violently opposed we are against one another, the easier it will be for our enemy to accomplish their goals. I don't understand how everyone is losing site of this very frightening potential.

Lastly, as David began, his post was his response to an attack on an idea without substantiation. The author of that post did not balance her perspective on why she supports the disengagement, but rather presented the issue as simply being against the protesters. I think that while rants like this in private are, perhaps, theraputic and enable us to "get it out of our systems" that public rants like this fuel palpable anger and only succeed in further dividing people on issues which desparately require cooler heads to remediate.

SF, you are guilty of using provocative language to further your own agenda, and that is exactly what prompted David to write this post in the first place. He is hardly justifying damage or violence -- he is very angry, as are many people these days, that the rhetoric and desire to be correct prevent the various sides from having intellectually honest discussions about the issues. Respect for a different point of view seems to have flown out the window these days.

Civic discourse, no matter how emotional, needs to remain civil. Dehumanizing the opposition may make it easier to score a win, but what will be lost in the process?

Posted by: zahava | Jul 26, 2005 9:09:38 AM

Well David, I must say that first of all, I would hardly consider myself as being mixed up. Perhaps in my original post(I have since posted an additional entry on the subject - don't know if you've bothered to read it), I should have made more of an effort to differentiate between those who are simply against the disengagement, and those who are using it to justify their actions against the police, the military, and the citizens of Israel as a whole, making a mockery of our justice system.

Furthermore, you are making an assumption that I am "simply venting at the right because I hate them and want to see them defeated." Sorry, but you've got it wrong. You are overgeneralizing. While I'm against the settlements and in favor of disengagement, I don't hate the right (despite the fact that I strongly disagree with everything they stand for). What I hate is the way that a number of individuals (coincidentally, with a tendency to accessorize using the color orange) have been taking the law into their own hands, clashing with security forces, verbally and physically assaulting them, keeping them busy with fake bombs in bus stations (which is just sick, given our mental fragility with regard to such things), provocatively using symbols of the Holocaust, and vandalism in general. I do not want to see the right defeated, I just happen to strongly believe that as long as we remain in the Territories, the situation for both peoples (and yes, there are two peoples here, whether some people like it or not) will continue to deteriorate. If we pull out of the Territories, even if we cannot achieve peace, we will be doing ourselves a favor by removing ourselves from their midst, leaving the Palestinians to sort out their own problems without unnecessarily risking the lives of Jews living there. We can never achieve normalcy (and we will lose the demographic war) if we stay there. It's that simple.

Also, I have to say that in all the comments I've seen on your blog and on ours, with few exceptions, I have been repeatedly (and often harshly) attacked for what I wrote (with someone even suggesting that I see a therapist to work through my hidden suicidal tendencies), yet hardly anyone actually condemned the actions to which I'd referred. The knee-jerk reaction was to go on the attack instead of trying to explain to me how I was wrong. If these people think that it's okay to verbally harass soldiers (who are probably not in that situation because they want to be), to cheapen the most horrific tragedy of our time (the Holocaust) by comparing it to the disengagement, and to wage war against all those who disagree with their beliefs (or those who have not taken a stand, who are just trying to get home from work in the afternoon without having their path blocked or their bus station evacuated), well, frankly, perhaps my words were not so far off the mark.

Posted by: She | Jul 26, 2005 9:29:45 AM

Psychotoddler... My problem is still that it would be considered unthinkable and racist to move a portion of the Arab population against their will (whatever you decide to call it), yet it is OK to do so to Jews.

Jordan... You are being blinded by the few small caveats she wrote late in her post... essentially saying "I'm sure there are good right wingers" or "Some of my best friends are settlers". When she states clearly at the outset that she has come to view an orange stuffed animal on her desk as the enemy for no other reason than it is orange... that cancels out any small attempt at being even-handed later. If anyone wearing orange is the enemy, than 'she' is guilty of assuming that only those in blue are capable of nuanced, multi-level thinking. She was not condemning extremists so much as she was saying that anyone on the orange side is extreme... and the enemy.

SF... Obviously those who supported Oslo did not anticipate the damage that would occur to the country as a result of that agreement. My criticism stems from my dismay at seeing people trying to do a replay of unilateral appeasement and assuming that it will magically work this time. On the other hand, your accusation that I am "justifying the damage the protesters will be inflicting on the country", is a bit premature since, just as the left didn't know beforehand that damage would result, there is no proof that what the right wants will result in damage. Your argument and logic is flawed because you are asserting facts not in evidence.

She... Yes, I would consider you mixed up. I read your replies to commenter's on your first post, and I also read your somewhat better-reasoned second post. You have not really taken ownership of your hateful statements except to offer several "some of my best friends are settlers" type statements. You were not saying that 'a few psychos and people who place fake bombs' were the enemy. You were crystal clear that anyone in orange was deserving of universal hatred and condemnation. You knowingly drew upon the actions of a few criminal extremists to justify your hatred for a large portion of the Israeli population despite the fact that the leadership of the settler movement and many, many of the most prominent people in the anti-disengagement camp have soundly denounced these actions. While I don't consider myself a prominent person... or a person that has much influence, I felt it was important to post a journal entry last December entitled 'not in my name' doing the very same thing. I am appalled whenever anyone, right or left, makes statements or acts in a way that is hateful or potentially dangerous to the welfare of the state or its citizens. I criticized the left when they encouraged soldiers to refuse orders... and I criticised the right for doing the same thing. I know for a fact that there has been a clear differentiation between the way the demonstrators have treated soldiers and the way they have treated police. The reason for that is clear. There have been several documented (recorded, filmed and photographed) instances of senior police involved in acts of unspeakable brutality, making unlawful use of their position and issuing unlawful orders to act violently towards peaceful demonstrators. If there is a healthy distrust and lack of respect for the police, at least some of the blame must be born by the police themselves. You said, "If I were in that position, I would like to think that I would do as asked...". That is very noble of you, but until that happens you don't really know for sure. Furthermore, you still seem to think my anger (and the rather impolite comments you have received) are about whether disengagement is good or bad for the country. I have stated on several occasions that I am very grudgingly pro-disengagement... not because I think it will do any good, but rather because I don't have a better alternative than having borders that are easier to defend in the inevitable next war. My position does have limits though. I don't think we should leave Gaza under fire... and I don't see the removal of civilians ending the need for the army to constantly battle the terrorists in Gaza. I also feel very strongly that the majority of the settlers would have gladly accepted new communities such as those being offered for them north of Gaza in Netzanim, had the government approached them as honored citizens being asked to make an extraordinary sacrifice... rather than as enemies and villains. This is where my anger at you comes in. Your terribly misguided post not only aped the government's vilification of the entire anti-disengagement movement, but ratcheted up the vitriol to a new high (or actually low). The people you called the enemy are human beings... Jews... fellow Israelis. They hold complex opinions on a broad range of subjects such as civil rights, peace, education, religion, politics and life. Yet you painted all of them with a very broad brush that had been dipped in the poison of a few criminal's actions, as well as the colors of your own barely concealed prejudices. That is what my rant was about... not disengagement... not religion... not politics! I called you a bigot (although I used more words to make it sound less rude) and you responded with "I can't be a bigot!... some of my best friends are settlers!". You need to take a close look at your original post, read it with the eyes of those who don't share your views... and take ownership of the irresponsible things you said.

Posted by: David | Jul 26, 2005 3:52:40 PM

Suffice it to say that I agree neither with David or Zahava in their interpretation of the original post in question. Having said that, it behooves me to recognize that issues of peace and security resonate entirely differently in Israel than in the US, where despite the rhetoric emanating from Washington, the stakes are not nearly as high. As such, people in Israel on both sides of the argument feel there is a much smaller margin for error. Even in disagreement, we in America should be sensitive to those whose lives are put on the line by what I called tactical decisions. I pray that Sharon turns out to be right, and those who protest him today will know peace tomorrow.

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch | Jul 26, 2005 6:08:17 PM

Post a comment