Beating swords into pitchforks

Here’s a heartwarming story of religious reconciliation in Israel, one that puts the lie to those cynics who thought such ecumenism impossible. It seems that large portions of Jerusalem’s Orthodox Jewish, Muslim, and Christian communities have finally set aside their differences, and joined together to support a common goal: threatening the marchers in a Gay Pride parade with death.

44 Responses to “Beating swords into pitchforks”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    From the article:

    Further offending some opponents, the parade is scheduled to take place on November 10, the anniversary of Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass), a pogrom against Jewish people, their homes, businesses and synagogues that took place in cities, towns and villages across Germany.

    This is indeed very offensive – one minority that was prosecuted by Nazis and is still prosecuted till this day is daring to stand up for its rights on a day that another minority was prosecuted.

  2. Scott Says:

    About the only positive side of the story is that the Justice Ministry is standing firmly behind the event. 104 years after Altneuland, Theodor Herzl’s dream of a secular democracy in the Middle East is not yet entirely dead.

  3. aram harrow Says:

    Theodor Herzl’s dream of a secular democracy in the Middle East is not yet entirely dead.

    Are you referring to Lebanon, where even Hezbollah has to couch its appeals in secular grounds? Or Turkey, where the head-scarf is banned in many public places? They seem to be doing fine.

    Both of these democracies also lack occupied territories and immigration policies that explicitly discriminate based on religion.

  4. Scott Says:

    Turkey is indeed a bastion of secular modernity compared to most of the Middle East. For example, according to Sam Harris’s The End of Faith, only 20% of the population supports suicide bombings of noncombatants, compared to 82% of Lebanese. Turkey is rated “partly free” by freedomhouse.org, in the same category as Yemen, Ethiopia, and Armenia.

    Lebanon, happily, became more free in many respects after the Syrians departed. But given that Hezbollah — a non-state Islamist militia that openly advocates the killing of all Jews everywhere, not only in Israel — wields more military power than the actual military, I think it’s a bit of a stretch to describe Lebanon as a secular democracy.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Both of these democracies also lack occupied territories…

    What?! Turkey lacks occupied territories? Not to mentioned their murderous imperialistic past; their genocide against the Armenians people (1.5 million murdered); They also hold occupied territories TODAY in north Cyprus, as well as managing an opressive and racist policy against the Kurds.

    … and immigration policies that explicitly discriminate based on religion.

    Why would they have such policies?! They don’t need any, since no one wants to immigrate to Lebanon and Turkey; most people want to flee these countries into western Europe, or north America (as evident by the large minority of Turkes in Germany, for instance).

    Further, even Canada has a “discrimnating immigration policy”: it favors educated people. This, of course, discriminates against immigrants from the third world!
    And what about Spain, who holds walls and troopes against immigrants from north Africa (in north Africa itself!) which already took the lives of thousands of inoccent Africans !! …

    It seems that your, rather obvious to say the least, political agenda makes you blind to the most elementary facts.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    This is not new. They originally tried to hold the parade in the summer, but cancelled due to the conflict with Lebanon. Muslim, Jewish, and Christian leaders also united in the summer to protest, and someone (I forgot who) put up a banner in Jerusalem advertising 10,000 shekels to whoever kills one of the marchers.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    But given that Hezbollah — a non-state Islamist militia that openly advocates the killing of all Jews everywhere, not only in Israel — wields more military power than the actual military, I think it’s a bit of a stretch to describe Lebanon as a secular democracy.

    I really like wiki. And I do not particularly like Hezbollah. Neither does the idea of quoting wiki on Hezbollah to forward the notion that Hezbollah is ‘simply’ a terrorist organization and nothing else is particularly appealing. The obvious reason for that being this article could have been written by not so dispassionate a person.

    Please do not forget a ‘democratically’ elected government in Israel chose to bomb civilian and destroy Lebanon just on the pretext of getting two captured soldiers out. It is not so unnatural for people living in Lebanon and seeing their people butchered to ‘conclude’ that the people of Israel want the destruction of their country. Hezbollah under these circumstances could just be an indigenous people’s resistance movement to Israeli policy in the region! When we shrug off organizations as ‘terrorist’ we have to exercise caution. In India for example, people who were banned terrorist by the British before independence are sung as national heroes and it is not too uncommon to see a visiting British dignitary to ‘respectfully’ pay tributes to such ‘terrorists’!

  8. Scott Says:

    anonymous: I never said that Hezbollah was “simply a terrorist organization and nothing else.” As I’d be the first to tell you, there’s much more to them than their stated goal of wiping Jews off the Earth — they also provide social services, participate in government, and do many other things. Like Hamas, like the NSDAP, they wouldn’t have a power base to begin with if they didn’t competently serve the communities in which they operate.

  9. John Sidles Says:

    My wife and I have relatives of every religion: every generation has suffered grievously from war; many were victims of genocide in WWII; some are dead and some are badly wounded in the present conflict.

    IMHO, nothing has more virulently harmed every generation of my family than the central axiom of religious, racial, and cultural agnotology: the willful refusal to acknowledge the humanity even of your enemy.

    It is both an unfortunate logical tautology, and a hard-wired human neurophysiological reality, that this core refusal of humanity is pretty much impervious to reason.

    Fortunately for all of us, shared acknowledgment of humanity CAN (slowly) be gained through shared experience of that humanity.

    To which happy outcome, Scott’s blog (and all other blogs like it) contributes in no small way, IMHO. And for which, my sincere thanks go to all who contribute peacefully and respectfully to this thread.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    I really like wiki. And I do not particularly like Hezbollah. Neither does the idea of quoting wiki on Hezbollah to forward the notion that Hezbollah is ‘simply’ a terrorist organization and nothing else is particularly appealing.

    Indeed, here we have in front of us a very skillful anti-zionist (a
    politically-correct version of a classical anti-semitist) propagandist. First, the propagandist starts with de-legitimizing the government of Israel by putting parentheses in `democratically’. Is there any doubt that the current Israeli government was elected democratically? No. But truth aside and propaganda aside. Then the skillful propagandist goes to blatant lies: “Chose to bomb Israel and destroy Lebanon on the pretext of getting two captured
    soldiers out”. Is Lebanon destroyed? No. And what does “chose” mean? Of course,
    it insinuates that Israel decided out of the blue that it would be great fun to bomb
    Lebanon. But we all know that this is not the case, as the Hezbollah constantly threatens Israel and provokes her to act. So here, the propagandist makes a swift counter-argument: Hezbollah provocations are just “pretexts”. Of
    course, saving lives of Jews in Israel could not be taken seriously as a real cause for actions; only “pretexts”.

    Now, of course, we have a cause-and-effect in Lebanon. But the propagandist wants us to forget that. So he switches cause and effect:

    It is not so unnatural for people living in Lebanon and seeing their people butchered to ‘conclude’ that the people of Israel want the destruction of their country. Hezbollah under these circumstances could just be an indigenous people’s resistance movement to Israeli policy in the region!

    You see? It’s not that FIRST the Hezbollah desires the destruction of Israel, provokes Israel, send missiles into north Israel, kills its soldiers and THEN
    Israel reacts; No! The propagandists tells us a different story: Hezbollah sent
    missiles on Israeli cities, killed 8 soldiers, and kidnaped two, as a vengeance against the FUTURE deeds of Israel reacting on these acts of war. Hezbollah
    reacts in advance; His actions are justified only in retrospect!

    Indeed, we have here not just a propagandist, but a vigorous surrealist poet. I
    can’t wait to see with what kind of new propaganda stunts this guy will come up next.

  11. Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden Says:

    11 07 06

    You have glamorized Turkey a bit. Any Armenian would agree.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    This “you started first” argument with Israel and Lebanon is kind of pointless. You can go back 50 years or more and see both sides can be blamed for many things.

    There are many parameters for democracy, probably most important is not popular election but equal and full civil rights for all the inhabitans of the country. I don’t believe that by these parameters any country in the middle east fares particularly well – Israel has about 2 million palestinans in the occuppied territory that have no citizenship of any country, and very few rights. To Israel’s defence, the occupation was supposed to be temporary and in the last decade Israel’s leaders have been trying to negotiate its peaceful end with the not too willing Arafat. Israel does give full civil rights to the citizen Palestinians within its pre 1967 borders (even if there is social discrimination).

    Lebanon also does not give citizenship to the palestinian refugees that have been there since 1948. Also, the elections in Lebanon are by a religious quota – each sect gets a fixed number of seats in the parlament according to a census made in 1932. By law also the president has to be a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim, and the Parlament’s speaker a Shia. Thus, it does seem quite a stretch to call it a secular democracy.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    ndeed, we have here not just a propagandist, but a vigorous surrealist poet. I
    can’t wait to see with what kind of new propaganda stunts this guy will come up next.

    None! Bravo, you saw through my ploy.
    Your cogent argumentation that leads you to the conclusion that I must be an anti-semitist is fantastic.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Sorry, I forgot to thank Scott for clarifying his point on Hezbollah.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Anon of Tuesday, November 07, 2006 12:00:21 PM:

    First, the propagandist starts with de-legitimizing the government of Israel by putting parentheses in `democratically’. >>

    Indeed, here we have in front of us a very skillful anti-zionist (a
    politically-correct version of a classical anti-semitist) propagandist.>>

    So let me see, first we have a propagandist who starts off by deligitimizing the opinion of the other person by labelling him/her “anti-semitic”…

  16. Anonymous Says:

    “It’s not that FIRST the Hezbollah desires the destruction of Israel, provokes Israel, send missiles into north Israel, kills its soldiers and THEN Israel reacts; No!…”

    Sorry, I just wanted to clarify because maybe I misunderstood the history of events. Didn’t Israel respond to two soldiers being kidnapped by bombing the only international airport in Lebanon? Didn’t that bombing occur before any missiles were launched by Hezbollah? You make it sound as if Hezbollah had already been launching missiles before Israel reacted, but perhaps I’m confused.

  17. Douglas Knight Says:

    John Sidles:
    My wife and I have relatives of every religion

    Really? How about Zoroastrians? Seriously, could you list these religions?

  18. John Sidles Says:

    Douglas Knight said… Seriously, could you list the [religions or your relatives]?

    Hoho! The answer was given long ago, by a person wiser than me:

    Young man, said Bildad sternly, thou art skylarking with me –explain thyself, thou young Hittite. What church dost thee mean? Answer me!

    Finding myself thus hard pushed, I replied. I mean, sir, the same ancient Catholic Church to which you and I, and Captain Peleg there, and Queequeg here, and all of us, and every mother’s son and soul of us belong; the great and everlasting First Congregation of this whole worshipping world; we all belong to that; only some of us cherish some queer crotchets noways touching the grand belief; in that we all join hands.

    Splice, thou mean’st splice hands, cried Peleg, drawing nearer. Young man, you’d better ship for a missionary, instead of a fore-mast hand; I never heard a better sermon.

    But Douglas, if you want a more conventional answer, well, it was a young Bahai girl who first broke my heart, my Sephardic relatives are the best-looking, my Ashkenazi relatives the most quarrelsome, the Jehovah’s Witnesses the most devout, the Catholics the most conservative, the Methodists most averse to making love standing up (because it might lead to dancing!), the Episcopalians rank highest in society, the Baptists the most down-to-earth, the Wiccans best to party with, the Coptics most learned in history, the Orthodox the best dancers, the Spinozists the brainiest, and just as a piece of advice, it’s best never to go fishing with just one Mormon relative (because he’ll drink all the beer).

    And I failed to offend anyone, it was not for want of trying!

  19. John Sidles Says:

    Doh! I forgot the Unitarians and the Quakers!

  20. John Sidles Says:

    After sleeping on it … there are also within the family circle: log-cabin republicans, property-rightists, libertarians, evangelicals, animists, L2 Society folks (or is it L3?), Lubavichers, Rush Limbaugh ditto-ists, astrologers, numerologists, animal rights activists, and committed Jane Goodall-ers.

    There are even a couple of zealots who believe in quantum computing. Gee, they’re the most prickly and defensive of all! :)

    And two relatives who are old enough to be embarrassed by it, but not embarrassed enough to refrain from it, spend reunions arguing who is superior, dwarves or elves?

    So just to belabor the point, wouldn’t it be futile, and wholly destructive to the family circle, to try to decide once-and-for-all “who’s right?”

    Which is NOT to say that we embrace what Jonathan Israel rightly condemns as “thoroughgoing relativism.” The point is rather, that we’ve got plenty to think about & are still making up our minds.

    One thing we know for sure, a well-spread smorgasboard helps us think about it. As my wife wisely says: “It is not enough to be right, one must also be kind.”

  21. Anonymous Says:

    You make it sound as if Hezbollah had already been launching missiles before Israel reacted, but perhaps I’m confused.

    Yes, you were confused. Hezbollah was the first to rocket missiles on north Israel as a diversion operation that enabled it to kill eight Israeli soldiers and
    kidnap two.

    Even the UN (notorious for its anti-Israeli bias) had acknowledged that Israel
    and Lebanon have NO territorial dispute whatsoever.
    Therefore, Hezbollah’s strike can be interpreted only as an illegitimate act of war, for which Israel has all the right to react against – including against the country hosting Hezbollah.

    The anon above dismisses the right of Israel to self defense and de-legitimize its actions in a manner that manifests double standards as applied to Israel in contrast to other countries. Applying double standards against the Jews as a collective is a classical manifestation of Anti-semitism, and it’s immaterial if the anon above does hold any negative racial or religious views against the Jews as a individuals.

  22. Anonymous Says:


    Israel has about 2 million palestinans in the occuppied territory that have no citizenship of any country, and very few rights

    What?!
    There are less than 2 million palestinians. Most of them (about a million) live in Gaza strip.
    Israel had evacuated Gaza strip, and transferred all Israeli citizens out of Gaza. Any right these 1 million palestinians have or does not have is the matter of their own Hamasic government to solve. Not Israel. If they spend all their efforts in sending missiles on innocent Israeli civilians in south Israel, or spend all their money in the border with Egypt to smuggle arms, it’s their own fault.

    The palestinians in the west bank, have all liberties and rights as individuals. They can, and did, choose their own government (Hamas).

    You say they have “very few rights”. This is not the truth, as I just explained above.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    “The palestinians in the west bank, have all liberties and rights as individuals.”

    This is not completely true; they don’t have free reign to travel. i.e., it is the case that periodically Israel will not let Palestinians in the West Bank leave the West Bank. My friend suffered from this in July when he was supposed to leave the West Bank for the US in mid-July after visiting some relatives but was not permitted by Israel to leave the West Bank until the conflict with Lebanon was settled (or at least “more settled”).

  24. Anonymous Says:

    The palestinians in the west bank, have all liberties and rights as individuals.

    Gaza and west bank are not independent countries and many aspects of the Palestinian’s life are still controlled by the Israeli government, which they don’t get to vote for. This is manifested in so many ways that it’s ridiculous to enumerate.

  25. Anonymous Says:

    Do you think this means America can convince the three religious groups to sign a peace treaty if it declares a war on gay people?

  26. John Sidles Says:

    ——————–

    INTERVIEWER: What has your many years’ observation of champanzees taught you about human behavior?

    GOODALL: It’s taught me that our aggressive tendencies have probably been inherited from an ancient primate some 6 million years ago.

    But also love, compassion, and altruism—we find these qualities in chimpanzees as well. Both of these characteristics—the dark side of our nature as well as the more noble side—we’ve probably brought with us from the past.

    Some people say, therefore, that violence and war are inevitable. I say rubbish: our brains are fully capable of controlling our instinctive behavior. We’re not very good at it, though, are we?

    —————-

    If two rival bands of chimpazees were miraculously gifted with reason and speech, would their dialog be all that much different from what we hear in the Middle East?

  27. Anonymous Says:

    To one of the many anonymouses:

    It is possible to disapprove of the Israeli government and find it overly aggressive without being anti-semitic. I would guess a significant number of people in Israel fit in this category.

  28. Cheshire Cat Says:

    Axis of Evil – one down, two to go…

  29. Anonymous Says:

    It is possible to disapprove of the Israeli government and find it overly aggressive without being anti-semitic.

    Of course, it is possible. But, as I explained above this is not the case here: if from a mere “criticism” you jump to de-legitimization, then you are manifesting an anti-Semitic pattern.

    The, (alleged) crimes of Turkey, US, China, Russia, Spain, France, Iran, UK let alone the Arab world are so enormous, that the amount of time and passion these “merely-criticizers” invest in a tiny place with tiny (accidentally Jewish) population called Israel, surely makes these guys entitled to be called at least mild/semi/Neo-Anti-Semitists.

    I find it funny that people are so afraid of being tagged as ‘anti-Semitists` even for some mild extent, while they are willing to twist facts, exaggerate, be full of hatred toward Israel, de-legitimize it, and invest quite a few efforts in bashing Israel when they have the most slightest opportunity to do so (like some commenter above did in response to a post about a gay parade).

    I would guess a significant number of people in Israel fit in this category.

    Jewish Anti-Semitism is a well established phenomenon in Jewish history. If an Israeli jumps from criticism into de-legitimization he too manifests an Anti-Semitic pattern; just like an American that leaps from mere criticism of the current US administration into the ‘conclusion’ that US is the “source of evil in this world” can be justifiably entitled Anti-American.

  30. Anonymous Says:

    This is manifested in so many ways that it’s ridiculous to enumerate.

    Please do enumerate these “so many ways” (while considering only individual rights in contrast to collective-symbolic rights like the “total annihilation of Israel”, which most Palestinians hold as a sacred right they own).

  31. John Sidles Says:

    Seldom has “anonymous” posted more often than in this thread!

    Isn’t it true, that terms like “legitimize” and “de-legitimize” are commonly associated with non-rational cognitive processes that enforce agnotological boundaries?

    The basic rule is, any cognitive construct labeled “legitimized” must not be questioned, while any concept labeled “de-legitimized” must not be raised.

    Typically, this classification is established by authority and coercion, and justified ex post facto by reason.

    The classic example is Spinoza’s excommunication—history provides innumerable others from every religion and political dogma.

    The internet is doing a great deal to dissolve these boundaries. To the discomfiture of many!

  32. Anonymous Says:

    Please do enumerate these “so many ways”

    How about the simplest one. The right to live?: http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/
    11/09/gaza.ap/index.html.

    What would Americans say if Mexico accidentally attacked a neighborhood in El Paso, killing 18 civilians?

  33. Anonymous Says:


    How about the simplest one. The right to live?

    Please come up with more serious arguments than this.
    If the killing of 18 civilians means that some group has “no right to live”, then surely the deliberate murder committed by Palestinian suicide bombers of more than 1500 Israelis in the last six years would mean that the Palestinians are committing genocide against the Jews in Israel.

    What would Americans say if Mexico accidentally attacked a neighborhood in El Paso, killing 18 civilians?

    I guess that if Mexico would declare its strategic goal as the total destruction of US; and starts shooting missiles on US cities, half of Mexico would be wiped out. What is your guess?

  34. Anonymous Says:

    There IS a Middle East solution that is obvious, definitive, and just: universal compulsory intermarriage.

    The religion of the first-born to be chosen randomly; the religion of subsequent-born to be in strict rotation: Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, and Secular.

    Net time to fulfillment of Middle East peace, optimism, justice, and prosperity … oh, about five years! :)

  35. Anonymous Says:

    If the killing of 18 civilians means that some group has “no right to live”, then surely the deliberate murder committed by Palestinian suicide bombers of more than 1500 Israelis in the last six years would mean that the Palestinians are committing genocide against the Jews in Israel.

    You’re right. Those Palestinian organizations have no right to kill innocent civilian Israelis. But, at least according to the Red Crescent Society, 3800 Palestinians have also been killed by the IDF between 2000 and early 2005. It’s a two-way street; both sides are killing civilians. The only difference is the IDF is legitimized by support from current superpowers (i.e. the US), whereas Hamas isn’t.

    I think the only reason people find it easier to sympathize with the Palestinians is because they’re the ones who are not in power, so their lifestyles have ended up being a whole lot crappier. But really, both sides are murdering left and right.

  36. aram harrow Says:

    I forgot about Cyprus. (“you forgot Poland!”) But I think it’s not just splitting hairs to point out that a larger fraction of the people governed by Israel (i.e. Israelis plus Palestinians living in Occupied Territories) are disenfranchised.

    As for what Scott says, you don’t have to agree with the views of Lebanese and Turkish citizens to acknowledge that their governments are democratic. Many Americans have supported crazy things, like using nuclear weapons (36% for first strike and 54% more in response to a terrorist nuclear attack), but that doesn’t mean the system is undemocratic.

    And the Armenian genocide doesn’t change the fact of modern Turkish democracy any more than the Holocaust changes the fact that Germany is currently democratic.

    Lebanon also does not give citizenship to the palestinian refugees that have been there since 1948.

    Nor does the U.S. give citizenship to millions of foreigners who would like it. Whether or not you like this, it’s a common practice of democracies.

    Also, the elections in Lebanon are by a religious quota – each sect gets a fixed number of seats in the parlament according to a census made in 1932.

    And the U.S. still gives small states extra votes in the electoral college according to a compromise made in the 1770’s to keep the slave-holding states in the union. No one’s perfect.

    Nor am I saying that Israel is evil and Muslim countries are good. Just that the image of Israel as a shining beacon of democracy in the midst of an angry Arab mob, is bullshit.

    It’s good to criticize Lebanon’s lack of perfect secularism, and Turkey’s occupation of Cyprus. But let’s start at home, with Israel’s official policies of pro-Jewish discrimination, and America’s threats of nuclear first strike. It’s less hypocritical, and less likely to justify wars.

  37. scott Says:

    It’s a two-way street; both sides are killing civilians. The only difference is the IDF is legitimized by support from current superpowers (i.e. the US), whereas Hamas isn’t.

    Well, a second difference is that when the IDF kills civilians, there’s a government inquiry into how it happened, whereas when Hamas kills civilians, there’s a street celebration with candy passed around and guns fired into the air.

    I admit that Aram (for example) probably considers this difference irrelevant, since he’s argued in other contexts that one should only look at body count and not at intent. But for those of us who do care about intent, it’s a pretty basic distinction.

  38. John Sidles Says:

    Scott sez: For those of us who do care about intent, it’s a pretty basic distinction.

    But a tricky one, obviously, since the rational centers of the brain are anatomically distinct from the “intent” centers, and according to pretty solid scientific evidence, are informatically subordinate to them.

    ——

    DEMONSTRATION: your task is to watch this video while counting EXACTLY the ball passes by the WHITE team: click here for video.

    ——

    See Sustained innatentional blindness for dynamic events as an introduction to this fascinating—and rapidly expanding—scientific literature.

  39. Anonymous Says:

    Wonder if the reasonably admirable list still makes every the religions in the world. I donot see Taioists, I donot see Buddhists, I donot even hear one religion from India.

  40. John Sidles Says:

    Anonymous said… Wonder if the reasonably admirable list still makes every the religions in the world. … I do not see Taoists, I do not see Buddhists, I do not even hear one religion from India.

    ——-

    You raise a very good point. Let’s see … in America, don’t the Unitarians and Quakers occupy the religious niche that Buddhists and Taoists occupy in Asia? Because if convergent evolution happens in biology, surely it happens in religion too.

    As for the lack of Indian religions, there too I am confident that rapid progress would be made, if only several young, cheerfull, good-looking, marriage-minded, gainfully-employed Jains and Sikhs would stop by our family reunions. Praise be to Nanak! :)

  41. Anonymous Says:

    Aram Harrow sez:
    But let’s start at home, with Israel’s official policies of pro-Jewish discrimination

    What do you mean by “home”. Are you a citizen of Israel? Why do you consider the Palestinian-Authority, Egypt, Syria, Iran and Saudi-Arabia less as “your home”?
    (Even if you are, this “self-criticism” argument is not convincing in any way.)

    I forgot about Cyprus.

    This forgetfulness is exactly what I was talking about. You do not miss any opportunity to bash Israel, while forgetting major, much worse, (alledged) crimes by other countries.


    And the Armenian genocide doesn’t change the fact of modern Turkish democracy any more than the Holocaust changes the fact that Germany is currently democratic.

    No, it doesn’t. It just changes the moral status of these two countries, as well as UK, Spain, France, Belgium, Russia etc. as collonialist countries.
    For instance, Germany today is democratic AND “free” of Jews (modulo some few newly Jewish immigrants from Russia). Of course, any nation can first murder some minority group, and THEN become a democratic state.
    If you choose to ignore the past, then you give advantage to anyone commiting a genocide: “in 20 years or so, our crimes would be forgotten and we could celbrate our democracy!”

    Israel could have also killed or expelled all the Arabs from Palestine back in 1948 (which is much more “justifiable” in the sense that those Arabs literally tried to murder the Jews and destroy Israel in 1948) and then celebrate its “superior democracy”. The fact that it didn’t, and that about 2 million Arabs are now citizens of Israel with full rights (yes! Full rights!) means that any sort of Israel bashing (in contrast to a mild and proportionate criticism) stems from bias invoked by anti-zionist sentiments (yes! sentiments, not rationale), political interests (e.g., European financial interests in Arab oil) and politically-correct-fashion of a Chomskian-nature (and yet other kinds of pre-judice against Israel).

    Israel’s official policies of pro-Jewish discrimination

    Except for pro-Jewish immigration laws, I do not know of any discrimination against minorities in Israel. Many countries (like Greece) hold such laws favoring the immigration of some national groups.
    Israel was established as a Jewish state or a state for Jews, which is also a democratic state that respects other minorities and religions (as I mentioned above).

    Anyway, I’m leaving this thread for now, as most arguments have already been spelled out in some sort.

    Goodbye for now,
    Anonymous

  42. John Sidles Says:

    Anonymous sez: I’m leaving this thread for now, as most arguments have already been spelled out in some sort.
    … Goodbye for now, Anonymous

    ———

    Anthropic Zen-Haiku #3
    You are more evil than me …
    and so I must kill you.

    The ancient pond
    reassembled the apes.

    ———-

    Regarding which, “anonymous” sent me the following hilarious comment: “The first rule is, you do not talk about Fight Club!

  43. aram harrow Says:

    In case anyone’s left on this thread, anonymous said:

    No, [past genocide] doesn’t [change the fact of present democracy]. It just changes the moral status of these two countries, as well as UK, Spain, France, Belgium, Russia etc. as collonialist countries.

    Part of the misunderstanding going on here is conflating democracy with “moral status.”

    A deeper problem is even attaching moral status to states. This is “axis of evil” logic. Actions can be moral/immoral and sometimes people can as well. But trying to judge the morality of entire states is usually meaningless, and risks becoming an excuse for nationalist posturing.

    e.g. Is the U.S. an immoral nation because of the response to Katrina? That’s a stupid/pointless question, just like speculating about whether Lebanon is morally inferior or superior to Israel.

    Also worth answering is why criticizing Israel is self-criticism: mostly because I’m American, and Israel is an American client. But also partly b/c of my Jewish background.

  44. John Sidles Says:

    Aram (and all others still reading this thread), my thanks go to all who have posted thoughtfully and respectfully. “To jaw-jaw always is better than to war-war” (Churchill).

    Perhaps we could wind-up by comparing reading lists? I have just received Jonathan Israel’s Enlightenment Contested, whose prologue alone is so extraordinarily interesting and masterful, that have I quarantined the book for three weeks with my colleague Joe Garbini, lest it prevent me from getting any work done at all in November.