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Bigotry in Print. Crowds Chant Murder. Something's Changed.
The Forward ^ | 5/24/02 | PAUL BERMAN

Posted on 05/29/2002 9:10:57 AM PDT by jalisco555

Fears that only yesterday seemed absurd or silly begin to seem reasonable and more than reasonable. Thoughts that might have seemed inconceivable even two months ago become not just conceivable but spoken out loud. Crowds chant utter wildness on the street. In this way, the clouds grow blacker before our eyes. Very small clouds, you may say. Still, the transformation takes place at stupendous speed. Not everyone notices. The failure to notice constitutes a small black cloud in itself.

In Washington last month, a crowd of demonstrators gathered to celebrate the modern protest rituals of the anti-globalization movement. Only, this time, the radical opposition to globalization turned into radical opposition to Israel. A portion of the crowd chanted, "Martyrs, not murderers." I suppose that many of the individuals in that part of the crowd would have explained that, in mouthing their Ms, they intended only to promote the cause of Palestinian rights, which is surely a worthy cause. But their chant was not about Palestinian rights. It was about mass murder.

I doubt that the streets of Washington have ever seen such an obscene public spectacle, at least not since the days of public slave auctions, before the Civil War. Three months ago, I imagine, the demonstrators themselves would never have dreamed of shouting such a slogan. I don't want to suggest that everyone at the anti-globalization demonstration shared those sentiments. But everyone at the anti-globalization demonstration willy-nilly ended up shoulder to shoulder with people who did feel that way. Anti-globalization protests have never been like that before.

That same month, in New York, the annual Socialist Scholars Conference assembled at the East Village's venerable Cooper Union, where Abraham Lincoln gave one of his most famous speeches. The Socialist Scholars Conference is an annual meeting of a few thousand people, most of them intellectuals of some sort. The conference has always resembled an ideological bazaar, with every ridiculous left-wing sect selling its sacred texts, side by side with sober European social democrats and American liberals.

But this year a novelist from Egypt sat on one of the panels and stated her approval of the suicide bombers. To be sure, most people at the Socialist Scholars Conference would condemn random mass murders. But there is nothing new in condemning mass murder. This year, the new event was that someone supported it, and the rest of the participants, the rank and file Socialist Scholars, sat in comradely assemblage as the argument was advanced, and someone even spoke out in the panelist's defense. The newness in this event has to be remarked.

II.

I could cite a dozen other instances where, in the last few weeks, someone in a city like New York or Washington, London or Paris, has argued or chanted in favor of mass murder — someone who has never done such a thing in the past, in settings that have never heard such arguments before, or at least not in many years. What can explain the sudden development? It is a consequence, of course, of the Israeli incursion into the West Bank — or, rather, a consequence of how the Israeli incursion has been interpreted by an immense number of people all over the world.

One of the most prominent of those interpretations has looked on the incursion as Nazism in action, which is to say, as an event of extreme and absolute evil, requiring the most extreme and absolute counter-measures. In the last few months, Israel itself has been routinely compared to Nazi Germany, and Ariel Sharon to Adolf Hitler. Exactly why large numbers of people would arrive at such a comparison is not immediately obvious. In its half-century of existence, Israel has committed its share of serious crimes and even a few massacres (though not lately, as it turns out). But the instances of Israeli military frenzy or criminal indiscipline are not especially numerous, given how often Israel has had to fight.

There has never been a hint of an extermination camp, nor anything that could be compared in grisliness with any number of actions by the governments of Syria, Iraq, Serbia and so forth around the world. Israel's wars have created refugees, to be sure; but Nazism's specialty was precisely not to create refugees. If Israel nonetheless resembles Nazi Germany, the resemblance must owe, instead, to some other factor, to some essence of the Israeli nation, regardless of the statistics of death and displacement.

The notorious old United Nations resolution (voted up in 1975 and repealed in 1991) about Zionism and racism hinted at such an essence by saying, in effect, that Israel's national doctrine, Zionism, was a doctrine of racial hatred. But why would anyone suppose that, like Nazi Germany, Israel has been built on a platform of hatred? The founding theorists of Zionism in the 19th and early 20th centuries did not escape the prevailing doctrines of their own time, but their theories were chiefly theories of Jewish national revival and self-defense. They were not theories about the inferiority or hatefulness of anyone else, not even Judaism's worst enemies of the past, the Christian churches of Europe. Why, then, the accusation about hateful essences and Zionist doctrine? This is something that is very rarely explained.

In these last weeks, though, one of the world's most celebrated writers did stand up to discuss the hateful essence and its nature. The writer was José Saramago, the Portuguese novelist who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1998. Saramago was part of an international group of writers who traveled to Ramallah to observe the Israeli siege of Yasser Arafat's compound. And, having observed the situation, Saramago came up with the same comparison as Breyten Breytenbach and any number of other people, lately. (It is fairly amazing how many otherwise serious writers have ended up choosing the same tiny set of images to apply to the Jewish state.) The situation at Ramallah, in Saramago's estimation, was "a crime comparable to Auschwitz." To the Israeli journalist who asked where the gas chambers were, Saramago gave his much-quoted reply, "Not yet here." But he also explained himself more seriously and at length in the April 21 issue of El Pais, a Madrid newspaper read and respected all over the Spanish-speaking world.

III.

Israel, in Saramago's view, has pursued immoral and hateful policies during its entire history. And why has Israel done so? Perhaps for the same reasons that other countries have pursued hateful, immoral, expansionist policies? Not at all. Saramago traced Israel's policies to biblical Judaism. He pointed to the story of David and Goliath, which, though commonly pictured as a tale of underdog triumph, is actually the story of a blond person (David's blond hair seemed to catch Saramago's attention) employing a superior technology to kill at a distance a helpless and presumably non-blond person, the unfortunate and oppressed Goliath. Today's events, in Saramago's fanciful interpretation, follow the biblical script precisely, as if in testimony to the Jews' fidelity to tradition. He writes:

The blond David of yesteryear surveys from a helicopter the occupied Palestinian lands and fires missiles at unarmed innocents; the delicate David of yore mans the most powerful tanks in the world and flattens and blows up what he finds in his tread; the lyrical David who sang praise to Bathsheba, incarnated today in the gargantuan figure of a war criminal named Ariel Sharon, hurls the 'poetic' message that first it is necessary to finish off the Palestinians in order later to negotiate with those who remain.

Saramago must have been ablaze, writing these lines.

Intoxicated mentally by the messianic dream of a Greater Israel which will finally achieve the expansionist dreams of the most radical Zionism; contaminated by the monstrous and rooted 'certitude' that in this catastrophic and absurd world there exists a people chosen by God and that, consequently, all the actions of an obsessive, psychological and pathologically exclusivist racism are justified; educated and trained in the idea that any suffering that has been inflicted, or is being inflicted, or will be inflicted on everyone else, especially the Palestinians, will always be inferior to that which they themselves suffered in the Holocaust, the Jews endlessly scratch their own wound to keep it bleeding, to make it incurable, and they show it to the world as if it were a banner. Israel seizes hold of the terrible words of God in Deuteronomy: 'Vengeance is mine, and I will be repaid.' Israel wants all of us to feel guilty, directly or indirectly, for the horrors of the Holocaust; Israel wants us to renounce the most elemental critical judgment and for us to transform ourselves into a docile echo of its will.

Israel, in short, is a racist state by virtue of Judaism's monstrous doctrines — racist not just against the Palestinians, but against the entire world, which it seeks to manipulate and abuse. Israel's struggles with its neighbors, seen in that light, do take on a unique and even metaphysical quality of genuine evil — the quality that distinguishes Israel's struggles from those of all other nations with disputed borders, no matter what the statistics of death and suffering might suggest.

Saramago, shrewder and more sophisticated than the crowds in the Washington streets or the panelist at the Socialist Scholars Conference, did condemn the suicide bombers. He did so in two throwaway sentences at the end of his essay, sneeringly, with his own expressive ellipsis:

Ah, yes, the horrendous massacres of civilians caused by the so-called suicide terrorists.... Horrendous, yes, doubtless; condemnable, yes, doubtless, but Israel still has a lot to learn if it is not capable of understanding the reasons that can bring a human being to turn himself into a bomb." And so, the deliberate act of murdering random crowds turns out to be the fault of the murdered — or, rather, of the monstrous and racist doctrines of their religion, which is Judaism.

I don't want to leave the impression that El Pais is a newspaper full of editors and writers who share those views. The newspaper right away published a commentary by a philosopher named Reyes Mate, who carefully explained that Nazi analogies tend to downplay the true meaning of Nazism, and a second commentary by the American writer Barbara Probst Solomon, a regular correspondent for El Pais, who skillfully pointed out that Saramago had written an essay not about the actually existing Israel and its policies but about "the Jew that is roiling around in his head." There was, then, a balance in El Pais: one essay that was anti-Semitic, and two that were not.

Still, something was remarkable in seeing, in this day and age, a fulmination against Judaism for its intrinsic hatefulness, written with the savage energy of a Nobel Prize winner, published in one of the world's major newspapers. Surely, this, too, like the crowd in Washington and the panel discussion in New York, marks something new in our present moment.

IV.

You may object that, in pointing to the anti-globalists in the Washington streets and the Socialist Scholars in New York, I have focused on a radical left whose spirit of irresponsibility isn't news. As for Saramago, isn't he renowned for his Stalinist politics, for being a dinosaur from the 1930s? But the new tone that I refer to, the new attitude, is anything but a monopoly of the radical left. In this age of Jean-Marie Le Pen there is no point even mentioning the extreme right. For the new spirit has begun to pop up even in the most respectable of writings, in the middle of the mainstream — not everywhere, to be sure, and not even in most places, but in some places, and not always obscure ones. The new spirit has begun to pop up in a fashion that seems almost unconscious, even among people who would never dream of expressing an extreme or bigoted view, but who end up doing so anyway.

A peculiar example appears in an essay called "Israel: the Road to Nowhere," by the New York University historian Tony Judt, which ran as the lead article in May 9, 2002, issue of The New York Review of Books. Professor Judt is a scholar of French intellectual history, well-known and much-praised (by me, for instance, in a review in The New Yorker) for his willingness to examine, among other themes, the moral obtuseness of Jean-Paul Sartre and his followers a half-century ago. In his new essay Judt blames Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for failing to understand that, sooner or later, Israel will have to negotiate with the Palestinians, who cannot be expected to abandon their hope for national independence. Judt despairs of Sharon, but he calls on the United States to play a larger role, and he does hold aloft a hope. Everyone in the Arab-Israeli struggle has suffered over the years, but Judt points out that in recent years the world has seen many examples of enemy populations reconciling and living side by side — the French and the Germans, for instance, or, on a still grander scale, the Poles and the Ukrainians, whose mutual crimes in the 1940s surpassed anything that has taken place between Arabs and Israelis.

That is the gist of his essay, at least ostensibly, and it seems to me unexceptionable, if perhaps a little one-sided.

V.

But the remarkable aspect of Judt's essay is not the ostensible argument. It is the set of images and rhetorical devices and even the precise language that he has chosen to use. His single most emphatic trope is a comparison between Israel and French Algeria, and between the current fighting and the Algerian War. A discussion of French Algeria begins the piece, and French Algeria pops up repeatedly, and its prominence in his argument raises an interesting question, namely, Does Israel have a right to exist? The Algerian War was fought over the proposition that French Algeria, as a colonial outpost of the French imperialists, did not, in fact, have a right to exist. Most of the world eventually came to accept that proposition. But if Israel resembles French Algeria, why exactly should Israel and its national doctrine, Zionism, be regarded as any more legitimate than France's imperialism?

That particular question can be answered with a dozen arguments — the nativist argument (Zionism may have been founded to rescue the European Jews, but in the past 50 years it has mostly ended up rescuing the native Jews of the Middle East instead), the social justice argument (the overwhelming majority of Israel's Jews arrived essentially as refugees), the social utility argument (if not for Israel, which country or international agency would have raised a finger on behalf of the supremely oppressed Jews of Ethiopia and many other places?), the democratic argument (democratic states are more legitimate than undemocratic ones) and so forth.

But it has to be recognized that, starting in the 1960s, ever larger portions of the world did begin to gaze at Israel through an Algerian lens. Arafat launched his war against Israel in 1964, in the aftermath of the Algerian War but well before the Israelis had taken over the West Bank and Gaza, and his logic was, so to speak, strictly Algerian — a logic that regarded Israel as illegitimate per se. The comparison between Israel and French Algeria has served as one more basis for regarding Zionism as a doctrine of racial hatred — a doctrine, from this point of view, not much different from the old French notion that France had every right to conquer any African country it chose. Judt cannot share that view of Zionism, given his expressed worry about Israel's survival. Someone who did share the view would regard Israel's demise as desirable.

Still, his essay emphasizes the Algerian analogy. And then, having underlined that comparison, Judt moves along to the argument that in recent times has tended to replace the one about French Algeria, now that the Algerian War has faded into the past. The newer argument compares Israel to the white apartheid Republic of South Africa, where a racist contempt for black Africans was the founding proposition of the state. Back in the days of apartheid, friends of social justice around the world had good reason to regard the white Republic of South Africa as illegitimate.

Judt, on this note, observes that, "following fifty years of vicious repression and exploitation, white South Africans handed over power to a black majority who replaced them without violence or revenge." And he asks, "Is the Middle East so different? From the Palestinian point of view, the colonial analogy fits and foreign precedents might apply. Israelis, however, insist otherwise." But are the Israelis right in their insistence? He says, "Most Israelis are still trapped in the story of their own uniqueness" — his point being, presumably, that the Israelis are wrong. But then, if Israel does in some profound way resemble apartheid South Africa, would it be right to boycott the Zionist state, just as South Africa was boycotted? One does not boycott a state merely because of some objectionable policy or other. Nobody boycotts Turkey because it mistreats the Kurds, nor Egypt because it drove out nearly its entire Jewish population.

But if a state is racist by nature, if racism is its founding principle, as was the case in apartheid South Africa, then a boycott might well be justified, with the hope of abolishing the state entirely. Now, Judt cannot possibly regard Israel as any more comparable to apartheid South Africa than he does to French Algeria, given his concern that Israel continues to exist. Still, he does note that a new movement is, in fact, afoot to boycott Israel. He writes, "The fear of seeming to show solidarity with Sharon that already inhibits many from visiting Israel, will rapidly extend to the international community at large, making of Israel a pariah state." Do the "many" who feel inhibited from visiting Israel merit applause for their moral consciences? Or should those people be seen as so many José Saramagos, smug in their retrograde bigotries? Judt refrains from comment, but his tone implies that he regards the "many" as more reasonable than not.

He does say about some future resolution of the conflict, "There will be no Arab right of return; and it is time to abandon the anachronistic Jewish one." That is a curious comment, in the context of these other remarks. The Arab "right of return" means the right of Palestinians to return to their original, pre-1948 homes in Israel, a right that, if widely exercised, would bring about the end of Israel as a Jewish state. That is why, if Israel is to survive, "there will be no Arab right of return." But what is the Jewish "right of return"? That phrase can only mean what is expressed and guaranteed by Israel's Law of Return, to wit, Israel's commitment to welcome any Jew from around the world who chooses to come.

What would it mean for Israel to abandon that commitment? It would mean abandoning the Zionist mission to build a shelter for oppressed Jews from around the world, which is to say, Zionism itself. It would mean abandoning Israel's autonomy as a state — its right to draw up its own laws on immigration. Judt cannot be in favor of Israel doing any such thing. But those throwaway remarks and his choice of comparisons and analogies make it hard to know for sure.

VI.

His essay, all in all, seems to have been written on two levels. There is an ostensible level that criticizes Israel, although in a friendly fashion, with the criticisms meant to rescue Israel from its own errors and thereby to help everyone else who has been trapped in the conflict; and a second level, consisting of images and random phrases (the level that might attract Freud's attention), which keep hinting that maybe Israel has no right to exist. It is worth looking at the religious images and references in Judt's essay. There are two of these, and they express the two contradictory levels with a painful clarity.

In his very last lines, Judt urges the Israelis to treat the Palestinian public with dignity and to turn quickly from war to peace negotiations. And, in order to give a pungency or fervor to his exhortation, he concludes by quoting a famous rabbinical remark, "And if not now, when?" He ends, that is, on a warm note of Judaism, which is plainly a sympathetic tone to adopt — a call for Israel to adhere to Judaism's highest traditions of morality and good sense. Yet, at another point he strikes a Christian note, and of the weirdest sort.

Judt wonders about Sharon, "Will he send the tanks into the Galilee? Put up electric fences around the Arab districts of Haifa?" Judt complains that Israel's intellectuals are not mounting a suitable opposition to this kind of aggression. He describes the intellectuals and their failure to oppose in these words: "The country's liberal intelligentsia who, Pilate-like, have washed their hands of responsibility." That is, Judt compares Israel's liberal intellectuals to Pontius Pilate, who took no responsibility for killing Jesus. That is a very strange phrase to stumble across in an essay on the Middle East. Freud's eyebrows rise in wonder. The phrase is worth parsing. If Israel's liberal intellectuals are Pontius Pilate, who is Sharon? He must be the Jewish high priest who orders the crucifixion. Who is Jesus? He can only be the people whom the high priest is setting out to kill — namely, the suicide bombers. Surely Judt cannot mean that the Palestinian terrorists are God.

But then, it does seem odd that, a couple of lines down, Judt turns to the word "terrorist" and doubts its usefulness. "'Terrorist,'" he writes, "risks becoming the mantra of our time, like 'Communist,' 'capitalist,' 'bourgeois,' and others before it. Like them, it closes off all further discussion." Words do turn into meaningless slogans. Still, is it so unreasonable, at a moment when the astounding series of mass murders in Israel is still going on, to speak of "terrorists," that is, of people who deliberately set out to kill randomly? The suicide bombers are, in fact, terrorists, by any conventional definition of the term. Judt cannot mean to let those people off the hook, and in one portion of his essay he sternly condemns them. Yet in the passage that follows the remark about Pontius Pilate he ends up commenting, "terror against civilians is the weapon of choice of the weak." Presumably he means that the Palestinian bombers are weak and have had no alternative way to claim their national rights — though he doesn't explain why the "weak" would have turned to their "weapon of choice" precisely in the aftermath of former Prime Minister Ehud Barak's offer to create the Palestinian state in Gaza and on almost all of the West Bank.

About José Saramago, I do believe, on the basis of the essay in El Pais, that the winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize has gotten hung up on the Jew roiling in his head, in Barbara Solomon's phrase. Not for one moment do I believe anything of the sort about Tony Judt. I can imagine that Judt chose to write about Pontius Pilate for the simplest and most natural reasons. The notion that the suicide bombers are sacred figures fulfilling a divine function, combined with the notion that Israel's Jews are evil demons, has swept the world in the last few months. Even the notion that the Jews are guilty of deicide, which is Christian in origin, has in recent times spread to the Muslim world. The new young president of Syria expressed that very notion to the Pope, on the occasion of the Pope's visit.

But, once these ideas have been picked up by events and have been sent flyinrough the air like body parts in a terrorist attack, they can easily land anywhere, and a writer whose anger has gotten out of hand can end up making use of those notions, strictly by mistake. Doubtless a main lesson to be drawn from Judt's essay is that even the most brilliant of university professors, lacking training and experience in journalism, may fail to command the most workaday of journalistic skills — the skill that allows a cooler-headed newsroom pro to write to deadline in tense times without losing control of the nuances and hidden meanings of his own copy.

Losing control of his own rhetoric and nothing worse than that was, in Judt's case, surely the error. For just as most people in the anti-globalism movement would never chant in favor of suicide bombers (even if some people did chant in favor), and just as most of the Socialist Scholars would never support the terrorists (even if one of the honored panelists did), and just as a modern, high-minded newspaper like El Pais would not care to publish antisemitic demagoguery (even if it did publish such a work), Judt, I am confident, had no intention of indulging in anti-Zionism and certainly no intention of sacralizing the terrorists or demonizing the Jews (even if that is the inference of what he ended up writing).

Yet it is the unintended inferences that seem to me the most frightening of all. To go out and fight against bigots and racists of all sorts, the anti-Semites and the anti-Arab racists alike, seems to me relatively simple to do, even in these terrible times. It is not so easy to put up a fight against a wind, a tone against an indefinable spirit of hatred that has begun to appear even in the statements of otherwise sensible people.

But that is what we are up against. The little accidents and odd behaviors do add up. The new wind is definitely blowing. A few months ago no one was chanting for murder. In those days it was pretty unusual to stumble across diatribes against Judaism or anti-Semitic phrases in the intellectual press. But look what has happened. Something has changed.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Israel; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: antisemitism; jews; middleeast
I try not to be alarmist but I'm getting more and more worried about this sort of thing.
1 posted on 05/29/2002 9:10:58 AM PDT by jalisco555
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To: jalisco555
Stay armed, stay safe.
2 posted on 05/29/2002 9:15:54 AM PDT by aristotleman
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To: jalisco555
You're not being alarmist.

Both you and the columnist are being prescient. The Left has been the home for vile anti-Semitism for some time now. One cannot escape the links between the "anti-Globalist" International and the Jihadist Front. The question of Palestine is merely a modern substitute for Jews poisoning wells.

A new fascism is abroad in the world, and it is being peddled by the Left. The foundation of this fascism is anti-Semitism. However, the outriders of this fascist tendency can be found in various libertarian Jew baiters and outright Communists such as the crowd over at AntiWar.com, LewRockwell.com, Noam Chomsky, Robert Fisk and John Pilger, and of course, our friends from the late, lamented Spotlight.

Be aware. Be vary aware.

Be Seeing You,

Chris

3 posted on 05/29/2002 9:20:15 AM PDT by section9
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To: jalisco555
Bookmarked.
4 posted on 05/29/2002 9:23:24 AM PDT by tictoc
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To: jalisco555
Judt speaks of mantras of our time, designed to close off debate, e.g. Communist, capitalist, bourgeois. Add to those the mantra "racist.' Nothing closes off debate quicker than to accuse your opponent of racism. It has become the all-purpose epithet.
5 posted on 05/29/2002 9:25:26 AM PDT by Malesherbes
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To: jalisco555
I had never heard of the Forward, so I went back to their home page. I think that the history of this publication might interest other posters. Click Here

Thanks for post this article. Now, I will go back and finish reading it.

6 posted on 05/29/2002 9:34:25 AM PDT by Eva
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To: aristotleman
Indeed. I think the new Jewish motto should be "Every Jew an expert marksman, every Jew armed to the teeth."
7 posted on 05/29/2002 9:38:04 AM PDT by CatoRenasci
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To: jalisco555
As the Moslem world increases it's foothold in the western nations, the anti-Israeli tone will increase and the numbers of those who hear it and accept it, will also.

It is accepted that we live in a nation of declining education. The teaching of adequate history is history. The teaching of fundamental skills necessary to reason away the flawed logic of the hoards is woefully lacking.

I don't fear the increase of the phenomena that you have observed. I recognize it for what it is and speak out against it, but there's only so much we can do. It is the result of globalist designs and the natural progression of outcomes related to them. Ultimately, it is the fulfillment of prophecy.

In God's own time, this world is screeching to an ugly end. Sin is bad. The human race isn't smart enough to govern itself from a sinful existance. God is the only way out.

I hate to boil it down so susinctly, but time is short and the events you observe with horror only serve to prove it. IMO

8 posted on 05/29/2002 9:42:48 AM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: jalisco555
So much that could be commented on, but this stands out:

The blond David of yesteryear surveys from a helicopter the occupied Palestinian lands and fires missiles at unarmed innocents; the delicate David of yore mans the most powerful tanks in the world and flattens and blows up what he finds in his tread; the lyrical David who sang praise to Bathsheba, incarnated today in the gargantuan figure of a war criminal named Ariel Sharon, hurls the 'poetic' message that first it is necessary to finish off the Palestinians in order later to negotiate with those who remain.

That use of "blond" is not, I think, just an image of a Jew rolling around in Saramago's head. It is, and attempt to associate Judaism with the Aryan ideal of Nazi Germany. Nasty stuff.

9 posted on 05/29/2002 9:54:12 AM PDT by Celtjew Libertarian
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To: Celtjew Libertarian
That use of "blond" is not, I think, just an image of a Jew rolling around in Saramago's head. It is, and attempt to associate Judaism with the Aryan ideal of Nazi Germany. Nasty stuff.

The Jew-Nazi comparison serves two functions. One, it justifies killing Jews today. Two, it justifies the Holocaust by saying that since Jews are Nazis and killing Nazis is a good thing than the Holocaust wasn't really a crime. It is a perverse form of Holocaust denial.

10 posted on 05/29/2002 9:59:21 AM PDT by jalisco555
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To: jalisco555
There is another angle to this that the author does not touch on. I think there is an element of anti-Americanism and anti-Bushism that has given added fuel to the anti-Israeli forces. Bill Clinton paid some lip service to the goals of Leftist internationalism, and the European Left felt that he was a somewhat sympathetic figure. Hence, during his terms the anti-Israeli sentiments of the Left were somewhat muted.

Bush, on the other hand, has fairly consistently shown disdain for the internationalists' agenda, so now the anti-Israeli forces are showing their true colors. For the European left, the enemy is not Israel, but Israel/USA/Bush. The European Left knows Bush is not their man, so their pretext of support for Israel has been abandoned.
11 posted on 05/29/2002 10:01:41 AM PDT by Steve_Seattle
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To: jalisco555
"The Socialist Scholars Conference is an annual meeting of a few thousand people, most of them intellectuals of some sort. The conference has always resembled an ideological bazaar, with every ridiculous left-wing sect selling its sacred texts, side by side with sober European social democrats and American liberals."

Has it not, ever been so!

"To be sure, most people at the Socialist Scholars Conference would condemn random mass murders. But there is nothing new in condemning mass murder."

But, to be sure, the Left has always been willing to commit mass murder if it is an economical way to eliminate resistance. The big lie of the Left is that they are either an economic movement, political movement, or religious movement. The truth is the Left is a criminal movement to have government by Thugs, not of law.

With apologies to "Harpseal":

"Stay Well, Stay Armed, Yorktown".

12 posted on 05/29/2002 10:02:45 AM PDT by elbucko
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To: jalisco555
"blonde"

There are some blonde Jews, but they are certainly in the minority, so Saramago's image of the blonde Jew having a racial animus to the swarthy enemy is absurd.
13 posted on 05/29/2002 10:04:29 AM PDT by Steve_Seattle
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To: Celtjew Libertarian
That use of "blond" is not, I think, just an image of a Jew rolling around in Saramago's head. It is, and attempt to associate Judaism with the Aryan ideal of Nazi Germany. Nasty stuff.

No doubt. However, I may be missing something here. What is his source for David even being blond? I recall no such description from the Bible.

14 posted on 05/29/2002 10:10:12 AM PDT by Restorer
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To: jalisco555
BTTT
15 posted on 05/29/2002 10:13:02 AM PDT by facedown
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To: jalisco555
There is so much in this article that I would like to comment on, but I will start with this:

contaminated by the monstrous and rooted 'certitude' that in this catastrophic and absurd world there exists a people chosen by God and that, consequently, all the actions of an obsessive, psychological and pathologically exclusivist racism are justified;

The author that was being quoted was simply taking a Jewish truism and turning it against the Jews, themselves, but the author fails to note that it is precisely the exact same sentiment that is held by the Muslims and taken to a much more extreme position of hate for the non-Muslim neighbors that is actually the root cause of tension.

Later in the same paragraph, the anti-semitic author quotes Deutoronomy saying, "Vengence in mine, saith the Lord." The author not only misinterprets the quotation, but ignores the fact that the God of Islam takes this sentiment much futher in sending out his followers in holy Jihads to destroy the unbelievers.

It is this intentional obtuseness of thought and inability to look in the mirror that is standing in the way of a peace agreement in Israel.

16 posted on 05/29/2002 10:18:32 AM PDT by Eva
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To: jalisco555
I guess we're not nearly done with the business of the 20th Century.

So far, in our world, there has been little intellectual honesty about the true nature of events since WWI.

The fact is, we live in the Age Of Socialism or something like that, and most significant narratives of our time feature millions of humans being liquidated for the greater glory of some collectivity or other.

Genocidal warfare will be what we are remembered for a thousand years hence, I expect.

This is not our fault. Unless we lose a war.

17 posted on 05/29/2002 10:18:34 AM PDT by headsonpikes
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To: jalisco555
BTTT!
18 posted on 05/29/2002 10:22:33 AM PDT by ELS
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To: Restorer
Good point. Here's the description of David in his first appearance in the Bible (1 Samuel 16:12): "Now he was ruddy, and withal of beautiful eyes, and goodly to look upon." From 1 Samuel 17:42: "[H]e was but a youth, and ruddy, and withal of a fair countenance."

Ruddy implies either red hair or a reddish complexion (from being outside, keeping the sheep, perhaps?) But blond? I don't think so.

19 posted on 05/29/2002 10:29:16 AM PDT by Celtjew Libertarian
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To: Eva
The author that was being quoted was simply taking a Jewish truism and turning it against the Jews, themselves, but the author fails to note that it is precisely the exact same sentiment that is held by the Muslims and taken to a much more extreme position of hate for the non-Muslim neighbors that is actually the root cause of tension.

The difference is that Jewish exclucivism is largely, sometimes entirely, based on "blood." It is difficult, though not impossible, to convert to Judaism. Many Jews don't consider converts to be "real Jews."

There is thus a strong ethnic or "racial" component to Jewish belief that is almost totally absent from Islam.

I'm not approving or condemning either side here, just pointing out facts.

20 posted on 05/29/2002 10:30:10 AM PDT by Restorer
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To: jalisco555
He pointed to the story of David and Goliath, which, though commonly pictured as a tale of underdog triumph, is actually the story of a blond person (David's blond hair seemed to catch Saramago's attention) employing a superior technology to kill at a distance a helpless and presumably non-blond person, the unfortunate and oppressed Goliath.

Actually, David vs. Goliath is much more like a Hungarian freedom fighter with a Molotov cocktail against a Soviet tank. He might possibly win, but he hardly wields a "superior technology."

David had one shot to hit a probably four inch square target or seconds later Goliath would have chopped him into very small pieces.

21 posted on 05/29/2002 10:33:23 AM PDT by Restorer
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To: Restorer
I've found, though, that the more orthodox the Jew is the more likely he or she is to accept a convert as a real Jew, as long as the conversion was performed under orthodox auspices. In fact, the rabbi who converted my wife noted that the vast majority of converts knew of having Jewish ancestry (including my wife) and saw conversion as more of a return than a change.

It is the more reform Jews, in my experience, who are more likely to consider a convert "Not a real Jew," especially for not having had to face discrimination. It's a liberal-left group identity sort of thing.

22 posted on 05/29/2002 10:35:51 AM PDT by Celtjew Libertarian
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To: Celtjew Libertarian
More about blondes.

The Philistines were apparently northern invaders from what is now the vicinity of Greece, perhaps Mycenean refugees. Goliath was a lot more likely to have been blond than David was.

23 posted on 05/29/2002 10:36:09 AM PDT by Restorer
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To: Restorer
I agree with you about the racial component. It is the reason that Judaism spurns proselytizing. It is also the reason that the Jews are vastly outnumbered by the Islamic world. The focus of Judaism is not to rule the world, as it is in Islam, but rather to be allowed to live in peace and maintain their relative racial purity as the chosen people of God in the land that was promised to them.
24 posted on 05/29/2002 10:38:05 AM PDT by Eva
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To: Eva
relative racial purity

Bit of an oxymoron, don't you think? Somewhat like "relative virginity?"

Even a cursory reading of the OT will show that the Jews were an extremely mixed group long before the time of Christ.

25 posted on 05/29/2002 10:41:11 AM PDT by Restorer
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To: jalisco555
I could cite a dozen other instances where, in the last few weeks, someone in a city like New York or Washington, London or Paris, has argued or chanted in favor of mass murder

The Forward is not one to complain. Check out this puff piece they wrote recently on Isaac Babel, an accomplice to genocide.

26 posted on 05/29/2002 10:42:29 AM PDT by LarryLied
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To: Restorer
No, it's not an oxymoron, because no race is 100% pure. There is, afterall a tribe of black Jews in Africa and David was desribed as fair. That doesn't exactly sound like racial purity.
27 posted on 05/29/2002 10:56:05 AM PDT by Eva
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To: jalisco555
BTTT
28 posted on 05/29/2002 12:39:52 PM PDT by Celtjew Libertarian
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To: jalisco555
bump
29 posted on 05/29/2002 2:40:47 PM PDT by headsonpikes
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To: jalisco555
Interesting post. It tempted me to spend the last few hours at blueletterbible.org. I have to get off, now, but a couple of points:

Re: the "helpless....unfortunate and oppressed" Goliath of the Philistines:

The character of the Philistines: www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/choice/1022720628.html

The Philistines were idolators: 1 Sam. 5:2 (http://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/1Sa/1Sa005.html#top) and Judges 16:23. Samson and the Dagon Fish god (engraving) http://blueletterbible.org/images/bible_images/Samson/samson_fishgod1.html

The battle - the Philistines and Goliath were looking for trouble: http://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/1Sa/1Sa017.html#1

A commentary on David and the battle: http://www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/comm_read/1022722704.html

Has this guy accepted Jesus Christ? No? Then he sounds like the scribes and Pharisees whom Jesus condemned in Matt. 23:30: "And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets." (or of the blood of Jesus?) Matthew 23, a great chapter: http://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/Mat/Mat023.html

The scribes and Pharisees http://www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/choice/1022708248.html were probably of the group Jesus was referring to when he said "ye who say ye are Jews, but are not Jews, but are of the synagogue of Satan". (Rev. 2:9, and Rev. 3:9). A multitude of Jews DID believe and were saved (Acts 2:4 - 3 thousand, Acts 4:4 - 5 thousand, to name two instances). In Matthew 23:39, He said to the scribes and Pharisees: "For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord", (and they will - Psalm 22/John 19:37) as the MULTITUDE did in Matthew 21:8-11 http://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/Mat/Mat021.html. If these people would get out of their Satanic bible and get into the real thing, we'd ALL be better off.

One more thought: The Real Enemy of the Arabs (You have to scroll down) http://watch.pair.com/Israel.html. While at watch.pair, see their article on the Lost Tribe of Dan, (http://watch.pair.com/Dan.html). It will make the David and Goliath story even more interesting. The Philistines extended on the Mediterrean coast from Joppa to Gaza. On one map, Joppa is in Dan.

30 posted on 05/29/2002 3:31:27 PM PDT by Ethan_Allen
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To: jalisco555; lent; dennisw; yehuda, sabramerican, nix2, d4now, alouette
bump

This is a good article. It exposes the shallowness of thought that exists on practically every level of the Israel-Palestinian discussion, from the man on the street to the so called "intellectuals", they just don't think things through very clearly, and have not studied the history very well, and do not consider the consequences of their propositions.

31 posted on 05/29/2002 3:49:42 PM PDT by monkeyshine
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To: jalisco555
every ridiculous left-wing sect selling its sacred texts, side by side with sober European social democrats and American liberals.

You are known by the company you keep.

32 posted on 05/29/2002 3:59:24 PM PDT by Alouette
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To: jalisco555
I could have done without the inclusion of Serbia with Syria and Iraq. That was a vicious, cheap attack.
33 posted on 05/29/2002 4:39:50 PM PDT by Phillip Augustus
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To: section9
Lew Rockwell is as far from a Communist as one can possibly be.
34 posted on 05/29/2002 4:43:43 PM PDT by Phillip Augustus
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To: LarryLied
The article suggests that it would improper for any foreign influnce to have a say in Israel's immigration policy (see, his comments on the Jewish right to return). Why do I get a sneaking suspicion that the author would condemn a similar immigration policy if a European nation practiced it? Could there be a double standard here?
35 posted on 05/29/2002 4:46:54 PM PDT by Phillip Augustus
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To: Restorer
Many Jews don't consider converts to be "real Jews."

Any non-Jew who converts according to Jewish law is a "Real Jew." There are some non-Jews who convert through schismatic sects (called "Reform" "Reconstructionist" "Conservative" etc. who do not believe in the Bible, or observe the commandments.) who are not Jews because:

1. They don't practice or believe in Judaism.
2. Their "conversion" was not conducted according to Jewish law.

Once these converts come in line with Jewish law they are "Real Jews" no ifs ands or buts.

Finished. Period. End of story.

I'm not approving or condemning either side here, just pointing out facts.

I just pointed out facts. What you did was tell a falsehood.

36 posted on 05/29/2002 5:00:40 PM PDT by Alouette
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To: jalisco555
Sadly the headline is wrong. Ain't a damn thing changed.
37 posted on 05/29/2002 5:08:38 PM PDT by Oschisms
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To: Celtjew Libertarian
The jokeof course is that David was not blond, being a Semite. It was Goliath, who as a Hellenic Philistine, was of European descent.
38 posted on 05/29/2002 5:14:27 PM PDT by rmlew
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To: rmlew
The jokeof course is that David was not blond, being a Semite.

David was not even a "racially pure" Israelite. He was a descendant of Ruth, a Moabite convert.

39 posted on 05/29/2002 6:23:30 PM PDT by Alouette
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To: Alouette
Any non-Jew who converts according to Jewish law is a "Real Jew."

According to Jewish law, yes.

As the husband of a convert, I note that there are a fair number of Jews (usually of a left-of-center political persuasion), who don't consider a convert to be a "real Jew" because they haven't "grown up with discrimination" or some sort of related PC claptrap.

Unfortunately, they're often the sort of loud-mouthed a$$holes who can make someone feel rather uncomfortable.

40 posted on 05/30/2002 7:02:53 AM PDT by Celtjew Libertarian
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To: DoughtyOne
It is accepted that we live in a nation of declining education. The teaching of adequate history is history. The teaching of fundamental skills necessary to reason away the flawed logic of the hoards is woefully lacking.

This is certainly part of the problem. An additional factor, however, is that most in the West have become lazy intellectually. The general populace is persuaded by glib and superficial historical analogies, such as was examined in this Judt essay. People are generally taken by the use of these broad caricatures since most of the time they tend to be highlights of history and thus easily understood.

It is more laborious to actually examine the logical inference that is being claimed. It is more difficult to actually find out for oneself the historical and contemporary process which is being impugned (here the nature of Israel). It requires one to actually open a few historical texts and examine the material. To read something other than fiction. To spend some time with the material outside of the usual several hours in front of the T.V. Unfortunately for the mass of people these necessary steps are evidently too much.

41 posted on 05/30/2002 7:30:15 AM PDT by Lent
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To: Lent
Yes that is true. Ultimately it does come down not only on our education system and personal responsibility, but on the media and it's treacherous ways. It could enlighten the populas instead of lead it astray.
42 posted on 05/30/2002 9:20:23 AM PDT by DoughtyOne
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