Unpacking the PACBI Excuse

Interesting article on DIVEST THIS! : Unpacking the PACBI Excuse.

8 Responses to “Unpacking the PACBI Excuse”

  1. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    If you follow down the “Divest This!” site, you’ll come (towards the end of the article of 12 October) to a link to a delightful article by Brian Henry (a friend of Engage), writing as “Nora Clean”, a daffy boycotter, on Harry’s Place of 10 October. Very much worth a read.

    However, I started this comment not because of that, but because while reading the first “Divest This!” article, the one linked to above, and pondering the writer’s argument about Israel as a democracy (among much else), I recalled that, at about – or shortly before – the time of the first intifida, the Algerian government, faced with the threat of an Islamist regime being elected, eliminated the threat along, quite literally, with the Islamists. Some 3000 were killed in something like 3 weeks (more accurate figures welcomed). And, from the military-based Algerian government’s point of view, it worked: the threat receded, at least for a while.

    And the world’s reaction was…to take absolutely no notice: they’d rather condemn the 10% of that figure who died over a period of several months to a year (not all of them, by any means, at the hands of the Israeli authorities or even the settlers on the West Bank and Gaza) as the _real_ crime against humanity.

    I recall wondering at the time whether, had the Israelis acted with as much ruthlessness in as short a time and crushed the intifida, the world would have turned away as quickly. Probably not: these were, after all, Jews, Israelis and Zionists – the worst breachers of human rights in the world: except for all the others, as we here know only too well.

    There are, as Winston Churchill agreed, distinct drawbacks to democracy…until you closely examine the alternatives!

    By the way, and tangentally to the point, Nick Cohen’s article in last Sunday’s Observer on the BNP and next Wednesday’s appearance by Nick Griffin on the BBC’s Question Time is well worth a read. Perhaps it should be linked to here, and we can all comment on it…? Here’s a link to it anyway:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/oct/18/nick-griffin-question-time-bbc

  2. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    fred, I clearly failed to make myself clear. The Algerian example was used advisedly. The difference between the military regime’s reaction (in Algeria) was that they (successfully for a short time at least) eliminated the threat along with those seen as making the threat, and the soldiers cared less (or little) about the human cost. The Israelis, during the first intifida, for sure, attempted to _police_ the events. The result was a relatively low death rate over a relatively long period of time – even allowing that one death due to police or military action is one too many.

    The reaction in the west to the Algerian events was much as I described it above: they did nothing and there was little or no protest: to my certain knowledge, as I was as avid a follower of world events then as I am now.

    Even allowing for the (already by then) emergence of Nick Cohen’s “left-progressives”, the reaction to the Israeli attempts to deal softly with the intifida was an immense over-reaction. It was as though the Israelis had killed, or caused to be killed, numbers on the scale that the Algerians were carrying out.

    Maybe it’s because it’s Jews we’re talking about here. Not that that’s a difficult conclusion to reach!

    I’m not sure I’d rely on wikipedia for my info. I’ve been caught out like that before.

  3. fred Says:

    Countries dissolve into vicious civil wars and the world throws up their hands. But the first intifada doesnt qualify as countrymen fighting each other inside their own country. they were occupied people, under military, colonial rule, in revolt. There is generally sympathy for the occupied when they revolt; not unusual.

  4. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    fred, you’ve turned what was a politico-philosophical musing into something it isn’t: namely, a disquisition on occupied peoples and their reactions, likely or otherwise, to being occupied.

    Now if you want to go down _that_ road, I’m more than happy to do so. However, we would have to start, at the very least, where Benny Morris starts in “1948”, that is, in the 1870s and the first (legal/legitimate) Zionist immigrants to Turkish-controlled Palestine.

    If you don’t, don’t stretch what I say into areas I haven’t touched, hinted at or even can be accused of implying, at least in _this_ posting. Please read what I actually write and comment on _that_.

    And I stand by what I’ve written: the Algerian military slaughtered significant numbers of their own people and the West took, in essence, not a blind bit of bloody notice. The Israelis killed far fewer, over a longer period of time during the first intifida (and far fewer than had been or were to be killed by their own people/co-religionists), and the West (in particular) and the “progressives” within that bloc even more, condemned Israel and Israelis as a bloodthirsty mob for the relative restraint with which they carried out a police action. Why? Because they were and are Jews.

    This is not to condone or condemn the occupation, and I share the general Engage “mission statement” perspective that regrets the continuing occupation and believes fervently that it should and must end in a 2-state solution.

    So, fred, address the points made or go and find someone else to attack for not believing what _you_ want them to believe.

  5. fred Says:

    “Why? Because they were and are Jews.”

    I accept that has something to do with it. But there’s also a lot more media focus & attention on Israel. You may rejoin that that’s because its the Jewish state, but it has been a flashpoint that draws attention. Arguably the most influential paper in the world, NYT, caters to a large Jewish audience in NYC who want to read about Israel. I believe the Sulzberger family wants to see that level of coverage as well.

    Israel claims western democratic values , Algeria otoh was under one-party rule. liberal democracies find their behavior under high scrutiny since there’s a higher expectation of them.

    I’m not saying this is the way it should be. I prefer to read papers — well with the internet now, it doesn’t make matter so much anymore — that pay more attention to neglected parts of the world.

    I think I’ve addressed your points some.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      No you haven’t: you’ve repeated what you started with. That is, you’ve gone back to what’s wrong with what Israel is doing and that _that_ is why it receives the attention it does.

      Given that I have stressed what I started with – a politico-philosophical musing – you have continued to turn it into something it isn’t.

      I can only stress what I said at the end of my last comment above: “So, fred, address the points made or go and find someone else to attack for not believing what _you_ want them to believe.”

      You’re still not doing that, and trying to blame me for not saying what you want me to say. I haven’t and didn’t say the things you are trying to “correct” in my postings on this thread, and I’d be obliged if you would recognise that.

  6. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    I need to add, for the benefit of anyone coming late to this thread, that fred has taken my initial comment on why the world reacted very differently to the Algerian army massacres of Islamists inside Algeria and to the much lower death toll in the contemporary first intifida by trying to turn it into a disquisition and discussion of how and why occupied people react as they do to occupation. This is, in my opinion, a common practice of his: taking one item and turning it into something it is not. It is exactly what he is trying to do (despite his faux naive – in my opinion – protestations to the contrary) on the thread attached to Karl Pfeifer’s article on the attacks on him when he was invited to deliver a talk to Bielfeld students – see above, November 19 or so.

    I wish he’d stick to the actual topics.


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