Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Just Because We're Paranoid
Doesn't Mean There Not Out to Get Us
Take 3

Just because I am critical of Israel does not mean I am blind to the stupidity and hatefulness of many of Israel's enemies. Indeed one of the reasons that I rarely go to "anti-war" demonstrations is that they usually become "anti-Israel" rallies. ("Down with Israel, is hardly a "peace slogan".) Worse, they often become pro-Hamas (or Hezbollah, or ...) rallies. More and more they become anti-Semitic rallies - or at least attract a lot of open anti-Semites.

Those of us in the "peace camp" should not be blind to this phenomenon nor - in my opinion - should we ignore it. Open anti-Semitism should be outed and opposed as much as the anti-Arab racism so many of us deplore among Jews and Israelis.

What's more - just as Jewish extremists and hate mongers discredit Israel (and also all Jews) in the eyes of world public opinion and, in the end, serve to weaken her; so do anti-Israel extremists and hate-mongers discredit Palestinians (and also all Muslims) in the eyes of world public opinion, and weaken rather than strengthen the Palestinian cause.

The blurry picture above, is from a video taken of an anti-Israel demonstration in Fort Lauderdale. (See Pro-Hamas Demonstration, Fort Lauderdale Fla.) The sign says - in case you can't read it - "Nuke Israel". This person is - literally - advocating genocide. That would certainly be illegal in Canada, as a hate crime. I would think that even in the U.S. it would be illegal. It should be. There is nothing in the person holding the sign's demeanor to indicate she means its "metaphorically". She can be heard shouting, presumably at pro-Israel demonstrators across the street, "More Ovens!". Her friends seem to agree with her.

In another video - taken at an anti-Israel demonstration in Toronto last week (see 1:06 here) - a demonstrator can be heard saying "Hitler didn't do a good job." When asked about it by the camera man he repeats it then punches the guy in the face.

The difficulty in being in the peace camp is that we appear to be defending - or worse, allying with - these types. We need to make sure we are not. We need to denounce their unnecessary violence, their hatred, and their anti-Semitism as surely as we denounce Israel's.

We also need to make clear to our "audience" (and we all have an "audience") that being critical of Israeli policy and actions and supporters does not mean embracing Hamas and its policies actions and supporters. Similarly one can be disgusted by the anti-Semites without becoming a Zionist hawk (or any kind of Zionist or any kind of hawk for that matter.)

There is a middle way, the right way, of being for peace and justice for both Jews and Palestinians.


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