We have read the book, we have seen the play and now come to the meeting.
The focus for the unequaled evil of Zionism and Israel is now to be explained (partly or wholly) through inclusion of something called “Jewishness”.
No doubt the unique evil of Zionism and Israel is now to be explained through the unique evil brought about by the unique “maladie” of “Jewishness”. After all, the question of why Israel is and does what it does is so beyond the norm that normal ways of understanding (such as politics) are insufficient. Obviously there must be other more subterranean forces at work; dark forces hidden in the mind, a bit like the dark forces hidden in the secret rooms of the White House, Congress and the Press.
Is there a word for the defenestration of rationality and its replacement by complete and utter bullshit?
Once again Gary Yonge shows how criticism of Israel can be done without recourse to racist ways of “thinking” (which does not mean one has to agree with it – that is another question and not relevant in the present context).
Note also that Yonge quotes Yehuda Bauer as one of the many Israeli academics opposed to the occupation (and who would be subject to a UCU boycott). But, then again, maybe his “Jewishness” is different from all other “Jewishnesses”?
Well, up to a point, AO. Yonge does say “Israel’s refusal to talk to Hamas…” Given that Hamas is an eliminationist organisation and says that it will talk to Israel, only providing that Israel retreats to the ’67 Green Line _before_ any talks can be held, this hardly makes it a willing partner in talks. Has Yonge asked Hamas what its pre-conditions for talks are? And has he examined its Charter and then asked them whether the clauses on the elimination of Israel and its hatred of Jews still stand, and if not, why are they still in the Charter?
He also talks about the West Bank-Israel crossing. It may be poor editing, but given that Nazareth is in Green Line Israel, this gives an unintended wrong impression.
“Brown-skinned people” would include most Israelis, wouldn’t it? From what I’ve seen, Israeli Arabs and Palestinians tend to have lighter skin than the Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews who make up the majority of Israel’s Jewish population. This wouldn’t just be a “racist straw man argument”, it would be one based on a complete myth (i.e. that of Israel being a “white” country) anyway.
AO, aren’t we getting a little too used to people who “will not let the facts stand in the way of what they are trying to prove.”? There are serious allegations here, and hardly any hard facts to support them, let alone balanced reporting from different sources. This is not a question of not agreeing, it’s a question of resenting the presentation of issues in a one-sided way which is a sure sign of intellectual weakness, dishonesty or plain racism, or all three combined.
I take your point and note the idea that the only obstacle to peace is Israel as if Hamas’ own politics and links is irrelevant to the issue at hand (a politics that, I agree, cannot be excused by the correct observations that Israel is the more powerful player and that the Occupation is wrong in and of itself).
However, as you yourself note, the point I was making, and this is why I commented in this particular thread) is that Yonge’s harsh criticism of Israel and call for the end of the occupation avoids the repetition of antisemitic myths that fall back on such rubbish as “the Israel Lobby” and “Jewishness”.
I agree it is “one-sided”, I agree also that there are some factual errors. I agree also that Hamas and the PA are not subjected to criticism. I grant you all of that.
However, I think that you are mistaken to make the claim that it is “plain racism” (even in part).
I think that it could be possible to say that since so much of what passes for “criticism” of Israel indulges in antisemitic mythologies (see the main story of this thread) one could argue that within that framework such errors could be read as continuing in the tradition of racist reporting of Israel. This is a perfectly understandable response. Indeed, many of the comments to the article on CIF would further that understanding.
It seems to me, however, that Yonge spent a few days in the OT and was gobsmacked and angry by what he saw. I have equally no doubt that what he saw and experienced were the “normal” operations of an oppressive and militaristic Occupation. Hence the anger that underlies his comments; an anger that, as you know, is expressed by many, many liberal and left Israelis (see the quote from Bauer) as well as those people beyond its borders who, whilst fully supportive of Israel’s right to exist, who fight against those who seek to make of Israel a unique evil in the world, who are not averse to antisemitic ways of thinking, etc. etc., maintain, like Yonge, that the Occupation is wrong.
When dealing with writers such as Freedland and Yonge, I think it is important to take a step back and see what they are saying and, where possible, take it out of the context in which “criticism” includes antisemtism (see, for example, the many “slips of the pen” made, for example, by Hari and others).
And to repeat the point as I see it is that Yonge writes a trenchant, albeit, “unbalanced” account of some of the facts, but not one that descends to the level of “plain racism”.
I merely was reacting upon your opening statement. That is where you and I disagree. I don’t think this particular piece by Yonge “shows” that criticism of Israel can be done without recourse to racist ways of “thinking”.
And I’m not saying it cannot be done. And I do say that there are signs (i.o.w. it cannot be excluded) that Yonge does recourse to racist ways of “thinking”.
And I take the liberty of emphasizing this, because it is a sign of the times that you, but most of us really, do not spot these very simple elements anymore. What’s at work here is what the French call “la doxa”.
It seems to me that Engage’s original premise where people were not necessarily writing anti-Semitic things by intent, but were peddling anti-Semitism tropes, and therefore effectively spreading anti-Semitism, needs to be turned around: today, people do not need to say things that are effectively anti-Semitic to peddle anti-Semitism, because the audience is anti-Semitic by default, errh by intent.
PS : “Ring me when a Jew gets murdered for being a Jew on Oxford street.” Finkler said.
You make the claim that Younge is lying.
I am afraid that there is no way I can respond to your comment in any meaningful way.
I have seen such things happen at the borders and airports of many countries, so I would not be that surprised if the same thing happened in Israel (not, of course, that that makes such incidences in anyway more acceptable).
Now, the question remains as to why the British, French, Italian, Canadian, Irish, United States, Australian, Swiss and Israeli press do not discuss it in their own press, but, that again, is hardly a unique problem.
I take your point.
One question though that does come to mind is the fact that, as far as I know, “darker-skinned” (Arab Israelis (Jews and non-Jews)) do suffer discrimination from “white” (European) Israelis. (I am happy to be disabused of this “fact”).
Could this not be what Younge is referring to?
Please stop with your generalisations. If you mean to say Ashkenazi and Sephardi then say so. As a matter of fact, there are cases of discrimination from both groups. So what? How is your point related to Younge’s stupid comment?
I’m sorry to stray from the starting point of this thread, but just above, AO is rather kind to Jonathan Freedland, when he says that “When dealing with writers such as Freedland and Yonge, I think it is important to take a step back and see what they are saying and, where possible, take it out of the context in which “criticism” includes antisemtism…” Just two years ago, Freedland had an article in CiF, linked to here, where he tackled the question of the Israel Lobby and AIPAC (https://engageonline.wordpress.com/2009/03/18/jonathan-freedland-on-aipac-and-the-myth-of-the-israel-lobby/), where he strays into both saying that of course there are many lobbies in the USA, there is no such thing as an Israel Lobby which controls US foreign policy, and _then_ he also says “True, too, that a critical blow came from Nancy Pelosi, the house speaker, reportedly outraged by Freeman’s overly indulgent attitude towards China’s rulers. But I’m reliably told that these lines of attack originated with the pro-Israel crowd. Nor have Freeman’s character assassins bothered to hide their fingerprints.”
Among other comments on this matter, I said “So, the powerful Speaker of the House of Representatives (quite high up in the succession stakes, according to the Constitution) has no views herself concerning China and Freeman’s role in promoting the place. She has to receive her instructions and be pushed by the “Lobby” – so Freedland tells us, without being other than coy about who nudged her.”
Freedland also says, in the same article, that “So the myth of an all-powerful Israel lobby, pulling the strings, is a delusion. But it’s equally false to pretend that Aipac and its allies don’t exist or exert genuine influence. They do and they play hardball, as the Freeman affair has vividly demonstrated.”
I admire Jonathan Freedland and he has a hard, self-imposed task: explaining The Guardian to the UK Jewish community and vice versa. But he can’t have it both ways, although in this article he clearly tries to.
Yes, but Freedland wrote a very good article recently on the hypocrisy of the Far Left following Judge Goldstone’s article in which he said that if he had known what he knew now, his infamous (my words) report would have been different. He (Freedland) certainly redeemed himself in that article.
Gil, you need to read the comments thread on this site in response to the report of what Goldstone now says. I commented that if he didn’t know who the component countries of the UN Human Rights Council were, then he should have done; and he didn’t know of their records on human rights, then he was, in effect, a fool, despite being a vigorous opponent of apartheid. Either way, he is revealed as less than smart: he really should have known what he was getting into, and he should have been able to access the information that undermined his view of Israel. And as for being naive in expecting Hamas to investigate charges against its actions (human shields, etc), well…
The point I am making is that, if it is the case as you note that discrimination exists in Israel then the claim made by Younge is not so far-fetched. Unfortunately, and as much as we oppose it, people are stopped and subjected to arbitrary treatment according to a variety of irrational reasons (the Chinese in Japan, Asians in the UK and, of course, the mere fact that one has an Israeli passport is sufficient to be refused entry, full stop (Malaysia and others). This is especially the case where a conflict exists between two “peoples” and are in close proximity with each other.
I agree though that the way the matter is reported, Younge implies that only Israel is unique in this way. Following comments by yourself and others, I fully accept the problematic nature of such reporting. However, the idea that Israel is different in this respect from the majority of the world’s other 200 countries, I find problematic. And it is for this reason that I cannot agree with you that Younge is prima facie “lying”.
Further to my comment above (April 25, 8.23 pm) on Goldstone, I note that today’s (28 April) London Evening Standard has the following from columnist Ian Birrell (p. 14): “Libya made history last month by becoming the first nation suspended from the United Nations Human Rights Council. Next month, elections take place for its replacement – but in the best tradition of many member states, the result has been stitched up in advance. The winning candidate, supported by both Egypt and Tunisia, is set to be Syria.
This is beyond satire.”
Or, as we often say here, you couldn’t make it up.
I think it’s called pseudohistory, Comment is Free, and there’s pseudoscience too. (But watch out for Ronald H Fritze’s book Invented Knowledge where he seems to see zionism as a motive for crack theories about the ancient world or their acceptance – it’s not clear. p185. He applies it to Velikovsky but not to Sitchin, dunno why. Don’t bother looking these people up unless you’re interested in prehistoric giants or colliding planets and take Genesis as the literal truth.)