Good News about Israel’s Arabs

Despite the recent riots in Acco, there is good news about the Israeli Arab situation. The IDF is reporting that the number of Arab recruits is up dramatically this yuear. It is slightly unclear when they are including Christian Arab, Muslim Arab, and Bedouin Israelis in their figures and when they are referring to the populations separately. Israeli Arabs serve almost exclusively in the 585, the desert reconnaisance battalion (the article below calls it a brigade, but it is not). Bedouins serve in a variety of regular units. The 585 is split almost evenly between Arabs and Bedouins, and they do not get along. Historical rivalries are not far below the surface in the battalion, resulting in fights, thefts, and taunting. The army is aggressively pursuing Christian Arab recruits, as they do not have the connection to Islam that make it less likely for Muslim Arabs  to enlist. Towns such as Daburiyya have had residents murder local soldiers, and recruits from such communities have to return home without their uniforms.

Bedouin towns are far more supportive, and communities such as Beit Zarzir and Hujirat, almost all young men serve in the army.

It should be noted that I commanded the officer interviewed below during his basic training. Haaretz reports: 

The number of Israeli Arab recruits to the IDF has increased dramatically in the first nine months of 2008, official figures obtained by Haaretz indicate.

The rise in the Bedouin recruitment rate is attributed to Bedouin’s difficulty in finding well-paid jobs outside the military and problems with the local authorities. The IDF has also improved its treatment of Bedouin army veterans and is helping them find employment.

The army refused to provide accurate figures, but the number of recruits is estimated to have increased by 50 to 100 from the beginning of the year, bringing the total number of recruits in 2008 to some 300.
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The rate of non-Bedouin Arabs’ recruitment has also increased in recent years, and an officer in the IDF’s Human Resources Branch said he hoped that by next year their recruitment figure will reach 350, equaling the 2003 rate. Another significant increase in recruitment is expected next month.

Colonel Ramiz Ahmed, head of the population directorate in the IDF’s Human Resources Branch, told Haaretz in an interview that the drop in recruitment in recent years cannot be attributed to events or the political atmosphere. While recruitment rates dropped after the October 2000 events – several days of protests in northern Israel during which 12 Israeli Arabs and one Palestinian from Gaza were shot dead – it rose again afterward. Toward the end of the Al-Aqsa intifada in 2004, the rate plummeted again and continued doing so until the end of 2007, Ahmed added.

The law exempts non-Druze Arab citizens from compulsory military service. However, many of them have been recruited over the years to the professional army, especially as trackers.

From the mid-80s, Bedouin were drafted into a six-month compulsory service, after which they joined professional army. Since 1991 they have been volunteering for a three-year compulsory service before joining the professional army. This was encouraged in the 1980s and 1990s by former defense minister Moshe Arens, who believed it would strengthen Arab youngsters’ affiliation to Israel.

In the past year the IDF has prepared a plan to encourage Bedouin to join the army, and assist them after their discharge. This includes lectures in schools and help in directing discharged soldiers to studies and employment. “The intention is to improve the initial impression they get. They must leave the army with a direction in life,” said Ahmed.

Most of the Arab recruits are placed with the desert reconnaissance brigade posted in the Gaza Strip. Most of the combatants are Bedouin, but some of the officers are Jews and Druze. Other recruits are trained as trackers.

The IDF has decided to open additional units to Bedouin soldiers, and today a Bedouin major is serving in the Air Force. The army is also acting to increase discharged soldiers’ options to buy land. The government recently decided to reduce the development costs of plots in Druze and Arab villages by 25 percent.

Public Arab activists, political leaders and the Islamic Movement object to recruiting Arabs. However, in many cases the decision whether to serve is made by the person involved and his father. “I’ve had cases in which youngsters joined despite their father’s objection. I had a soldier who used to change out of his uniform in the Be’er Sheva mall before returning home, and put them on again on his way to the base,” a tracker officer told Haaretz.

However, the soldiers’ reasons for joining the army are economic or rooted in the local authorities’ restrictions on Arab citizens, rather than political. “We’re not even allowed to put two rods together and attach a piece of cloth to them,” said Master Sergeant Hamad Talalka, a tracker with the Sagi regiment on the Egyptian border.

Like the rest of the trackers, Talalka spends a week with his family then a week in the army, during which he hopes that his house in the northern Negev’s Goral hills – for which a demolition order has been issued – remains intact. The authorities did not issue a demolition order for his brother’s house, although the latter did not serve in the army.

The Bedouin tribes’ ongoing struggle with the state over their lands does not deter the youngsters from joining the IDF. They believe that military service will give them a better standing vis-a-vis the authorities. Many of them see military service as a way of improving their social and economic situation.

Master Sergeant Camal Atrash served three years, left the army and has now returned for professional service. “After your release you find that your friends who did not serve have worked, bought new cars and live well, while you have to find a way to make a living,” he said.

Atrash was refused a weapons license so could not work as a security guard, while his friend, who did not serve in the army, was issued a license to carry arms.

Bedouin officers, however, emphasize their commitment to the state. Second Lieutenant Amir Juamis, 27, of Beit Zarzir, joined the army at the age of 26 after his brother was discharged. His father was wounded in the first war in Lebanon, and another was wounded in Gaza in 2002. He joined as a combatant, trained as an officer and now commands a military team.

“I feel like an Israeli citizen and it’s my duty to serve and contribute to the state. This is also the Bedouin’s state,” he said a few weeks ago.

Asked about how he feels fighting with his people on the other side of the border, he said: “a terrorist is a terrorist. Islam doesn’t say you have to kill. He comes to kill here and can kill a Jew or an Arab. It’s my duty to prevent that.”

124 Responses to Good News about Israel’s Arabs

  1. Cynic says:

    Historical rivalries are not far below the surface
    I don’t know what historical means here exactly but just witnessing the fighting between the Bedouin of Shibli with Arabs from surrounding villages on various occasions, with bloodshed and destruction, makes one aware of something far more extreme than ‘historical’. No wait, it can’t be, they are all Muslims.
    I suppose in the States it would be defined as something racist.
    Pity the media didn’t carry the pictures in one incident of a bus whose driver was a Bedouin from Shibli who had to drive on the public road past the Arab village of Kfar Masr. That they bus did not carry residents of Shibli, but school children returning home from school to the kibbutz that provides Masr with its livlihood, did not enter into consideration.
    The poor driver ended up in hospital with massive head injuries from the rain of rocks and stones. All in the interests of honour/shame.

    What was far more interesting was the fact that apart from the fire brigade and Magen David Adom being present so was the Border Police whose make-up includes many Arabs (the proportion of Bedouin to Arab is not disclosed).

    he said: “a terrorist is a terrorist. Islam doesn’t say you have to kill. He comes to kill here and can kill a Jew or an Arab. It’s my duty to prevent that.”</em.

    Yes, when the fence started going up in the Jordan valley arround Afula, the terrorists started entering through Baka Al Gharbiya, where as it just so happens many policemen in Israel have been recruited and they found it just a little disconcerting.

    Towns such as Daburiyya have had residents murder local soldiers, and recruits from such communities …

    Yes, and the suppression of Christian expression is suppressed generally and becomes completely oppressive at Ramadan.

  2. Pelican's Point says:

    I appreciate your comments regarding the IDF and your first-hand experiences serving with Arab / Bedouin officers and enlistees. Have you read Salzman’s latest book “Culture and Conflict in the ME”? If you have or do in the future, I’d like to hear your opinions on it. I’d wonder if his conclusions and premises – esp. as regards how his theory of “balanced opposition” may or may not resonate with your own views and experiences. Richard’s too. Thanks.

  3. Pachanguera says:

    Following last night’s coverage, the BBC published the following account of the riots today:

    “…The trouble broke out late on Wednesday after an Israeli Arab man was assaulted when he drove his car during the Yom Kippur religious holiday…The Arab man was reportedly attacked by youths who said he was making noise intentionally…The Arab man is reported to have said he was simply driving to a property he owned in the eastern part of the city.”

    Compared to the details offered by Israeli newspapers and several international news wires, the BBC’s reporting fell woefully short of being an accurate depiction of events. Al Jazeera provided a more balanced frame for the story, having interviewed an Israeli police spokesman. Honestly, this entire mini-exercise in media analysis was disappointing. (Link to the BBC article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7663870.stm.)Reuters admittedly did a poor job of presenting the story as well.

    The UK Guardian published an op-ed entitled “Israel’s own religious fanatics.” According to the columnist,
    “The initial incident was sparked by a handful of Jews hurling rocks at an Arab man, after they took umbrage at his decision to drive through the Jewish side of town on Yom Kippur, an act that apparently offended their religious sensitivities.”
    (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/oct/10/israelandthepalestinians-judaism). Granted, an op-ed writer has more latitiude than a straight news reporter, but nonetheless in journalism ideally there is a system to how facts should be investigated and organized.

    The Israeli rioters should be condemned, no question. Their behavior was neither wise nor beneficial – it was inflammatory and unacceptable, and I hope to hear the international Jewish community speak out again the violence. That said, this riot has generated more biased reporting overnight than I personally have seen recently.

    However, it wouldn’t surprise me if a newspaper soon ties this example of extremism with increasing settlement violence in the West Bank, and if researched correctly they might be on to something. Thoughts?

  4. Cynic says:

    Pelican’s Point,

    I hope you were not referring to me as I am not commenting from an IDF point of view.
    My observations are as a civilian having worked with many of these people for many years and been privy to situations, one as rediculous (not my line of business) as being “the enemy of his enemy”.
    I got to know of relationships at times because the person concerned found me to be a disinterested father confessor. Christians especially would seek escape from the oppressive behaviour during trying periods by forming transient friendships. Certainly eye-opening after the stereotypical garbage dished up.
    There are Christian soldiers who formed strong bonds with their Jewish comrades to the extent that after their 3 years service they would travel for 6 months to a year, as has become the norm for Israeli conscripts, together around the world.

    I don’t know Salzman’s book. If he discusses Israel does he include the Cherkasim, who are Muslims, in his work? They are easier to get along with and genuine friendships can evolve with Jews, while with the other groups one is left to gambling with where the taquiya starts and ends.
    They serve alongside Jewish and Druse soldiers in the regular units.
    As a group they take no nonsense from the Arabs but then again have seen them come under terrific religious pressure from the Saudi clique.

  5. Pelican's Point says:

    Cynic, Sorry for the confusion. This format makes it difficult to follow comment threads. I was addressing that one to Lazar. I should have put his name on the front of it.

    My interest, as a non-Jew and as a non-Israeli, is in understanding the psychology of conflict and similarly, the differences in cultures that cause its members to seek resolution to disputes through violence rather than compromise and negotiation. I generally learn a lot from all the comments and articles on this blog. Thanks for yours.

    Salzman is a cultural anthropologist who specializes in Mediterranian and ME peoples.

  6. E.G. says:

    Pelican’s Point,

    Maybe this insight will help?

    According to Akiva Eldar* “But no money in the world will turn an Arab/Palestinian public, be it Muslim, Christian or secular, into an organic part of a country that defines itself, based on the nationality of the majority, as a Jewish state. ”
    *http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1028427.html

    Once in a few millenia, some Jews try to live under self-sovereignty rather than constitute “an organic part of a country” ruled by others, whilst preserving their Jewish identity. The latter attitude seems incompatible with the Arab (Palestinian?) sense of identity.

    Does Salzman say something about this mentality gap?

  7. Pelican's Point says:

    E.G. As I understand it, cultural anthropologists observe societies from within and attempt to see how they are organized, how they provide for themselves, how political power and resources are distributed and consumed, how marriage partnerships are formed, etc.

    Observing Arab and bedouin society for many years Salzman has identified an underlying principle of Arabian society – balanced opposition – that requires the unquestioning participation and allegiance of all who wish to maintain their honor. It is the scientific version of the old Arab proverb . .

    Me against my brother, me and my brother against my cousin, me and my brother and my cousin against the world.

    This principle can explain how it is that Arab society grants status (honor and shame) to its members according to how well they embrace this principle.

    Arab history is a story of constant conflict and conquest of “other” peoples. “Other” can be a brother, a cousin, a religion, a tribe, a clan, a nation, all non-Arabs, all non-Muslims, etc. depending on the political goals and size of the military under control of the current holders of power in part of the Arab world.

    Such opposing coalitions form spontaneously in Arab society because Arabs understand that being an Arab means unquestioning support for that system. (Social identity)

    There is no “rule of law” in Arab society – there is rule of coalitions that at that moment are stronger than their enemies – and strict traditional rules that dictate how these coalitions are formed and who owes allegiance to whom (up to and including losing one’s life defending that coalition), usually according to patrilineal kinship.

    Traditional rules also dictate who can dominate whom within the family, clan, tribe, etc. Males can dominate women. Older males – younger males. Older brothers – younger brothers, all brothers – their sisters and even their mothers, etc.

    My take is that this principle “balanced opposition” has been manifested for the last 60 years at least, for many political reasons advantageous to the highest level Arab powers, as . .

    . . me and all Arabs (and all Muslims) against the Jews and anyone who befriends them”.

    This all connects to both personal and social identity but Salzman is not trying to be a psychologist. I do think that his observations provide a lot of grist for the psychological mill however and I have been thinking about R. Landes’ theories of honor / shame and cognitive egocentrism in that context.

    Salzman has provided an intriguing new window through which we can examine this conflict. I was hoping to compare notes.

  8. Cynic says:

    Pelican’s Point,
    The following article by Stanley Kurtz might interest you

    Assimilation Studies

    Cousin marriage, I have argued, helps to create and organize a deep-lying bias in the Muslim world toward in-group solidarity—a social strategy that has the effect of walling off Muslim society from outside influences, heightening internal cohesion, and insuring cultural continuity. By no means do all Muslims marry their cousins. Yet, throughout much of the Muslim world, the cultural ideal and practice of cousin marriage helps to set and reinforce in-group solidarity as a leading social theme.

    Read the links to two previous articles as well and having read Salzman maybe you can draw some further conclusions.

  9. Cynic says:

    Pelican’s Point,

    I should have mentioned that he sites various Anthropologists with links to some of their work; Britain’s Roger Ballard and Sir Edward Taylor.
    Ladislav Holy – Czech anthroplogist, R. Murphy and L. Kasden, Martin Ottenheimer and others.
    It is worth reading reading the three articles to further understand what a tight knit object the clan becomes when the familial forces are brought to play.

  10. Pelican's Point says:

    Cynic, Thanks. I have now read “Marriage and the Terror War” parts I and II and found much in there that resonates with Salzman’s ideas. In fact, my impression at this time is that Salzman’s “balanced opposition” provides a piece of the puzzle Kurtz is exploring.

    When coalition groups form to dispute differences, patrilineal connections determine who one must support. Endogamous marriage adds persons and eventually whole families and their descendants to one’s own side – persons who can not change their allegiance (to side with the more morally justified claimant in a dispute, for example) except by suffering extreme loss of honor and/or being disowned for having done so. Such things are just not done. You must always support your closest patrilineal relatives in any dispute. Justice, laws and the circumstances of the dispute have nothing to do with it.

    This can be extrapolated to the I/P conflict. No Arab (who values their membership in Arab society and who is not otherwise protected by powerful circumstances) could even consider the possibility that Jews have some right to exist peacefully in Israel. In some cases even asking the question could result in a dangerous loss of honor (and access to family support and resources).

    This code is rigidly enforced by older family males who are even willing to kill (or often, order younger family males to kill) female family who threaten the family honor. An honor killing displays one’s allegiance to this system in very vivid ways and adds immensely to a family’s honor – and vice versa. Failure to carry it out when called for can greatly diminish a family’s honor. Families are always on the lookout for such transgressions by rival families’ daughters. Publicly accusing them offers a powerful way for your own family to gain status at their expense. Salzman points out that it is public awareness of such transgressions that trigger honor killings. If a daughter’s transgression remains known only within her close family she is likely to get off with some severe beatings. Alive, but subdued, she can still add to the family numbers and political strength by marrying endogamously.

    There seem to be some good links in both those articles that will take me to other sources along these lines. Now I need to do some more reading and reread some of Salzman to consider all this. Perhaps we can compare notes again on some future article that touches on these cultural aspects.

  11. Cynic says:

    Salzman points out that it is public awareness of such transgressions that trigger honor killings. If a daughter’s transgression remains known only within her close family she is likely to get off with some severe beatings.

    And then there are the cases where the brother’s rape their sister, or the father for that matter rapes his daughter, and then the mother has to kill her, sometimes even with the help of the rapists. Usually the men responsible turn their backs on their disgraceful (for want of a better word) conduct and force someone else to commit murder so that the degenerate can keep his and the family’s honour.

    A sick society where their piety and strict “morals” and dress codes are nothing more than PC BS.

  12. Cynic says:

    I should have mentioned that the neighbours know nothing until somebody suddenly wises up to the disappearance of the girl/woman.

  13. oao says:

    folks,

    it is still a 7th century society. they have not progressed beyond that.

  14. Pelican's Point says:

    I think it’s important to restate that my interest in understanding Arab culture better is so that I might understand ways that the conflict could be reduced at least to a less violent level or more realistically, so that I might support policies and leaders that would support that outcome. I am not interested in finding ways to demean Arab culture.

    I am trying to understand Arab culture. As a strong supporter of enlightenment values I have a bias against cultures that oppose them. That makes me an instinctive supporter of Israel and to instinctively see the Palestinians as enemies of my values.

    However, there are many things about western culture that are distasteful even to many westerners and certainly to Arabs and Muslims. All Arab / Muslim criticism of western culture is not without merit. Similarly, there are many merit-worthy aspects of Arab / Muslim culture.

    Salzman takes some pains to point out that his job is to describe cultures honestly and with a scientist’s eye, not to praise or condemn them. He shows that tribal societies are essentially egalitarian and democratic. All members are responsible for their own decisions. They will gain or lose honor according to their own actions, freely taken, within a framework of well-known rules. There is no state apparatus that functions like our police and courts to impose some (theoretically) universal system of laws and justice. Arabs do not have to turn their lives over to such a bureaucratic system (as we do) that sometimes operates quite arbitrarily and they learn from an early age to be responsible for their own actions.

    I understand why many Jews / Israelis would have hateful views of Arab society. That’s what happens in conflict, esp. violent conflict. But then, that has to be applied to the views of many Arabs toward Israel as well. Much of the mutual animosity is the product of each side trying to damage and hurt the other and has little basis in larger issues such as culture, religion or resources. Like all conflicts, the stones are thrown and the shots are fired, and then intellects are harnessed to justify or condemn the action – and on both sides to some extent.

    Still, there are important cultural differences between western and Arab societies that I believe are relevant in understanding what, if anything, could possibly lead to a more peaceful outcome some day. I hope to examine these differences without the distortion that would come from me participating in the conflict rhetorically. I’m not sure how well I can do that but I’m somewhat aware of my biases and I’ll keep trying to remain objective. I see Salzman as a good model.

    Just to be clear, the last thing I would do is criticize any Israeli’s (or any Jew’s) attitude toward Arabs or their culture. You are defending your state and people from violent attack and that takes total precedence over my inconsequential exploration of Arab culture. But, since I’m not Israeli or Jewish, even though I identify morally with Israelis and Jews in this conflict – that does allow me an opportunity to examine Arab / Muslim culture from a slightly less involved perspective, at least for now – which I’ll keep trying to do.

  15. oao says:

    It depends on what you mean by “understanding”. Your intentions and meaning may be genuine, but there are too many like you who naively succumb to empathizing and appeasement in reaction to manipulation and propaganda. It’s extremely easy to do.

    May I suggest that instead of just “understanding arab culture”, you also add to it a serious study of the history and nature of the arab-israeli conflict. there are very few people these days who have a clue regardless of how much they believe they do. for a short recent example of informed and sharp analysis see:

    http://sandbox.blog-city.com/muftis_of_morningside_heights.htm

    anything by kramer is recommended.

    I would also be very careful with sources. a vast majority of them are seriously flawed, be it intentionally or inadvertently e.g. if you want to be fooled read edward said. those that are knowledgeable and intelligent are few and far between (salzman is the rare case) and tend to go with the fashion flaw, which currently is represented by quasi-academic anti-semitic lefties, in part because the money is with arabs these days.

  16. oao says:

    oops. i meant that those who are NOT knowledgeable and intelligent go with the fashion flow, of course.

  17. Cynic says:

    All members are responsible for their own decisions. They will gain or lose honor according to their own actions, freely taken,

    This is where he is wrong! There is no freedom in the decisions they make. They do not make the decisions. It is the Imam, the sheik or the grandfather depending on what level we are considering; within the clan, the family or the village/town.

    Every action is watched, even away at work in some other area there is somebody reporting back.
    If Americans find the installation of CCTV in public places ‘oppressive’ they have no idea of what the word means.

    Arabs do not have to turn their lives over to such a bureaucratic system (as we do) that sometimes operates quite arbitrarily and they learn from an early age to be responsible for their own actions.

    They turn it over to whoever holds the reigns of power and they tow the line because the result is what happens in Gaza everyday. Gang warfare being the usual outcome when there is more than one alpha male.

  18. Cynic says:

    oao,

    Kramer should have used the words “Arab world” instead of Palestinians, because it was the Arab world that made all the decisions regarding those Arabs who become the Palestinian refugees.

  19. E.G. says:

    Pelican’s Point,

    Just a few remarks on your comment #15.

    [Salzman] shows that tribal societies are essentially egalitarian and democratic.

    Well, that’s news for me. I suspect it is for Salzman too.

    Just to be clear, the last thing I would do is criticize any Israeli’s (or any Jew’s) attitude toward Arabs or their culture. You are defending your state and people from violent attack…

    I don’t want to sound judgemental (am not indeed) but the 1st sentence contains an implicit assumption of a bias. Do you really mean that Israelis’ and/or Jews’ attitude towards Arabs and their culture is different than any other’s attitude?

    Furthermore, a defensive attitude (which, if I may remind, is but one of the many attitudes taken) does not necessarily imply rejecting criticism, nor a distorted view of the attacker. It can and does happen but, over here especially, the rallying cry is intellectual integrity. The latter is independent of one’s tribal affiliations.

    BTW, one lesson the Israelis learned after the 1973 Kippur war to be very careful about estimating friends and foes: a big part of the Israeli surprise was due to underestimating enemy capacities and intentions, as well as overestimating their own capacities.

    I understand why many Jews / Israelis would have hateful views of Arab society. That’s what happens in conflict, esp. violent conflict. But then, that has to be applied to the views of many Arabs toward Israel as well.

    Oops. Here again hate is presumed (have you actually met/read a lot of Jews/Israelis stating or understating hate towards Arab society?) whereas aversion or prejudice would still be generalizations but perhaps less unrealistic ones. Then, the symmetry established between Jewish/Israeli views and Arab ones is automatic: yes, there are 2 sides viewing each other and they should be treated equally, but in fact the views are not the same. Indeed, fact and fable play different roles in the two cultures.

    Keep on studying – I find your intentions and procedure commendable – and please be careful about attributing your own thoughts and ideas to others.

  20. Pelican's Point says:

    I knew that last post was going to create more misunderstanding, not less. Let’s clear up a few things.

    I do not empathize with Palestinians / Arabs in this conflict. I believe they are morally wrong for repeatedly initiating violent attacks against Israel going back to the thirties. I believe they are morally responsible for all the death and destruction in the region including their own. I strongly condemn them for that.

    I believe that Israel is completely justified in as violent as necessary defense of their state and people. I support that effort completely and support Israel’s right to decide how it should be waged. It is Israel’s lives and autonomy that are at stake.

    I am trying not to let that moral condemnation get in the way of me understanding Arab society, what makes them tick. It would be easy enough to thoroughly hate them and my disdain for them often borders on that as the cause of so much unhappiness in the world. As a non-Jew, non-Israeli though I have the luxury of looking at that question without a cocked gun in my face. If I try hard I can have the advantage of seeing this decades old conflict as an intellectual puzzle.

    E.G. Yes, I expect that in many cases Israelis have different attitudes toward Pals / Arabs than non-Israelis. Waging violence (a necessary part of Israel’s defense IMO) is not easy, esp. for people who prefer peace. Aside from civilians who’s children have been inured or killed or could be killed by a bomb at any time, I know from my discussions with Israeli IDF members that some Israeli soldiers (esp young ones) can develop a vicious attitude toward those who are trying to kill them. War is dehumanizing. While most of the IDF or ex-IDF I have met are very thoughtful, I don’t blame any Israelis who do de-humanize and hate their Arab enemies. I see that as the result of being in a war they did not start and would rather avoid. I see it as the understandable psychology of violent conflict. That’s how we’re wired.

    That said, I believe that no western state has ever treated a violent enemy with such kindness and consideration as Israel often shows toward Palestinians. You are a remarkable people IMO.

    I am personally trying to not dehumanize and objectify Palestinians because that makes it easier for me to rationally understand what makes them tick – what makes them so wedded to killing Jews even if it destroys their own lives and happiness for generations. This is my personal goal, the puzzle of human nature I am trying to solve as an intellectual exercise. My comment above was to separate my views from some of the others in this thread, like 12, 13 and 14 – just so you would more clearly know where I’m coming from.

    I have actually read quite a bit about this conflict and I think I have a workable understanding of it – although I do learn more every day – much of it at sites like this. I try to constantly question my own beliefs on the matter. So, if you think I am wrong about something I am ready to listen. Please, though, make some effort to understand what I am trying to say. I put a lot of effort into being as clear as I can in my comments. These are not simple ideas to discuss and this format does not make it easy to discuss complex ones.

    (Another part of the psychology of violent conflict is that the world becomes divided into enemies and allies with nothing in between. While I am a spiritual and moral ally of Israel I am trying to not be a visceral one for now.)

  21. Pelican's Point says:

    <blockquote cite=”Salzman, Culture and Conflict in the ME page 15

    One important consequence of reliance on balanced opposition (in tribal societies) is an emphasis on individual independence, freedom and responsibility, and also on equality and democracy. At the same time the military virtues of prowess and courage, and the goal of domination are highly valued. The reasons for this are clear. A decentralized system of defense based on self-help, such as balanced opposition, relies on each individual to make judgments and act on his own and freely in collaboration with his fellow group members. Acting in defense and retaliation means engaging in violence, for which skill and courage are desirable. In tribal societies based on balanced opposition male children are raised to be independent, to take responsibility for themselves, and be ready and willing to engage in sanctioned violence against designated enemies. Collective decisions about actions are made democratically in councils in which all group members are free to speak. No mechanisms of coercion are available to force group members to act. Collective agreement on decisions puts moral pressure on each individual to fulfill his duty, and his reputation and honor are at stake. But ultimately it is up to each individual to decide on his own and act. The honorable man has no ruler and bows to no man, but stands on his own feet and his reputation as an equal to all others.”>

    The key words in my comment were tribal and essential. I’d enjoy discussing this with you more but you need to do some reading.

    http://www.amazon.com/Culture-Conflict-Middle-Philip-Salzman/dp/1591025877/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1224092518&sr=1-1

  22. Pelican's Point says:

    oao said “It depends on what you mean by “understanding”. Your intentions and meaning may be genuine, but there are too many like you who naively succumb to empathizing and appeasement in reaction to manipulation and propaganda. It’s extremely easy to do.”

    We are both serious about this. Please don’t patronize me. I have read Edward Said. I have nothing but disdain for all post-modern and post-colonial (in Said’s case) theory. I have also read Ibn Warraq’s “Defending the West” which is a fully-cited 550 page scholarly demolition of Said’s “Orientalism” and his “Culture and Imperialism” as well. Have you?

  23. Cynic says:

    Pelican’s Point,

    Something that has always amazed me is there is no general hatred shown towards the Arabs or Palestinians by the Israelis, and even in the immediate aftermath of some horrible incident when some people grouped and screamed death to the Arabs, a day later they calmly and sadly expressed disdain and disgust but nothing that can compare to the vitriolic anti-Semitic expressions that I have witnessed in the world.
    For sure there is somebody who hates but there are mitigating circumstances for this minority behaviour.
    The Jews are as imperfect as others but are not allowed to be the same.

    There is always an excuse for the arab behaviour and to not appear too unbalanced Ynet had

    Riots in Akko pit poverty-stricken Arabs against underprivileged Jews

    In a normal world hate is bred from fear but in the case of the Arabs it is inculcated as a response to those they consider “beneath” them. They don’t dislike but hate. It is not a case of dislike and have nothing to do with the other; but hate and hurt the other.

  24. Cynic says:

    In reply to #21,
    I believe that Israel is completely justified in as violent as necessary defense of their state and people.</em.

    Even here just hark back to the summer of 2006 and see the response to the vile Hezbollah. Muted almost in the extreme. Had it been the other way around; don’t need to contemplate just witness the Arab’s behaviour.
    That was the problem that the Israelis did not hate enough to go in with everything and smite Hezbollah off the map.
    It might have cleaned up some of the mess Carter created for us all.

  25. Pelican's Point says:

    Cynic, Yes, I largely agree with you on Israel’s muted response to Hisb’allah. But, like I said, I have no right to second-guess Israel’s defense of their people and territory. Israel elects their leaders democratically and must live (or die) with the decisions they make.

  26. Cynic says:

    Pelican’s Point,

    From Salzman:
    One important consequence of reliance on balanced opposition (in tribal societies) is an emphasis on individual independence, freedom and responsibility, and also on equality and democracy.

    But this, from my observations after many years of working with Arabs and becoming almost part of the scenery, is just not correct. Certainly not in most of Israel and most certainly not in the Palestinian areas.
    There is no balanced opposition. If there is opposition it is wiped out. Only the strongest survive.
    There is no democratic behaviour. It is the law of the alpha male, or the representative of the strongest group.
    One could almost say that their behaviour is similar to that of Hispanic gangs where nobody strays.

  27. Pelican's Point says:

    Cynic, That quote is from early in his book – the preface actually. He was describing the relation of Bedouins to their own tribes – tribes that were spread over Arabia and into Persia and eventually around the Mediterranean historically. He spent several years living among some of these tribes.

    To understand Salzman’s premise I think you need to see the difference between inter-group conflict (that you describe) and within-group loyalty (that Salzman’s paragraph that I quoted describes). These are the two dimensions of his balanced opposition.

    Evidence that I have seen shows that today’s Palestinian males volunteer, as a matter of personal honor, to join one faction or the other – such as Hisb’allah or Hamas or IJ – and are seldom if ever forced to do so. They often follow in the footsteps of older brothers or uncles. Suicide bombers always volunteer and are never coerced. The egalitarianism and democratic aspects he describes are found within factions – not between them.

    Those factions sometimes join together in common cause but are always close to conflict themselves and usually refuse to follow the dictates of any other faction – as a matter of honor. It is the conflict between factions that you describe that are also part of what he calls balanced opposition. I would say the current battle between Fatah and Hamas – and between the Sunis and Shia in Iraq – are traditional Arab expressions of “balanced opposition” as he describes it.

    Inter-faction violence as you describe is then fully within his description and has always been a part of Arab tribes’ attempts to displace each other and control more resources (or all the resources) through coercion, if not violence.

    He does believe that the tribal basis for balanced opposition historically has evolved to become what you describe today – and that understanding that basis can be useful in describing Arab behavior. As I understand it, the Bedouin values of courage, loyalty to the tribe no matter the personal cost, seeking honor and avoiding shame, are still highly regarded by Arabs generally.

    Hispanic gangs are quite traditional in the tribal sense that Salzman describes as I understand him. Its members are volunteers and must undergo a difficult initiation that proves their courage and loyalty. Within the gang there is utmost respect for other members and especially for the internal hierarchy (who gets to dominate who) and the willingness to defend other members at all costs. Failure to uphold those values once one has become a member can bring shame if not death. Also similarly, males join and go through the trials of initiation because they see it as an honor to be part of that gang – and because it is the only way their culture provides for males to gain that honor.

    I am not the best spokesman for Salzman. I have only read this book once and recently (though I’ve read some of his others) and I’m still trying to digest it. I could be getting some of this wrong.

    But, after this partial explanation do you still think Salzman’s premise does not fit with your experience?

  28. E.G. says:

    Pelican’s Point,

    I do not empathize….. I support that effort completely and support Israel’s right to decide how it should be waged. It is Israel’s lives and autonomy that are at stake.

    My remarks, and others’ – as I understand them, have nothing to do with your preferences. As far as I’m concerned they’re not very relevant: you don’t need to state your allegiance as a preliminary condition for me to be willing to discuss a few points with you.
    Had I been Arab, I suppose your empathy and sympathy would have mattered.

    As a non-Jew, non-Israeli though I have the luxury of looking at that question without a cocked gun in my face. If I try hard I can have the advantage of seeing this decades old conflict as an intellectual puzzle.

    Lucky you, I encourage you to use your intelligence appropriately: that’s precisely the sense of my remarks. Being an outsider gives you a different vantage point but does not provide you with any guarantee vis-a-vis logical fallacies, such as nested or understated assumprions. We all err, but while some try to avoid or correct these biases, others exploit them in combination with an uneducated public’s gullibility in order to spread propaganda.

    Yes, I expect that in many cases Israelis have different attitudes toward Pals / Arabs than non-Israelis.

    I’m glad you ended up separating Israelis from Jews and others. I assume that you figure that proximity and exposure affect attitude. Well, I’d try to check this hypothesis, because I’m not sure it’s valid. In the present case, I believe that one’s sympathy towards either side is relevant because it mediates the relation between physical distance and attitude. As Cynic points out, those who side with the Arabs of former Palestine readily justify their acts although they’d never qualify such acts as acceptable had they been carried out by anybody else. Just read a few Haaretz opinion articles and you’ll see Israeli Jews, some Zionist some post-Zionist, endorsing many an Arab claim and methodically discrediting any Israeli one.

    I concur with Cynic #24 about hate. Most Israelis have other feelings towards Arabs, and they’re not always the same as those they have towards Palestinians: some positive (e.g., compassion, identification) some negative (e.g., resentment, suspicion) some neutral (perplexity), but hate is rare.

    some Israeli soldiers (esp young ones) can develop a vicious attitude toward those who are trying to kill them. War is dehumanizing. I don’t blame any Israelis who do de-humanize and hate their Arab enemies.

    With few exceptions, Israelis do not dehumanize Arabs.
    Terrorism and suicide murder is dehumanizing those who perpetrate and support these inhuman acts.

    Israeli soldiers have a terrifying task to accomplish: differentiate a civilian from another civilian, asap. Human considerations used to prevail until inhuman acts were perpetrated using humanitarian means – like placing explosives in ambulances transporting pregnant women. Is the adolescent coming at you carrying a pet-rock or a grenade?

    The Israeli contribution to the Arabs of former Palestine’s well-being and quality of life is unprecedented and unmatched. Israeli Arabs are discriminated by Israeli Universities via Affirmative Action, West-bank and Gaza strip Arabs saw their first Universities founded only after they got occupied by the Zionists. The same goes for healthcare (Iranians are not Arabs but there’s an Iranian boy getting highly specialised Zionist treatment for his brain tumor in an Israeli hospital these days, Gaza-strip and West bank Arabs being regularly and frequently treated in Israeli hospitals), etc. etc. That’s very dehumanizing, isn’t it?

    I see that as the result of being in a war they did not start and would rather avoid. I see it as the understandable psychology of violent conflict. That’s how we’re wired.

    Wired? Not on this.
    Don’t you distinguish war from terrorism?
    Neither Israeli authorities (and public) nor most Jews nor most westerners “understand” dehumanizing behaviour, nor do they accept it. They punish it. Sternly.

    Please, though, make some effort to understand what I am trying to say.

    I am. But I also “hear” what you’re understating (unconsciously?).

    I put a lot of effort into being as clear as I can in my comments.

    No doubt. And no doubt you need to do quite some clarifying work regarding the differential meaning of some words/formulations, as well as about the way you relate them. Trying task!

    blockquote cite=”Salzman, Culture and Conflict in the ME page 15

    “Salzman is right to contrast the relative freedom, equality, and open consultation of tribal culture with hierarchical systems of authority such as, say, caste in India. Yet there’s something fundamentally misleading about applying the words “equality,” “freedom,” and “democracy” to the tribal context. What do freedom, equality, and democracy actually amount to in tribal society?”
    Stanley Kurtz http://www.weeklystandard.com/Utilities/printer_preview.asp?idArticle=14947

    The key words in my comment were tribal and essential.

    What Salzman describes hardly corresponds to a Westerner’s essential concept or experience of equality or freedom or democracy. The key word should have been “relative” or “approximative”.

  29. oao says:

    I don’t want to sound judgemental (am not indeed) but the 1st sentence contains an implicit assumption of a bias. Do you really mean that Israelis’ and/or Jews’ attitude towards Arabs and their culture is different than any other’s attitude?

    You sensed that too, huh? Just like I did.

    BTW, one lesson the Israelis learned after the 1973 Kippur war to be very careful about estimating friends and foes: a big part of the Israeli surprise was due to underestimating enemy capacities and intentions, as well as overestimating their own capacities.

    That’s news to me, judging from the 2nd Lebanon war.
    They SHOULD have learned, but did not. They are in denial mode since Oslo, with a collapsed leadership.

  30. oao says:

    I am trying not to let that moral condemnation get in the way of me understanding Arab society, what makes them tick.

    Hhmmm, but it seems to me and to EG that the way you express yourself implies some subtle bias, of which perhaps you’re not aware. Anyway, everybody’s trying to “understand” the arabs, very few try to understand the israelis/jews, which are much more deserving than the arabs/pals. Why do you think that is? (it’s a rehetorical question).

    E.G. Yes, I expect that in many cases Israelis have different attitudes toward Pals / Arabs than non-Israelis.

    But that’s the flaw that we sensed: you don’t KNOW that, you EXPECT it!!!!! There are israelis who hate arabs, but there are much less of them than there are arabs (and europeans) who hate jews, and much more intensely and for very different and by far less unjustifiable reasons.

    No mechanisms of coercion are available to force group members to act.

    Can you point to any arab society that has no coercion mechanism? Muhammad would be very surprised if he came back and read this?

    Evidence that I have seen shows that today’s Palestinian males volunteer, as a matter of personal honor, to join one faction or the other – such as Hisb’allah or Hamas or IJ – and are seldom if ever forced to do so. They often follow in the footsteps of older brothers or uncles. Suicide bombers always volunteer and are never coerced. The egalitarianism and democratic aspects he describes are found within factions – not between them.

    What you seem to ignore is that this “honor-shame” is inculcated into them since childhood via indoctrination and observation of “excommunication” and worse for those who stray. Deeming the ensuing behavior as free-choice is quite a stretch.

  31. Pelican's Point says:

    OK – Let’s see if I got this right. I stated that while I generally condemned the Arabs as the cause of the overall I/P conflict and held the Israelis blameless – I was trying not to engage in visceral hatred of Arabs and their culture in an effort to understand them more objectively.

    Then, to avoid the implication that there is anything wrong with the normal human reaction of viscerally hating people who are trying to kill you – I added that I saw nothing wrong with some Israelis expressing hatred for those who are trying to kill them (and often succeeding). Cynic even pointed out the remarkable lack of hatred of Arabs by Israelis and I agreed.

    For that, I was accused of having a “subtle bias against Israelis/Jews” because I “expected” them to look at their Arab enemies differently than would other people who were not being attacked and killed by them.

    (FWIW I call a subtle bias against Israelis/Jews by its name – antisemitism.)

    What this discussion shows is that when someone is engaged in violent conflict they can not also be engaged in rational discussions about the nature of their enemy. I can see why evolution would wire us that way and so I certainly can’t hold your irrationality against you.

    However, it is a scientific fact that being engaged in violent conflict changes the brain. It tends to prevent one from reasoning in favor of more instinctive combative and reactionary responses. Adrenalin flows through the brain and the world appears to be composed only of allies or enemies – people to trust implicitly and people to defend against and attack. The vision narrows and the senses are amplified to detect the slightest threat. I can write several paragraphs explaining why Israel is blameless and the Arabs guilty in my view but your finely tuned threat detectors found something anyway.

    Your brain is telling you that because I try to avoid saying things like . .

    folks, it is still a 7th century society. they have not progressed beyond that.

    . . then I must be your enemy and most of what I have said in this thread has been rank deception to get past your defenses.

    Well, you are wrong. I am not your enemy and I’m not trying to get past your defenses. I only wanted to talk about the possibility that components of Arab culture could provide some explanation for their behavior. Not in any way to excuse their behavior but to understand what causes it. But I also know there’s no point in explaining this because I know your brain won’t believe me. Like it is for anyone fighting for their life, those who don’t completely share your adrenalin-fueled worldview must be your enemy.

    BTW – the reason I don’t wonder so much about Israeli behavior is because it seems completely understandable to me. I can’t imagine doing things much differently if I were in your place so I have no need to figure it out. Well, perhaps I wouldn’t be quite so nice to the Palestinians and that does suggest some grounds for cultural theorizing.

    Anyway, thanks for the link to Salzman’s article.

  32. oao says:

    (FWIW I call a subtle bias against Israelis/Jews by its name – antisemitism.)

    1. You were not “accused”. Your comments made the impression on more than one person that there is a subtle bias in your PERSPECTIVE. That is, the bias was NOT in jew hatred, but on how you look at things.

    2. Not all anti-jew bias is antisemitism. Many people are conditioned by the bombardment in the media by awfully biased news and analysis without realizing it. That is not an irrational hatred of the jews, but what they perceive to be bad behavior by jews. That image is incorrect, but they dk it.

    3. Speaking of which, I was careful to consider the possibility that you were not conscious of the bias, precisely because it is subtle.

    4. Furthermore, I am a social scientist with specialization in research methods and methodology and philosophy of science. So I dount that you can lecture me on rationality, part. since my master and PhD thesis were on rational and collective choice theory.

    then I must be your enemy and most of what I have said in this thread has been rank deception to get past your defenses.

    Back at you — you seem to accuse others of exactly what you suffer from. You just cannot accept the possibility that your perspective — not your opinions — is biased. when you are faced with it, yt is you who react emotionally and irrationally.

    My statement about the arabs/pals is rational and accurate. In part islam and in part their culture has been preventing them from progressing. Indeed, their whole beef against the west is one against progress and modernity. The jihadists are striving explicitly to kill whatever little progress has occurred. Sharia is a 7th century framework.

    Well, you are wrong. I am not your enemy and I’m not trying to get past your defenses. I only wanted to talk about the possibility that components of Arab culture could provide some explanation for their behavior.

    I have NO reason to consider you an enemy. We are having an intellectual exchange and we analyzed/criticized your comments. Looks like you don’t take it well and interpret it as hatred of yourself. So it is you who are wrong and irrational, my friend.

    Of course components of the arab world provide explanation for behavior. That’s a rather trivial statement which applies to all societies. Those of us who lived in the ME and studied behavior know the effect of the culture on arabs and tried to describe it to you. Part of their world is islam and arab culture, which are rooted in 7th century. Yet when we explained it, you interpreted it as irrationality and enmity.

  33. oao says:

    and here’s a non-arab example of 7th century society:

    http://www.compassdirect.org/en/display.php?page=lead&lang=en&length=long&idelement=&backpage=&critere=&countryname=&rowcur=

    Now which component of this society do you think is causing this behavior that is in common with arabs? And does it have anything to do, you think, with 7th century?

  34. oao says:

    And here’s behavior in the US, which is gaining ground in the academic world:

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/023102.php

  35. Pelican's Point says:

    I’m really having some trouble getting your point – but I do know that you think I’m very wrong about something. Part of it seems to be your assertion that I have a biased “perspective” – perhaps even an unconscious biased perspective. But I can’t see any clear statement about what this bias causes me to see or interpret incorrectly.

    You did follow that suggestion of bias with this . .

    Anyway, everybody’s trying to “understand” the arabs, very few try to understand the israelis/jews, which are much more deserving than the arabs/pals. Why do you think that is? (it’s a rehetorical question).

    I’ll admit that statement completely baffled me.

    Are you saying that my bias causes me to look at Arab culture to find answers as to why Arabs are so humiliated by Israel’s existence – and instead I should be examining Israeli culture to understand why Arabs do that?

    Do you think maybe I should just hate the Arabs and stop trying to understand them at all?

    I have re-read your last post several times now and can’t make much sense of it. What is your point? I’ll address it if I can understand it.

    Finally, we seem to be in angry opposition for reasons that I don’t understand. I don’t feel any anger here. Just frustration at not being able to communicate a pretty simple idea. Help me out. What is my single most significant error here as you see it? The thing you’d most like to set me straight on?

  36. E.G. says:

    What’s going on?
    I’ve posted twice and both posts (actually the same one resent) simply vanished!

    It’s a conspiracy, I’m sure, and oao is part of it, speaking in my name! ;-)

    My sole question: is the plot against me, against my posts, or against my browser?

  37. E.G. says:

    oao,

    re- Israelis estimating friends and foes (#29)
    a. I didn’t say “all Israelis”;
    b. Learning and systematically applying the lesson is not the same;
    c. I’m not sure I share your analysis regarding Lebanon-II.

    #30
    E.G. Yes, I expect that in many cases Israelis have different attitudes toward Pals / Arabs than non-Israelis.

    But that’s the flaw that we sensed: you don’t KNOW that, you EXPECT it!!!!!

    I join you on this point, and until this point. See my reply to Pelican’s Point (if it makes it).

    #33
    (FWIW I call a subtle bias against Israelis/Jews by its name – antisemitism.)

    1. You were not “accused”. Your comments made the impression on more than one person that there is a subtle bias in your PERSPECTIVE. That is, the bias was NOT in jew hatred, but on how you look at things.

    Now you’re talking my line (if not my words)!

  38. E.G. says:

    Pelican’s Point,

    An update of my “vanished reply”.

    I do not empathize….. I support that effort completely and support Israel’s right to decide how it should be waged. It is Israel’s lives and autonomy that are at stake.

    My remarks, and others’ – as I understand them, have nothing to do with your preferences. As far as I’m concerned, they’re not relevant: you don’t need to state your allegiance as a preliminary condition for me to be willing to discuss a few points with you.
    Had I been Arab, I suppose your empathy and sympathy would have mattered.

    As a non-Jew, non-Israeli though I have the luxury of looking at that question without a cocked gun in my face. If I try hard I can have the advantage of seeing this decades old conflict as an intellectual puzzle.

    Lucky you, I encourage you to use your intelligence appropriately: that’s precisely the sense of my remarks. Being an outsider gives you a different vantage point but does not provide you with any guarantee vis-a-vis logical fallacies, such as nested or understated assumprions. We all err, but while some try to avoid or correct these biases, others exploit them in combination with uneducated gullibility in order to spread propaganda.

    Yes, I expect that in many cases Israelis have different attitudes toward Pals / Arabs than non-Israelis.

    I’m glad you ended up separating Israelis from Jews and others. Correct me if I’m wrong, I assume that you figure that proximity and exposure affect attitude. So you ask yourself how you’d react had you been in Israel, facing what you know of life there. Apparently, your answer is that you’d feel hate. Thus, you conclude that what seems a normal reaction in your own eyes is most probably the normal reaction of Israelis (and, by extention, of Jews who feel a bond with their folk).

    The bias is in the approach: instead of collecting data on Israeli opinions and attitudes towards Arabs are (the KNOW part in oao’s comment), your assertion is based on your expectations (and, if my above description of your reasoning is not incorrect, your expectations are based on your insight, not on what a large enough sample Israelis actually think. Such data is available, FYI).

    While I’m at guessing, I guess (won’t bet!) you devoted more attention to study Arab culture than to looking into Israeli Socio/Psycho aspects. Don’t consider it an accusation, please.

    At any rate, I’d try to check this exposure-attitude hypothesis, because I’m not sure it’s a valid one.
    In the present case, I believe that one’s sympathy towards either side is relevant because it mediates the relation between physical distance (or direct/indirect exposure) and attitude. As Cynic points out, those who side with the Arabs of former Palestine readily justify their acts although they’d never qualify such acts as acceptable had they been carried out by anybody else. You’ll find them both in Israel (just read a few articles in Haaretz) and outside Israel.

    I concur with Cynic #24 about hate. Most Israelis have other feelings towards Arabs, and they’re not always the same as those they have towards Palestinians: some positive (e.g., compassion, identification) some negative (e.g., resentment, suspicion) some neutral (perplexity), but hate is rare.

    some Israeli soldiers (esp young ones) can develop a vicious attitude toward those who are trying to kill them. War is dehumanizing. I don’t blame any Israelis who do de-humanize and hate their Arab enemies.

    With few exceptions, Israelis do not dehumanize Arabs.
    Terrorism and suicide murder is dehumanizing those who perpetrate and support these inhuman acts.

    The Israeli contribution to the Arabs of former Palestine’s well-being and quality of life is unprecedented and unmatched. Israeli Arabs are discriminated by Israeli Universities via Affirmative Action, West-bank and Gaza strip Arabs saw their first Universities founded right after they got occupied by the Zionists. The same goes for healthcare (Iranians are not Arabs but there’s an Iranian boy getting highly specialised Zionist treatment for his brain tumor in an Israeli hospital these days, Gaza-strip and West bank Arabs being regularly and frequently treated in Israeli hospitals), etc. etc. That’s very dehumanizing, isn’t it?

    In recent years, IDF soldiers have a terrifying task to accomplish: differentiate a civilian from another civilian, asap. Very little time to make up your mind about whether the adolescent coming at you is carrying a pet-rock or a grenade. So let’s not reverse causes and consequences. Human considerations used to prevail until inhuman acts were perpetrated using humanitarian means – like placing explosives in ambulances transporting women about to give birth. Israelis don’t “educate” their children to become Shaheed, nor do they venerate such parents and their blown-up killer offspring.

    I see that as the result of being in a war they did not start and would rather avoid. I see it as the understandable psychology of violent conflict. That’s how we’re wired.

    Don’t you distinguish war from terrorism?
    Israeli authorities (and public) do not “understand” dehumanizing behaviour, nor do they accept it. They punish it. Sternly.

    Please, though, make some effort to understand what I am trying to say.

    I am. But I also “hear” what you’re understating (unconsciously?).
    I wrote this before your exchange with oao.

    One classic example of nested assumptions is “When did you stop beating your sister?”
    Does the person questioned have a sister?
    Did the person questioned beat his/her sister, if s/he had one?
    Did the person questioned beat his/her sister, if s/he has one, more than once?
    Did the person questioned stop beating his/her sister, if s/he has one, and if s/he used to beat her?
    Provided the person questioned does have a sister that s/he used to beat and stopped beating, when did it happen?

    Please try to avoid confusing what you speculate (think you know, believe) or project, with valid facts you acquired. Do try to construct a representation of the subject you study that is as close as possible to the real thing, not what you imagine it to be.

    I put a lot of effort into being as clear as I can in my comments.

    No doubt. And no doubt you need to do quite some clarifying work regarding the differential meaning of some words/formulations, as well as about the way you relate them. Trying task!

  39. E.G. says:

    Pelican’s Point,

    An update of my “vanished reply”.

    I do not empathize….. I support that effort completely and support Israel’s right to decide how it should be waged. It is Israel’s lives and autonomy that are at stake.

    My remarks, and others’ – as I understand them, have nothing to do with your preferences. As far as I’m concerned, they’re not relevant: you don’t need to state your allegiance as a preliminary condition for me to be willing to discuss a few points with you.
    Had I been Arab, I suppose your empathy and sympathy would have mattered.

    As a non-Jew, non-Israeli though I have the luxury of looking at that question without a cocked gun in my face. If I try hard I can have the advantage of seeing this decades old conflict as an intellectual puzzle.

    Lucky you, I encourage you to use your intelligence appropriately: that’s precisely the sense of my remarks. Being an outsider gives you a different vantage point but does not provide you with any guarantee vis-a-vis logical fallacies, such as nested or understated assumprions. We all err, but while some try to avoid or correct these biases, others exploit them in combination with uneducated gullibility in order to spread propaganda.

    Yes, I expect that in many cases Israelis have different attitudes toward Pals / Arabs than non-Israelis.

    I’m glad you ended up separating Israelis from Jews and others. Correct me if I’m wrong, I assume that you figure that proximity and exposure affect attitude. So you ask yourself how you’d react had you been in Israel, facing what you know of life there. Apparently, your answer is that you’d feel hate. Thus, you conclude that what seems a normal reaction in your own eyes is most probably the normal reaction of Israelis (and, by extention, of Jews who feel a bond with their folk).

    The bias is in the approach: instead of collecting data on Israeli opinions and attitudes towards Arabs are (the KNOW part in oao’s comment), your assertion is based on your expectations (and, if my above description of your reasoning is not incorrect, your expectations are based on your insight, not on what a large enough sample of Israelis actually think. Such data is available, FYI).

    While I’m at guessing, I guess (won’t bet!) you devoted more attention to study Arab culture than to looking into Israeli Socio/Psycho aspects. Don’t consider it an accusation, please.

    At any rate, I’d try to check this exposure-attitude hypothesis, because I’m not sure it’s a valid one.
    In the present case, I believe that one’s sympathy towards either side is relevant because it mediates the relation between physical distance (or direct/indirect exposure) and attitude. As Cynic points out, those who side with the Arabs of former Palestine readily justify their acts although they’d never qualify such acts as acceptable had they been carried out by anybody else. You’ll find them both in Israel (just read a few articles in Haaretz) and outside Israel.

    I concur with Cynic #24 about hate. Most Israelis have other feelings towards Arabs, and they’re not always the same as those they have towards Palestinians: some positive (e.g., compassion, identification) some negative (e.g., resentment, suspicion) some neutral (perplexity), but hate is rare.

    some Israeli soldiers (esp young ones) can develop a vicious attitude toward those who are trying to kill them. War is dehumanizing. I don’t blame any Israelis who do de-humanize and hate their Arab enemies.

    With few exceptions, Israelis do not dehumanize Arabs.
    Terrorism and suicide murder is dehumanizing those who perpetrate and support these inhuman acts.

    The Israeli contribution to the Arabs of former Palestine’s well-being and quality of life is unprecedented and unmatched. Israeli Arabs are discriminated by Israeli Universities via Affirmative Action, West-bank and Gaza strip Arabs saw their first Universities founded right after they got occupied by the Zionists. The same goes for healthcare (Iranians are not Arabs but there’s an Iranian boy getting highly specialised Zionist treatment for his brain tumor in an Israeli hospital these days, Gaza-strip and West bank Arabs being regularly and frequently treated in Israeli hospitals), etc. etc. That’s very dehumanizing, isn’t it?

    In recent years, IDF soldiers have a terrifying task to accomplish: differentiate a civilian from another civilian, asap. Very little time to make up your mind about whether the adolescent coming at you is carrying a pet-rock or a grenade. So let’s not reverse causes and consequences. Human considerations used to prevail until inhuman acts were perpetrated using humanitarian means – like placing explosives in ambulances transporting women about to give birth. Israelis don’t “educate” their children to become Shaheed, nor do they venerate such parents and their blown-up killer offspring.

    I see that as the result of being in a war they did not start and would rather avoid. I see it as the understandable psychology of violent conflict. That’s how we’re wired.

    Don’t you distinguish war from terrorism?
    Israeli authorities (and public) do not “understand” dehumanizing behaviour, nor do they accept it. They punish it. Sternly.

    Please, though, make some effort to understand what I am trying to say.

    I am. But I also “hear” what you’re understating (unconsciously?).
    I wrote this before your exchange with oao.

    One classic example of nested assumptions is “When did you stop beating your sister?”
    Does the person questioned have a sister?
    Did the person questioned beat his/her sister, if s/he had one?
    Did the person questioned beat his/her sister, if s/he has one, more than once?
    Did the person questioned stop beating his/her sister, if s/he has one, and if s/he used to beat her?
    Provided the person questioned does have a sister that s/he used to beat and stopped beating, when did it happen?

    Please try to avoid confusing what you speculate (think you know, believe) or project, with valid facts you acquired. Do try to construct a representation of the subject you study that is as close as possible to the real thing, not what you imagine it to be.

    I put a lot of effort into being as clear as I can in my comments.

    No doubt. And no doubt you need to do quite some clarifying work regarding the differential meaning of some words/formulations, as well as about the way you relate them. Trying task!

  40. E.G. says:

    “Salzman is right to contrast the relative freedom, equality, and open consultation of tribal culture with hierarchical systems of authority such as, say, caste in India. Yet there’s something fundamentally misleading about applying the words “equality,” “freedom,” and “democracy” to the tribal context.
    What do freedom, equality, and democracy actually amount to in tribal society?”
    Stanley Kurtz 
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Utilities/printer_preview.asp?idArticle=14947

    The key words in my comment were tribal and essential.

    What Salzman describes hardly corresponds to a Westerner’s essential concept or experience of equality or freedom or democracy. The key word should have been “relative” or “approximative”.

  41. E.G. says:

    An updated version of my “vanished reply” to Pelican’s Point.

    I do not empathize….. I support that effort completely and support Israel’s right to decide how it should be waged. It is Israel’s lives and autonomy that are at stake.

    My remarks, and others’ – as I understand them, have nothing to do with your preferences. As far as I’m concerned, they’re not relevant: you don’t need to state your allegiance as a preliminary condition for me to be willing to discuss a few points with you.
    Had I been Arab, I suppose your empathy and sympathy would have mattered.

    As a non-Jew, non-Israeli though I have the luxury of looking at that question without a cocked gun in my face. If I try hard I can have the advantage of seeing this decades old conflict as an intellectual puzzle.

    Lucky you, I encourage you to use your intelligence appropriately: that’s precisely the sense of my remarks. Being an outsider gives you a different vantage point but does not provide you with any guarantee vis-a-vis logical fallacies, such as nested or understated assumprions. We all err, but while some try to avoid or correct these biases, others exploit them in combination with uneducated gullibility in order to spread propaganda.

    Yes, I expect that in many cases Israelis have different attitudes toward Pals / Arabs than non-Israelis.

    I’m glad you ended up separating Israelis from Jews and others. Correct me if I’m wrong, I assume that you figure that proximity and exposure affect attitude. So you ask yourself how you’d react had you been in Israel, facing what you know of life there. Apparently, your answer is that you’d feel hate. Thus, you conclude that what seems a normal reaction in your own eyes is most probably the normal reaction of Israelis (and, by extention, of Jews who feel a bond with their folk).

    The bias is in the approach: instead of collecting data on Israeli opinions and attitudes towards Arabs are (the KNOW part in oao’s comment), your assertion is based on your expectations (and, if my above description of your reasoning is not incorrect, your expectations are based on your insight, not on what a large enough sample of Israelis actually think. Such data is available, FYI).

    While I’m at guessing, I guess (won’t bet!) you devoted more attention to study Arab culture than to looking into Israeli Socio/Psycho aspects. Don’t consider it an accusation, please.

    At any rate, I’d try to check this exposure-attitude hypothesis, because I’m not sure it’s a valid one.
    In the present case, I believe that one’s sympathy towards either side is relevant because it mediates the relation between physical distance (or direct/indirect exposure) and attitude. As Cynic points out, those who side with the Arabs of former Palestine readily justify their acts although they’d never qualify such acts as acceptable had they been carried out by anybody else. You’ll find them both in Israel (just read a few articles in Haaretz) and outside Israel.

    I concur with Cynic #24 about hate. Most Israelis have other feelings towards Arabs, and they’re not always the same as those they have towards Palestinians: some positive (e.g., compassion, identification) some negative (e.g., resentment, suspicion) some neutral (perplexity), but hate is rare.

  42. E.G. says:

    some Israeli soldiers (esp young ones) can develop a vicious attitude toward those who are trying to kill them. War is dehumanizing. I don’t blame any Israelis who do de-humanize and hate their Arab enemies.

    With few exceptions, Israelis do not dehumanize Arabs.
    Terrorism and suicide murder is dehumanizing those who perpetrate and support these inhuman acts.

    The Israeli contribution to the Arabs of former Palestine’s well-being and quality of life is unprecedented and unmatched. Israeli Arabs are discriminated by Israeli Universities via Affirmative Action, West-bank and Gaza strip Arabs saw their first Universities founded right after they got occupied by the Zionists. The same goes for healthcare (Iranians are not Arabs but there’s an Iranian boy getting highly specialised Zionist treatment for his brain tumor in an Israeli hospital these days, Gaza-strip and West bank Arabs being regularly and frequently treated in Israeli hospitals), etc. etc. That’s very dehumanizing, isn’t it?

    In recent years, IDF soldiers have a terrifying task to accomplish: differentiate a civilian from another civilian, asap. Very little time to make up your mind about whether the adolescent coming at you is carrying a pet-rock or a grenade. So let’s not reverse causes and consequences. Human considerations used to prevail until inhuman acts were perpetrated using humanitarian means – like placing explosives in ambulances transporting women about to give birth. Israelis don’t “educate” their children to become Shaheed, nor do they venerate such parents and their blown-up killer offspring.

    I see that as the result of being in a war they did not start and would rather avoid. I see it as the understandable psychology of violent conflict. That’s how we’re wired.

    Don’t you distinguish war from terrorism?
    Israeli authorities (and public) do not “understand” dehumanizing behaviour, nor do they accept it. They punish it. Sternly.

  43. E.G. says:

    Where is the 2nd part of my reply stuck?

  44. E.G. says:

    reply – part 2

    some Israeli soldiers (esp young ones) can develop a vicious attitude toward those who are trying to kill them. War is dehumanizing. I don’t blame any Israelis who do de-humanize and hate their Arab enemies.

    With few exceptions, Israelis do not dehumanize Arabs.
    Terrorism and suicide murder is dehumanizing those who perpetrate and support these inhuman acts.

    The Israeli contribution to the Arabs of former Palestine’s well-being and quality of life is unprecedented and unmatched. Israeli Arabs are discriminated by Israeli Universities via Affirmative Action, West-bank and Gaza strip Arabs saw their first Universities founded right after they got occupied by the Zionists. The same goes for healthcare (Iranians are not Arabs but there’s an Iranian boy getting highly specialised Zionist treatment for his brain tumor in an Israeli hospital these days, Gaza-strip and West bank Arabs being regularly and frequently treated in Israeli hospitals), etc. etc. That’s very dehumanizing, isn’t it?

    In recent years, IDF soldiers have a terrifying task to accomplish: differentiate a civilian from another civilian, asap. Very little time to make up your mind about whether the adolescent coming at you is carrying a pet-rock or a grenade. So let’s not reverse causes and consequences. Human considerations used to prevail until inhuman acts were perpetrated using humanitarian means – like placing explosives in ambulances transporting women about to give birth. Israelis don’t “educate” their children to become Shaheed, nor do they venerate such parents and their blown-up killer offspring.

    I see that as the result of being in a war they did not start and would rather avoid. I see it as the understandable psychology of violent conflict. That’s how we’re wired.

    Don’t you distinguish war from terrorism?
    Israeli authorities (and public) do not “understand” dehumanizing behaviour, nor do they accept it. They punish it. Sternly.

    Please, though, make some effort to understand what I am trying to say.

    I am. But I also “hear” what you’re understating (unconsciously?).
    I wrote this before your exchange with oao.

    One classic example of nested assumptions is “When did you stop beating your sister?”
    Does the person questioned have a sister?
    Did the person questioned beat his/her sister, if s/he had one?
    Did the person questioned beat his/her sister, if s/he has one, more than once?
    Did the person questioned stop beating his/her sister, if s/he has one, and if s/he used to beat her?
    Provided the person questioned does have a sister that s/he used to beat and stopped beating, when did it happen?

    Please try to avoid confusing what you speculate (think you know, believe) or project, with valid facts you acquired. Do try to construct a representation of the subject you study that is as close as possible to the real thing, not what you imagine it to be.

    I put a lot of effort into being as clear as I can in my comments.

    No doubt. And no doubt you need to do quite some clarifying work regarding the differential meaning of some words/formulations, as well as about the way you relate them. Trying task!

  45. E.G. says:

    Reply part-2

    some Israeli soldiers (esp young ones) can develop a vicious attitude toward those who are trying to kill them. War is dehumanizing. I don’t blame any Israelis who do de-humanize and hate their Arab enemies.

    With few exceptions, Israelis do not dehumanize Arabs.
    Terrorism and suicide murder is dehumanizing those who perpetrate and support these inhuman acts.

    The Israeli contribution to the Arabs of former Palestine’s well-being and quality of life is unprecedented and unmatched. Israeli Arabs are discriminated by Israeli Universities via Affirmative Action, West-bank and Gaza strip Arabs saw their first Universities founded right after they got occupied by the Zionists. The same goes for healthcare (Iranians are not Arabs but there’s an Iranian boy getting highly specialised Zionist treatment for his brain tumor in an Israeli hospital these days, Gaza-strip and West bank Arabs being regularly and frequently treated in Israeli hospitals), etc. etc. That’s very dehumanizing, isn’t it?

    In recent years, IDF soldiers have a terrifying task to accomplish: differentiate a civilian from another civilian, asap. Very little time to make up your mind about whether the adolescent coming at you is carrying a pet-rock or a grenade. So let’s not reverse causes and consequences. Human considerations used to prevail until inhuman acts were perpetrated using humanitarian means – like placing explosives in ambulances transporting women about to give birth. Israelis don’t “educate” their children to become Shaheed, nor do they venerate such parents and their blown-up killer offspring.

    I see that as the result of being in a war they did not start and would rather avoid. I see it as the understandable psychology of violent conflict. That’s how we’re wired.

    Don’t you distinguish war from terrorism?
    Israeli authorities (and public) do not “understand” dehumanizing behaviour, nor do they accept it. They punish it. Sternly.

    Please, though, make some effort to understand what I am trying to say.

    I am. But I also “hear” what you’re understating (unconsciously?).
    I wrote this before your exchange with oao.

    One classic example of nested assumptions is “When did you stop beating your sister?”
    Does the person questioned have a sister?
    Did the person questioned beat his/her sister, if s/he had one?
    Did the person questioned beat his/her sister, if s/he has one, more than once?
    Did the person questioned stop beating his/her sister, if s/he has one, and if s/he used to beat her?
    Provided the person questioned does have a sister that s/he used to beat and stopped beating, when did it happen?

    Please try to avoid confusing what you speculate (think you know, believe) or project, with valid facts you acquired. Do try to construct a representation of the subject you study that is as close as possible to the real thing, not what you imagine it to be.

    I put a lot of effort into being as clear as I can in my comments.

    No doubt. And no doubt you need to do quite some clarifying work regarding the differential meaning of some words/formulations, as well as about the way you relate them. Trying task!

  46. Pelican's Point says:

    Well, I’ll try to respond but I’m still don’t know what I’m responding to. I started out in this thread puzzling over Arab culture. Now I’m puzzling over the posts that are certainly critical but can’t quite say what it is I am wrong about. I’ll play along for a while as long as we keep it friendly. But I like puzzles. So . .

    My remarks, and others’ – as I understand them, have nothing to do with your preferences. As far as I’m concerned, they’re not relevant: you don’t need to state your allegiance as a preliminary condition for me to be willing to discuss a few points with you.
    Had I been Arab, I suppose your empathy and sympathy would have mattered.

    I stated my allegiance only because I thought it was being questioned. If it’s not relevant there’s no need to comment on it, is there?

    Lucky you, I encourage you to use your intelligence appropriately: that’s precisely the sense of my remarks. Being an outsider gives you a different vantage point but does not provide you with any guarantee vis-a-vis logical fallacies, such as nested or understated assumprions. We all err, but while some try to avoid or correct these biases, others exploit them in combination with uneducated gullibility in order to spread propaganda.

    Now this one definitely has my bs detector pegged. If you have a point other than insulting me, try again to state it clearly.

    I’m glad you ended up separating Israelis from Jews and others. Correct me if I’m wrong, I assume that you figure that proximity and exposure affect attitude. . . .

    You assume wrong. Maybe you could just read my words rather than “assuming” what I mean. I simply said I would not blame some Israelis for hating the people who were trying to kill them. Nor would I blame anyone else. That’s all I meant. No hidden messages in there.

    The bias is in the approach: instead of collecting data on Israeli opinions and attitudes towards Arabs are (the KNOW part in oao’s comment), your assertion is based on your expectations (and, if my above description of your reasoning is not incorrect, your expectations are based on your insight, not on what a large enough sample of Israelis actually think. Such data is available, FYI).

    Yes, I “expect” that people who are being attacked and killed by some group of attackers will feel a healthy dose of “hate” for those doing the killing. If you are suggesting that Israelis do not react in this perfectly normal way then perhaps you can tell me what it is about Israeli amygdalas and brain chemistry that is different from the vast majority if other humans on this planet.

    While I’m at guessing, I guess (won’t bet!) you devoted more attention to study Arab culture than to looking into Israeli Socio/Psycho aspects. Don’t consider it an accusation, please.

    After your repeated insistence that Israelis don’t experience hate toward those who are killing them – that might be a good idea – if I thought there was any truth to it. But I don’t.

    You seem quite sensitive on this topic. Have you considered the possibility that Israelis are afraid to express this perfectly natural emotion – perhaps because of your precarious dependence on world opinion? I am not drawing any conclusions here. Just exploring possibilities. But, when someone is attacked viciously and indiscriminately over several decades by a group that wants to “wipe them out” and destroy them, observers would expect some righteous hatred of that group in return and see it as justified. If they don’t see it they’d think it was being repressed for some reason – and might conclude (rightly or wrongly) that that reason was guilt.

    You must ask, why should people support you if you feel guilty yourself about your acts? What do you have to feel guilty about? Very little as far as I can see.
    Perhaps you should stop acting guilty.

    People at war are allowed to hate each other. The side that hates the other more effectively usually wins. Your Hisb’allah – Hamas – IJ enemy has no problem with that concept.

  47. E.G. says:

    Pelican’s Point,

    Thanks so much for allowing me to feel hate and express it. In return, let me allow you to express something more than your feelings, and in a civilised manner, if you please. It’s a cultural thing in this place, you know.

    I understand you’ve been offended by my (and others’ perhaps) attempts to draw your attention to some critical thinking criteria. Like coherence, fact-based inference, etc. I confess that it’s your statements about rational examination that prompted me in this direction. Well, you prove me wrong. I shouldn’t have believed you were interested in any rational endeavour. And I shouldn’t have made any effort to understand what you were trying to say – even when you explicitely asked me to. I’m really sorry to have hurt your feelings. Believe it or not, it was not my intention.

  48. Cynic says:

    Pelican’s Point,

    From my vantage point I would not say that you are biased but that your perspective due to various factors seems to indicate a lack of understanding. Not your fault.
    Who from Britain where road rage is so common could imagine the general shock to Israelis, certainly among those I have met, at the death of a man due to road rage (actually over a parking space).
    “What sort of animal would do this?” was the most used expression I heard.
    At times I sense the frustration at not being able to vent one’s anger and this gives way to hate. Hate which consumes one without achieving any solace for the hurt.
    This could be rationalised, I suppose, by channeling one’s forces into more productive avenues and obviating total frustration and only more hate in a never ending loop.
    It appears that the culture which does not permit taking the law into one’s own hands has in general proven to be pacific in most cases with just the odd case the exception, and generally Israelis have learned to turn their thoughts away from counterproductive and negative emotions.
    How many automatic weapons out on the street and nothing like the carnage in other parts of the world.
    Shouting and screaming though is used frequently in supermarket queues and elsewhere as an escape valve and general rudeness, by European standards, a weapon against the terrific stress and tension endured by these people.

    The big difference I have encountered between Israelis and Europeans for that matter is that Israelis concern themselves far more with life and preserving it.
    There is a lot more respect and girls and women, for example, are free to travel alone even at night in the cities except when some Levantine appears on the scene.
    It says a lot for this society given the behaviour of most of the rest of the world.

  49. Cynic says:

    Something just struck me: Why is it that while I seem to agree with oao and E.G., amongst others, I have not felt the same way about Pelican’s Point’s posts?
    While I have felt that at times he appeared somewhat misled about Muslim culture, given my personal experience, and maybe naive about Israelis I did not get hot under the collar.

  50. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    It’s your repressed hate, Stupid! ;-)

    Seriously, I dont think anyone got hot under the collar. Was there any reason to? Since when do participants around here take agreement or disagreement, knowledge or ignorance personally?

    Only Moslems’ well documented sensitivity would find the exchange between oao’s #29 and my #38, for ex., insulting. I’m still waiting for oao’s threats to decapitate me, BTW.

  51. Pelican's Point says:

    Cynic, Thanks for your well-considered post. I truly enjoy these kinds of discussions.

    I am starting to see something that concerns me (I think motivated by some of the comments in this thread). The discussion seems to have entered into the area of emotion and its role in behavior – specifically the question of hate by Israelis of their Arab enemies – does that hate even exist?, is it justified?, what is it effect?, etc.

    This is a very interesting area and I’d like to think about it some more before I respond more specifically to your post.

    However, while I’m thinking about this could I make a request? You said,

    From my vantage point I would not say that you are biased but that your perspective due to various factors seems to indicate a lack of understanding. Not your fault.

    This seems to indicate that you, like oao and E.G. believe that I am wrong about something. Here, you charitably say this error is caused by my “lack of understanding” rather than my “bias”, for which I thank you.

    However, I am not bothered by either assertion. I would however, greatly appreciate someone explaining to me what errors this has caused in my conclusions or assertions in this thread. I’d be happy to either admit my fault or defend my reasoning but I still don’t know what errors you see that seem to have drawn your ire. (If you’ll notice, I keep asking.)

    Also, please (all of you) read my posts as if we are friends having a spirited discussion over a cup of coffee at the corner cafe. Imagine me being occasionally chagrined at your statements and playfully chiding in my response. Please don’t imagine that I am angry or indignant. If I ever get that way I’ll just go away for a while. Thanks

  52. E.G. says:

    Pelican’s Point,

    The only thing you’re wrong about is in interpreting comments about your comments as if they were comments about you.

    Nobody here is judging you. Don’t expect a bunch of persons who only got acquainted with a few posts of yours to even start thinking of judging the multi-dimentional person you are. Speaking for myself, I assure you that I have more interesting/urging subjects on my mind than your person.
    We’re “wired” on a few points – that’s all. I don’t relate to you but to (part of) what you express.

  53. E.G. says:

    P.S.

    Cynic (and all)
    I did get frustrated about my comment not being uploaded. I cursed my browser, the Stables’ filters, my xhtml skills, my mother in law and a few other usual suspects a few times. Is this anger?

  54. Pelican's Point says:

    Thanks E.G. – But that’s not what you and oao said back in #29 forward. Back then it was that I expressed a “subtle bias” against Israelis/Jews or words to that effect – something that you and oao both “detected” and commented about in a rather snide way. There was no mention then of me taking your comments personally.

    Only after I asked you repeatedly to explain whatever logical error resulted from this bias have you now decided that its only effect was to cause me to take your comments too personally.

    If that’s my only error then I must wonder what those several posts implying my antisemitism, questioning my reasoning ability, my lack of perspective, my excessive interest in Arab culture and supposed lack of interest in Israeli culture, etc. were all about.

    I think you are beating a retreat from your assertion that I was wrong about something – an assertion that you now don’t seem to be able or willing to support.

    But hey, let’s move on and get back to some of these interesting ideas about culture and behavior and emotion.

  55. Cynic says:

    Pelican’s Point,

    I don’t know if I can clear up things sufficiently suffice to say that I am commenting from what I have seen, not to say that is the only reality, whereas you are coming mainly from “hearsay”.
    For example Salzman comes across as generalizing when he describes the freedom etc.
    Many of the suicide bombers were drugged (one was so drugged that the bus driver at a stop near the town of Bet Shean managed to prevent him getting on), or forced by peer pressure at the instigation of their elders, some were kids with some problem (autism etc,. and thus expendable – strewth, on a par with the Nazis) that made them fair game to picked on and dragooned into service and basically all of the females were forced. The one woman from Gaza who blew herself up at a crossing point into Israel proper had been lured into an asignation by her husband’s cousin and set up for an honour killing.
    What sort of culture is this? It is barbaric to the extreme.
    The denatured mothers who helped send their kids to be blown up for Saddam’s dollars.
    One cannot try and understand such a culture of psychopaths, unless one is the psychiatrist treating them.
    What freedom etc., is there in a society where a crazy wheelchair bound religious leader has his thugs “shanghaiing” expendable people into becoming human sacrifices?

    E.G.
    I did find the tone a bit heated.
    Repressed hate, yes to some degree one cannot rid oneself completely of such an emotion, especially when almost losing dear ones; when one witnesses the pure evil of the other side and then has to put up with the lies and distortions of the MSM then the gates repressing everything burst open only close again when cool logic exposes the futility of flailing at the air around one.
    The it passes but it does not linger and ferment and turn everything sour.

  56. E.G. says:

    Pelican’s Point,

    I’m sure you’d empathise with my frustration/anger about my comment not being posted when it should have. It would have spared quite a few misunderstandings. Snide being one of them. None intended as far as I’m concerned, but I can’t control your thoughts as you read me. I can only do my best to use the most adequate terms that express my opinion about your opinion (as I read it, not necessarily as you intend it).

    You’re the only one who read antisemitism in oao’s (and my?) comments. And s/he clearly wrote that your interpretation was not at all what s/he meant (it never crossed my mind). And, rather than lack of perspective (what exactly this means in the present context is beyond me), both of us found the research approach you adopted to be hardly a scientific, rational one. I suppose s/he also believed you were on a scientific kind of quest.

    So yes, you’re right, once I’ve realised you’re not on the scientific/rational path, my level of expectation and the rigour standards this path requires have changed.

    I still believe you’ll benefit from acquiring familiarity with formulations containing nested assumptions, as well as with Israeli culture, though. For your general ksaps and better ME understanding.

  57. Pelican's Point says:

    Cynic, Thanks for the link to the article by Kurtz. He does a very good job of explaining Salzman’s thesis IMO and even adds a few ideas of his own. Much better than I did.

    As regarding your comment above (#58), you first say . . .

    I don’t know if I can clear up things sufficiently suffice to say that I am commenting from what I have seen, not to say that is the only reality, whereas you are coming mainly from “hearsay”.

    That’s correct although reality – especially the nature of human culture and psychology – is not so simple that viewing it’s effects firsthand automatically yields correct assumptions.

    Still, one of the things that attracted me to the comments section at Augean Stables is that there are people here with real experience on the ground living and working in the ME who could describe their firsthand views of these things.

    I wonder if after reading Kurtz’ review you still stand as strongly by your comment,

    For example Salzman comes across as generalizing when he describes the freedom etc.

    As Kurtz tried to explain, Salzman means different things than we westerners commonly mean by such terms as freedom, equality, personal responsibility and egalitarianism. For Salzman, it is perhaps easier than for his western readers to see the different relative meanings those terms take on as seen through the eyes of an Arab in a Cairo slum or a nomad in Baluchistan.

    I think those terms are relevant to his thesis when seen through a tribal lens, taking their meaning from that context.

    I entered this thread asking if anyone else here has read Salzman’s “Culture and Conflict in the ME” and what their opinions were.

    Somehow we got sidetracked but I’m still anxious to hear more about your views on this when you get a chance. My new question would be – after reading Stanley Kurtz’ review of Salzman’s book, what do you think of Salzman’s “balanced opposition” now?

    I thought it was compelling reading myself that offers some plausible explanations for things that have puzzled me about ME Arab society and behavior. His theory has several facets so it takes some effort to see the whole thing as a body of explanation but I think it’s worth the effort. I’m interested to hear how others with different experiences and perspectives see it. It certainly seems to provide a larger supporting context for Landes’ honor-shame paradigm, for example.

    For convenience it’s here . .

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Utilities/printer_preview.asp?idArticle=14947

  58. E.G. says:

    Lazar/RL –

    Thank you for getting my reply posts out of the filters’ claws.

    Now there are several repeated ones on, creating a mess. Better delete #40, #41, #43, #46, #47.

  59. Pelican's Point says:

    Cynic said,

    The big difference I have encountered between Israelis and Europeans for that matter is that Israelis concern themselves far more with life and preserving it.

    There is a lot more respect and girls and women, for example, are free to travel alone even at night in the cities except when some Levantine appears on the scene.

    I think I understand what you are getting at.

    Not too long ago I watched a TV documentary about the Israeli evacuation of Gaza. Seeing the interaction between the police units and the people who were being forced to leave their homes was a gut-wrenching experience. Throughout the program I saw an amazing level of patience and respect by each side for the other – despite the enormous emotions involved.

    I’m sure anything similar to such a forced removal of thousands from their homes attempted in the US would quickly get very ugly and hateful. I can’t imagine that something like that could be pulled off here without some serious violence.

  60. Cynic says:

    Pelican’s Point,
    That’s correct although reality – especially the nature of human culture and psychology – is not so simple that viewing it’s effects firsthand automatically yields correct assumptions.

    Yes, and that’s why I find some fault with Salzman. He does not place “freedom” in the correct context for my reality.
    Egalitarianism:
    As Kurtz tried to explain, Salzman means different things than we westerners commonly mean by such terms as freedom, equality, personal responsibility and egalitarianism.

    Then he should not have used those terms. He should have, like RL has done, create new terms and defined them so that I can identify them the cultures he writes about in the reality I live in.

    Egalitarianism; In my reality it does not exist because there is a “caste” system at play, although not to the degree one finds in India. But yes, some are more touchable than others. Maybe more akin to the British class system of two hundred years ago.

    E.G.
    What words or terms got you caught in the filter?

  61. Cynic says:

    Pelican’s Point,

    Just had a glance at the link you provided and have not read the article but Kurtz’ title Is Islam the best way to understand the war on terror. Tribalism may offer a clearer view of our enemies’ motivations.?
    appears a bit misleading because it is Islam that massively influenced the tribes and brought them to the point they are at today.

    It was Islam that “united” the tribes, from Asia to North Africa and taught them the ways of terror.

  62. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    The filter conspiracy was clearly not about me, but about my comment. Cynic certainly doesn’t figure among the verbotten terms, so my best guess is Zionist.

    Regarding equality, freedom, and democracy – I’m not sure Salzman should have coined new terms for the phenomena he describes. Writing for Western eyes, he could either use other available terms or simply add a (bottom) note.

  63. Pelican's Point says:

    Cynic said,

    Yes, and that’s why I find some fault with Salzman. He does not place “freedom” in the correct context for my reality.

    It seems that the most difficult task of anyone who wants to being a new perspective to any body of knowledge is always overcoming the established meanings of terms that already exist in people’s minds. The meanings we attach to terms are forms of belief, which are tools for survival. It takes time for them to get established in our minds and once we learn to trust them we don’t like others trying to change them. Usually, only a brave few will allow themselves to see the world through another person’s eyes.

    Did you know that cognitive egocentrism is not a unique term. It has been used for several decades in developmental psychology to describe how undeveloped young brains see the world. RL has expanded the meaning of this term into the social psychology of adults and provided a new window to look through to see some aspects of human nature. Those who allow themselves to look through this window will see things they didn’t see before. That’s good IMO.

  64. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    It was Islam that “united” the tribes, from Asia to North Africa and taught them the ways of terror.

    Islam taught the tribes the ways of terror? Can you elaborate, please?

  65. Cynic says:

    E.G.
    #64 I had some comments disappear on this site and I would like to know if I used some politically incorrect words and what they are.

    #66
    I think I did not get my sarcasm across, but them I’m not Churchill.
    The prophet started out as a brigand robbing travelers and used techniques to bring those he conquered to order. He then applied those bestial acts to other tribes who did not accept his authority, especially the Jews. These techniques his followers would use to slaughter tens of millions of Hindus in the Indian sub continent.
    Just acquaint yourself with the Hadith (oral traditions relating to the words and deeds of Mohammad) and Sira (biography of Mohammad) which more or less lend extentions to Muslim behaviour found in the Qur’an.

    Pelican’s Point,
    In Alice in Wonderland one of the characters said something to the effect: “the word means what I want it to mean…”
    We communicate using English and unfortunately we only have it and some odd foreign words to get our meaning across.
    At some point if we stumble on some new perspective we need new terminology and not distort available words which in the long run permits the veritable “tower of babel” situation observable in the comments of some blogs where people take away completely opposed notions of what the post was about.
    More correctly would be the introduction of a glossary of terms and the innovator’s attempt at explaining what the hell his text means.
    A lot of people are going to come away with that “noble savage” garbage if words like freedom, egalitarian etc., are not put into the particular context.

    Basically that has been one of the big stumbling blocks that has messed up foreign policy for many governments. “Their idea of freedom, for example, is a completely new perspective for the opposing party” and to top it, the attempt is made to express it in the language of the feudal society.

  66. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    I experienced delays only once or twice before, and it never occurred to me that it might have been due to a word/expression. I know the filters don’t like too many links in one comment, but this one contained the link to Kurtz only.
    Let me know if you detect a suspicious term.

    Sorry your sarcasm got stuck in my filters.
    For some reason, I read “invented the terror they taught” and wondered why you forgot Alexander the Great’s troops, the Goths etc. setting precedents in the application of the Geneva convention.

    Indeed, I have a very limited knowledge of Islam. But even this near-ignorance includes the nature of the embrace the religion of peace used in order to expand. Getting from the Arabian peninsula to Poitiers in just 100 years with only camels and horses and a peaceful message does seem an unmatched exploit. Weren’t you too taught that they were very tolerant?

    Did you read the texts in Arabic or translated?

  67. Cynic says:

    For some reason, I read “invented the terror they taught” and wondered why you forgot Alexander the Great’s troops, the Goths etc. setting precedents in the application of the Geneva convention.

    Good grief, you mean Al and co., were there before them?

    The bits of texts (I am not an academic in the mold of Andrew Bostom) I read were translated, but not by the Imams America is employing in its prisons. :-)
    I don’t need an “in depth” understanding of Islam because the behaviour I have witnessed has shored up whatever I have read.
    The RoP is a very tolerant of itself!

    Have also relied on blogs such as Jihadwatch where a large amount of information is available and MEMRI, for example, and the “fortunate” circumstance of being in a society where Arabic fluent people comment on MEMRI’s work which gets aired on TV. The audio and translation appearing together permit criticism and “Fisking” if any, is done on the spot. Besides which the different channels have adept Arabic speakers and if any translation of Arabic media video is faulty viewers would soon let them know.

    This blog has also provided important input to reinforce my views.
    Basically though I go by how the Arabs themselves understand their holy texts and behave according to them, to get their meaning.
    Not for nothing one understands things when some 19 year old wanna be cleric cites some verse and threatens one with things to come; what they’ll do to one’s family as well.
    The translations jibe well with their actions.
    When they come with nice things from their scriptures one needs some help in discerning that it only applies to others of their faith. Taqiya is their staple. Without it they would not maintain their honour and come out on top.
    I believe that Jefferson used the Qur’an to understand and define ways to defeat the actions of the Barbary pirates.
    Nowadays though, for some weird reason in is politically incorrect to understand and acknowledge the threat.

  68. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    Good grief, you mean Al and co., were there before them?
    And Ariel S. preceded them all.

    Similar sources for me too. But I’m also aware of the traduttore-traditore phenomenon (not applicable to MEMRI). So I do lend more credibility to some Pipes et Co. scholars than to other Imams, but don’t rely on them much to shape my understanding of the present (or recent past).

    Back to this entry’s title: good news for Israel’s Arabs. Nusseibeh’s “Al Kuds” University is willing to consider its admission policy and allow them to apply for studies. I didn’t know this institution was open to anyone except for Israelis and hair-stylists.

  69. Pelican's Point says:

    Cynic said,

    A lot of people are going to come away with that “noble savage” garbage if words like freedom, egalitarian etc., are not put into the particular context.

    Well, he did IMO. (Put them into a particular context on 220 pages of pretty careful explanation.) But you didn’t read it. I tried also in my comments but obviously failed. I probably shouldn’t have mentioned them as they were peripheral to his premise. He used the terms to show that to a Baluch tribesman or a peasant living in a Cairo slum “balanced opposition” gives them some protection from the thugs currently running their state government and from the predation of other families / clans. To them in the context of the society they were born into that’s a form of freedom – especially compared to the domination and humiliation by others they would experience without their willing participation in good standing in that system. And within that system they do get their say, if not their way, which to them is a form of democracy.

    Anyway, I thought it was a good read that offered some useful ideas toward a better understanding of why ME Arabs are so obsessed with Israel and Jews. Folks a lot better informed than me will be debating this thesis in the future.

  70. Cynic says:

    Pelican’s Point,

    Basically the ME Arabs and all Muslims have been obsessed with the Jews for some 1400 years since Mohammad wiped them out in in what is Mecca today.
    Even Arafat when visiting South Africa after signing the Oslo Accords mentioned the treaty of Hudabiyah but only a few took notice.

    The historical context of Sura 48 takes place during the Treaty of Hudaybiyah in 628. Muhammad had a dream, literally (see 48:27), to take a pilgrimage to Mecca, but the Meccans blocked his way. After a standoff, both sides agreed to a treaty by which Muhammad negotiated, among other terms, the right to a pilgrimage to Mecca a year later in 629, which took place. This truce won many new converts to Islam through peaceful means, not warfare, and 48:28 indicates that Muhammad was so confident, he predicted that his religion would spread out beyond Arabia and be exalted above other religions.
    However, warfare is near at hand in Sura 48, as usual in Muhammad’s career and in Quranic verses, and this may have contributed to his confidence. In 628, after the Treaty, Muhammad advanced northwards and attacked the city of Kaybar, where a rich tribe of Jews were settled. He was anxious to defeat them because they were inciting enemies against him. But the Jews were inciting enemies against him because he had exiled the Jewish tribe of an—Nadir in 625. This is one more piece of evidence demonstrating how the cycle of violence and revenge could go on and on in Arab culture; Muhammad the God—inspired prophet did not rise above this violent cycle, but skillfully used it to his advantage. ……..

    Islam(ists) and religious world domination

    Just scroll down.

    E.G.
    You can get some idea of the character from the verses cited in this article.
    Funny how, in today’s PC and multi-culti atmosphere, to show up this religion one must protest as to the accuracy of the commentaries and translations:
    And this translation by Majid Fakhry, emeritus (retired) professor at the American University in Lebanon, living now in the US, is approved by al—Azhar University, Egypt, the most prestigious university in the Islamic world, and catches the meaning of the singular:

  71. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    Skillful use is the key term. exploiting credulity then and now. Yes, it is part of the multi-culti religion.
    Reminds me of a near-row I had with a very nice and fine cultivated lady, who fervently tried to convince me that we should reconsider our (old Western) standards of judging artistic masterpieces so as to include early African and American oeuvres. The latter used to be labeled “primitive”, but now they’re called “primary”. Well, the lady couldn’t find anything wrong with a jungle-raised person finding the Gioconda hideous (neither could I). Yet it seemed perfectly normal for her to accomodate her view (i.e., Western aesthetic criteria) to the enlighted savages’ ones, and perfectly wrong to ask a noble savage to merely acknowledge that there were other, as legitimate, tastes as his/hers (without even bothering to inquire that person’s ideas regarding differential tastes).

    The context of this exchange made it impossible for me to point out that her attitude was incoherent, hypocritical, patronizing and decandent. Nor was it possible to find out whether she actually believed what she was arguing or merely declaiming the trendy doxology.

    When understand comes to mean empathise and justify any act by all and any means rather than comprehend, even elementary skills are sufficiently useful.

  72. oao says:

    Are you saying that my bias causes me to look at Arab culture to find answers as to why Arabs are so humiliated by Israel’s existence – and instead I should be examining Israeli culture to understand why Arabs do that?

    Pls note that I was not talking about you explicitly.
    I was referring to the tendency in the west these days to try to “understand” arabs, by which is usually meant to figure out their grievances as a consequence of western “oppression”. The line between understanding and empathy is quite blurred in this contest. that is due to the bombardment by propaganda and fqalsehoods in the media, concern with stopping terrorism, dependency on oil, and historical/traditional guilt about colonialism, multiculturalism, political correctness, liberalism and leftism (to destroy the west).

    These are vert powerful forces whic affect one without one’s realization. And the less one knows the history, cultures and facts, the more is one likely to be so affected.

    Do you think maybe I should just hate the Arabs and stop trying to understand them at all?

    Well, if that’s what you derived from my comments I’m afraid it does not merit a response.

    Finally, we seem to be in angry opposition for reasons that I don’t understand. I don’t feel any anger here.

    boy, if you only knew what my anger is like. the way it looks to me is that this conclusion of yours is emotional, which causes you to see anger where there is none.

  73. Pelican's Point says:

    aoa said boy, if you only knew what my anger is like. the way it looks to me is that this conclusion of yours is emotional, which causes you to see anger where there is none.

    What conclusion? I asked you several times to explain what it is that you think I am wrong about. But you keep running on about how easy it is to reach wrong conclusions if one listens to the propaganda – without ever saying what wrong conclusions you think I have reached.

    I do not subscribe to post-colonialism. I do not think Israel’s enemies have any moral standing to attack Israel. I think Israel has every right to defend itself using as much violence as necessary to do so. Show me any statement I made were I condoned any violence against Israel by her enemies or indicated that I though Israel’s enemies had any moral or legal justification to do so.

    All I did was explain that I was interested in understanding what makes Arabs tick – what makes them continue to mindlessly attack Israel and Jews. My interest is similar to a criminal psychologist trying to understand what makes a serial killer tick. I don’t think Arabs are justified in attacking Jews any more than a serial killer is justified in taking the life of his victims. I have been banned from progressive boards because I have argued that position. I tried in this thread to explain this to you every way I could in several different posts. I’m not angry – but this thread has left me frustrated that even after repeatedly to explaining my view and motivation you still think I am trying to justify Arab violence against Israel by somehow “understanding” it in the sense of justifying it.

    Either you are really dense or you just prefer to believe that I am lying for some reason. But I really don’t give a damn. Believe whatever you want.

  74. oao says:

    <Sorry, but I asked you several times to explain what it is that you think I am wrong about.

    Sorry, but I think I did and did not get thru. And I suspect I won’t, so I’ll stop here.

  75. -s- says:

    Hang in there, Pelcan’s Point – we’re all on the same side here.

    If I’m correct, and oao can correct me if I’m wrong, your “opponents” here are arguing that arab/muslim motivation against Jews is based almost 100% on the most vile, nazi-like antisemitic hatred – end of story – end of understanding the arab/muslim mind (or that of many europeans during the WW2 period).

    From the arab/muslim gov’t sponsored hate factories (media and mosques) to their honor/shame society in which the lowly (formerly dhimmi) Jooz somehow hold onto “sacred muslim/arab” land – and keeping a solid military advantage over – what should be – their arab/muslim masters. The Jooz represent modern, liberal values that arab/muslim leadership utterly rejects (meritocracy, equal rights for all, self-criticism, etc..). The Jooz and their values, and those most like them (Americans) must be destroyed at all costs to preserve 7th century values – end of story.

    Now honestly, what else does one need to “understand” this medieval and regressive mentality?

  76. E.G. says:

    “Many of us are unfamiliar with the postmodern debating style on college campuses, but here’s how it works. A topic is picked. The skilled postmodern debater ignores the topic and instead talks about race, gender and personal feelings.”
    http://www.mindingthecampus.com/forum/2008/09/modern_lunacy_in_postmodern_de.html

  77. oao says:

    arab/muslim motivation against Jews is based almost 100% on the most vile, nazi-like antisemitic hatred – end of story – end of understanding

    yes and no. yes: it is antisemitic vile hatred. no: it’s NOT an end to understanding.

    because the west tends to be relatively civilized, most westerners cannot conceive of the kind of vile and barbaric hatred displayed by arabs. when they say they want to understand, they too often mean identifying the grievances against the west and the joos, because such inconceivable behavior must be driven by some extraordinary grievances. I described above the various factors that drive westerners to embark on such understanding, although they’re not always conscious of it.

    that’s the kind of perspective I was referring to, which is not hatred of the jews, but a search of the grievances producing it.

    now, I dk enough about pelican to determine that he’s a victim of that, but the way he expressed himself caused to get a whiff of that. so I explained it to him, to make him aware of the possibility. I did NOT accuse him of anything, but he took it as an accusation.

    Now honestly, what else does one need to “understand” this medieval and regressive mentality?

    We DO need to understand that that’s what it is and treat it the way it deserves. The problem is that people refuse to accept that’s what it is in order to avoid confrontation. It’s called appeasement.

  78. E.G. says:

    Foreign Policy: What do you see as the biggest misperception about Islam?

    Bernard Lewis: Well, there are two. Sometimes one, sometimes the other, predominates. It depends when and where. I would call them the negative one and the positive one. The negative one sees Muslims as a collection of bloodthirsty barbarians offering people the choice of the Koran or the sword, and generally bringing tyranny and oppression wherever they go. And the other one is the exact opposite, what you might call the sanitized version, which presents Islam as a religion of love and peace, rather like the Quakers but without their aggressiveness. The truth is in its usual place, somewhere between the extremes.
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4455

  79. oao says:

    I am ambivalent about lewis. there’s a few criticisms of his positions on islam and some of them are quite valid. his playground has been primarily turkey and he was treated very well there, which introduced some serious underestimate of arab and islamic problems.

    unfortunately he probably won’t live long enough to see what’ll happen to his beloved turkey.

  80. E.G. says:

    I too think it’s important to know and “understand that that’s what it is”. How important, and to what level (and kind) of understanding being also part of the issue.

    I’d also be interested to read and debate such matters.

    Unfortunately, I don’t see any relevance of the above to “good news about Israel’s Arabs”. Probably because of my pre-postmodern notion of discipline.

    Since differential interpretation of Islam/Arab culure does seem to be part of the Stables’ content, RL and Lazar can consider it as a call for papers.

  81. oao says:

    palestinian arabs are the same arabs as the rest of them. even though they realize they are better off in israel, they do hate the jews no less than the others.
    my guess is that their ideal would be to take over israel, but not be merged with the palestinian state. of course, their state would turn out to be the same as any arab state, but probably in their heads they don’t realize that.

    personal story: in 1967 I was completing my bac and my school was in a small town in the galilee, which is surrounded by arab villages. I was waiting for the bus and some arabs from the villages were there too. they were pointing at various buildings and say “see this one? it’s gonna be mine” etc.

    there are some israeli arabs who understand the advantages of a jewish state, but they are too few to count and would be eliminated fast. anybody who thinks that just because they live better in israel they do not wait for the first opportunity to loot/murder is extremely naive.

  82. E.G. says:

    Similarity is not identity and, on several features, just like Jewish Israelis are similar but not identical to Diaspora Jews, Israeli Arabs are different compared to both refugees and Arabs in general. (Not to mention the internal ethnic/religious diversity)

    Most of their leaders (or elite) abandoned them in 1948 and they are suspected, despised and envied by their diaspora.

    To illustrate. After the 6-day war, a relative’s Arab employee told him that he got his Gaza family to visit his modest apartment in a Ramla housing project. The Gazans were absolutely sure then that the employee (in a very civil factory) was an Israeli Govt. secret servant, because nothing else could explain such an apartment and – lo and behold – the presence of a fridge in the kitchen.

    Israeli authorities have made a lot of progress dealing with the Arab minority, in the most progressive meaning of the term. So did the society. I’m sure more should have been done (esp. about education) but, in fine, how do you integrate a population segment for which the notion of integration remains problematic?

    It’s obvious that Israeli Arabs face an identity conflict. But they’re not the only ones that have to deal with such dilemmas. And I believe that such conflicts are dealt with at the individual level. Which is not to say that it’s impermeable to external influence. Quite the contrary. Still, whose advise you’d follow is both crucial and personal.

    P.S 1. I hope it’s clear that I’m not advocating victimization nor infantilization.
    P.S. 2 So we’re back to Israeli Arabs. But where’s the good news?

  83. Cynic says:

    E.G.

    I don’t know where to start. Firstly Israeli Arabs are just the same mentality wise as other Arabs.
    In a manner of speaking their thinking is just like that of Congolese in the 60s who when they spoke of UHURU (Swahili for freedom) had one thing in mind, the house, the car and the appliances of the white man.
    They walk around with big eyes but refuse to accept the responsibility needed for modern living. They build huge homes, in terms of floor space, and have a Mercedes or Volvo at the door but have no proper sewerage etc., because they refuse to pay rates and taxes with the excuse that the money just goes to the Jews. Their own public workers have had situations where they did not receive pay for years because the town had no money and then cried that the Jews were discriminating against them.
    As for education; they demanded and got control of their education.
    The Cherkassim on the other hand see no problem in sending their kids to school with Jewish kids and in many cases have reaped the benefits.

    As for identity conflicts why is it that the Druse don’t face the same emotional problems?
    The Arabs are trying to play both sides of the coin.

    AS for P.S. 2, it seems to be a case of the glass being half full or half empty.
    I have on some occasions wondered what would be if suddenly one night all the Jews in Israel disappeared. What would the country be like the “next day” having to be ruled by those one has witnessed “ruling” in Egypt, Gaza, etc.
    Certainly the GDP would disappear (in the heads of those Jews), so what would they be doing to make a viable state – going back to citrus growing?
    Assuming that there is no free for all with Syria, Egypt and Jordan trying to grab something.

  84. E.G. says:

    I always wondered about the utility of a thought police. Now I know: it’s here to catch thought thieves! Like Cynic, for the above “vanished Jews” hypothesis, and oao a few days ago ;-)

    I still think that Israeli Arabs have some specificities, having lived in Israel and often born into the Israeli way of life. Their knowledge and daily acquaintance with freedoms, with a civilised form of authority and “social justice”, democracy, Human rights etc. is very different (and gives way to another level of expectation and demands) from their relatives elsewhere.
    At the same time, they’re being singled out by their non-Israeli relatives as probable traitors while they were actually betrayed. Honour/shame here becomes a double-edged sword. What pride is there in being a law-abiding Israeli citizen when the greater pride is in being an Israeli law infringing one? What is their reference group? Their relatives within Israel or the ones outside?

    The identity problem is not only an emotional one. And the Druzes (who are not exactly Moslem Arabs?) are an excellent example of one way to solve the problem. They chose. If I correctly recall, they actually followed their traditional tribal decision rule, to prefer the land: they stick to their ancestral terrain (primary loyalty), whoever rules the ground (consecutive, secondary loyalty). Moslem Arabs try to avoid making a choice, while making it on behalf of Christians (i.e., driving them out).
    I suppose they’re counting on time, indeed using ambiguity to keep the entire cake while eating many a slice of it.

    Far from being the sole sovereign country with this problem on her hands, Israel is the one place where the appropriate solution should be found, the sooner the better. Europeans can’t be expected to effectively cope with a settler population that will not integrate and is impossible to expulse. But Israeli authorities need to come up with some novel “social contract” (that’ll make Rousseau blush) between homecomers and indigenous, that will make choice inevitable.

    P.S. Yes, I’m aware that it’s not on the the Supreme court’s agenda.

  85. oao says:

    Similarity is not identity and, on several features, just like Jewish Israelis are similar but not identical to Diaspora Jews, Israeli Arabs are different compared to both refugees and Arabs in general. (Not to mention the internal ethnic/religious diversity)

    We must agree to disagree. But I did NOT compare arabs to Diaspora jews.

    Most of their leaders (or elite) abandoned them in 1948 and they are suspected, despised and envied by their diaspora.

    And they’ll do it again at 1st chance.

    Israeli authorities have made a lot of progress dealing with the Arab minority, in the most progressive meaning of the term. So did the society.

    Maybe, but that won’t count for much.

    It’s obvious that Israeli Arabs face an identity conflict. But they’re not the only ones that have to deal with such dilemmas.

    No they don’t. They see themselves as Arabs/Pals.

    But where’s the good news? Wishful thinking.

  86. oao says:

    I always wondered about the utility of a thought police. Now I know: it’s here to catch thought thieves! Like Cynic, for the above “vanished Jews” hypothesis, and oao a few days ago ;-)

    I won’t dignify that with a response.

    I still think that Israeli Arabs have some specificities, having lived in Israel and often born into the Israeli way of life.

    Yes. They hate it.

    At the same time, they’re being singled out by their non-Israeli relatives as probable traitors while they were actually betrayed.

    Which is why they also hate the non-israeli pals too and don’t want to live under their rule.

    Europeans can’t be expected to effectively cope with a settler population that will not integrate and is impossible to expulse. But Israeli authorities need to come up with some novel “social contract” (that’ll make Rousseau blush) between homecomers and indigenous, that will make choice inevitable.

    The inconsistency between those two sentences should be obvious. There is NO social contract which will solve the problem. NOTHING depends on what Israel will DO.

  87. Cynic says:

    E.G.

    I still think that Israeli Arabs have some specificities, having lived in Israel and often born into the Israeli way of life. Their knowledge and daily acquaintance with freedoms, with a civilised form of authority and “social justice”, democracy, Human rights etc. is very different …

    only up to the mosque door! When the Imam dictates, all that initial “waffle” disappears.
    For them Taquiya reigns to acknowledge the philosophical mouthings of the infidel; but when the clan and religion get going their are very few Hitchens, and far between, to make a statistically significant observation.
    Don’t take what I comment but go to Detroit and other places in the US and see who and what rules for all the “multiculti democracy” and freedom they have to endure.

    As oao points out NOTHING depends on what Israel will DO.
    Everything depends on the “Arab League” and from the get go they have been against any form of compromise. They rule, not those Arabs known as Palestinians.

    Which is why they also hate the non-israeli pals too and don’t want to live under their rule.
    And those of the West Bank detest those of Gaza and this has nothing to do with Hamas/PA fight but has been around for decades as those of Ramallah consider themselves the intellectuals; use the current US Beltway, MSM, Academic attitude to Pallin as an example.

  88. Cynic says:

    Similarity is not identity and, on several features, just like Jewish Israelis are similar but not identical to Diaspora Jews,

    For sure there is a huge disparity between those American Jewish women suffering from PDS and Israeli Jewish women.

  89. E.G. says:

    oao – Neither you nor I compared Arabs to Diaspora Jews. I made an analogy between two populations, each belonging to another, larger one.

    Cynic – is PDS the female for BDS? You mean “That wig” sells less well in Israel? Have you ever been to a Liby (or another Israeli institution) fund raising event in the diaspora? Familiar with the MZTT (More Zionist Than Thou) syndrom? Seen their “exact copies” at Watch checkpoint guards?

    oao- On several occasions, you and Cynic took the words out of my mouth (or the thoughts out of my mind). Won’t sue either for that (and will try to improve my humour skills), OK?

    They see themselves as Arabs/Pals.
    Data, please. Not only cases such as the MK who fled or several public expressions. I mean opinion polls and such: statistical rather than case-based.

    Which is why they also hate the non-israeli pals too and don’t want to live under their rule.

    But they also fear their judgement, are afraid of their manner of governing, fear losing the benefits of Israeli citizenship, etc.

    In addition to Cynic’s last #90 paragraph, I believe we agree that the Arabs of Mandate Palestine is a fragmented group. I understand that oao and Cynic argue that Islam and Jew-hatred are the sole common denominator uniting them, Israeli Arabs being in fact radicalized to form a 5th column. I can’t disagree, having no counter argument. I find it hard to agree, though.

  90. E.G. says:

    “In the meantime, the Arabs of Acre, like all Arab citizens of Israel, have no magic formula for coping. What is available to them is the lesson learned in the shadow of the Israeli regime: It’s called sumud ["steadfastness" in Arabic], holding on to the homeland and waging a stubborn struggle for full civil and national equality.”
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1031285.html

    With the help of Haaretz’s editorialist.
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1031288.html

    It was the best moment for a responsible Israeli leader to expose Israeli Arabs’ refusal to be part of an Israeli govt.

  91. Cynic says:

    They see themselves as Arabs/Pals.
    Data, please. Not only cases such as the MK who fled or several public expressions. I mean opinion polls and such: statistical rather than case-based.

    You have just improved your humour skills 100%.
    What with the fear that abounds them and taquiya you want to go by an opinion poll?

  92. Cynic says:

    I understand that oao and Cynic argue that Islam and Jew-hatred are the sole common denominator uniting them

    Islam is Jew hatred. They are not two distinct things.
    As for the rest of the paragraph just look back a couple of weeks or so to the riots in Acre/Akko whatever.

  93. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    Just to let you know I’m working hard on upgrading my humour skills.
    I found 3 recent surveys.

    The much publicized “77% Israeli Arabs prefer to live in Israel” finding lots of good intentions on both sides. And in particular that “Arab citizens and Jewish citizens both underestimate their communities’ liking of the “other.” ”
    http://content.ksg.harvard.edu/leadership/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=511&Itemid=115

    Sammy Smooha’s annual surveys:
    http://soc.haifa.ac.il/~s.smooha/frame_page.php?page=research

    Another 2006 poll.
    http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=32025

    There’s not much on Israeli Arabs’ self perception in there (at first glance), and I won’t rely on these sources only – the first 2 are clearly conducted within an agenda. I’d give Smooha a little extra credit for controlling for the Taquia factor.
    They do confirm your assertion about fear.

    One question I ask myself, and now you, is whether the distance between the chattering class’ discourse and the “regular” people’s one about the same in both communities? Is the Hisham Nafa paper in today’s Haaretz the equivalent of a Gideon Levy paper?

  94. Cynic says:

    Is the Hisham Nafa paper in today’s Haaretz the equivalent of a Gideon Levy paper?

    Give me a link to read. I cannot find that name.

  95. E.G. says:

    The 1st one in my above #93

  96. Cynic says:

    It began not on Yom Kippur of this year, but rather since the ships filled with refugees left the city’s shores; since the residents were placed in the handcuffs of military rule; since tens of thousands of their countrymen became victims of a violent, colonialist occupation; since a conscious, intentional policy of national suppression and racial hostility was instituted against them;

    Oh come orf it!
    Amazing and many of Haifa’s Arabs have lived freely to multiply and prosper.
    I don’t have the time now to repeat myself but had they cut off their noses to spite their faces in all aspects of their lives, especially education …..

  97. Cynic says:

    There’s a ‘not’ missing from “had they ___ cut off their”

  98. E.G. says:

    Nasty piece of agitprop, eh?

    So who does this writer (and a few others, telling the same fiction and threats, I’ve read in the Israeli press) speak for?

    Haifa-Jaffa-Ramla etc. Israeli Arabs?
    Only those who graduate from Tel-Aviv/J’lem/Ben-Gurion/Haifa University?
    Some fringe intellectuals?
    Influential Israeli Arab leaders?

  99. oao says:

    I never said those are the only factors, but they are the dominant ones. Nothing ever comes close.

    As to surveys and polls in the arab world, that’s a good laugh.

  100. E.G. says:

    oao,

    As to surveys and polls in the arab world, that’s a good laugh.

    Why? The Taquia?
    Even taken at face value, they’re hardly reassuring a Zionist.

    If not on statistical data, what do you base your opinion on? Others’ expertise? Personal acquaintance?

  101. Cynic says:

    #101

    They speak for themselves in the interest of their agenda.

    #103
    The Taquiya for sure and then their actual behaviour as facts on the ground.
    If one has had a certain routine behaviour to observe over a period of time and then is prompted to accept something contradictory some charlie in Foggy Bottom or the MSM expounds , which will you accept?

  102. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    The problem is that most people don’t have your privileged position and can’t be first-hand observers of Israeli Arabs daily behaviour. Nor of Jewish Israelis.

    Much knowledge is gained through media, and even the most skeptical don’t always realise all the problems this presents.

    It’s impossible to do on all subjects but on a few ones, I do my best to check contradictory info. Its credibility, of course, but its factual status as well (one reason for which, unless I can see for myself, I ask trustworthy people “on the ground” whether they can confirm the info).

    With all the caveats, I’d consider Smooha’s 2007 findings (link #96) – but not necessarily his interpretation of them – as an element I’d incorporate in my “picture” of Israeli Arabs.

    Do the following findings contradict your observations?

    ” Israeli citizenship is the most important component in the identity of 20.5% of Arabs and 36% of Jews.”

    ” Over half the participants on both sides agree that Jewish-Arab relations today are not good, and foresee a worsening in the future. Nevertheless, 74.5% of Arabs and 86% of Jews are of the opinion
    that Israel is a good place to live and 71% of Arabs and 85% of Jews prefer Israel over any other country in the world. ”

    “Changing trends of change were examined in the attitudes of Arabs and Jews to questions presented in surveys between 1976 and 2007. To the question of whether Israel has the right to exist, in 1976, 20.5% responded negatively. This dropped to lowest point of 7% in 1995, jumped to 19% in 1999 and stood at 20% in 2007. ”

    ” In response to the question of whether Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish-Zionist state, the negative responses among Arabs reached 62% in 1985, dropped to the lowest point of 35% in 1995 and rose back up to 64% in 2007. Another important finding is the
    decrease in support of the use of violence to advance Arab minority affairs, from 18% in 1976 to 7% in 2007.”

  103. Cynic says:

    E.G.

    There are so many factors involved, peer,family, clan, religion that one cannot go up to someone and ask their opinion on something and get a reasonable measure of the general feeling.
    How was the sampling on which people to question, carried out? How were the questions phrased etc.
    More important who did the asking? Whose Ok did they have to get (some stranger in a village just walking around knocking on doors?) and what provisos were demanded?

    There is not the freedom to speak one’s mind as exists in the States for example.

    Generally speaking the majority have not thought through what the result would be if they controlled the administration of the country – most Jews would leave because living under a Muslim majority would not permit them their freedom to think and create.
    Yes, they like the advantages of Israeli society, the social benefits, health services of a high quality, and a first world infrastructure that is maintained, and the freedom to go looking for other women while theirs are tied up at home.
    But let them start ruling and see where things go. They have no discipline; corruption, nepotism and an almost feudal culture (where the most powerful grabs for himself) would soon lay waste to what was.
    They cry about their victim status and their minority status.
    (Funny how the Jews in general, no matter what country they lived in as a ‘minor’ minority, when compared to this 25% minority, always took on life and generally made a success.)
    They got control of their religion and education and still they complain.
    Just to see the manner in which in general they looked after their machines and tools was enough to make one shudder. They preach a virulent hatred of the Jew and yet want the Israeli Jew to be their nanny.
    Here you have, as in Europe, a group that won’t integrate into the general structure of the state, demand apartheid, refuse to relinquish their diapers and then blame the Jews for their ‘minority status’.

    Yes of course there are a few who are not like that and who are progressing but they are too few and have no strength politically to take on the running of a viable state with Israeli type benefits.
    Unfortunately the knowledge gained through the media is so biased that one living elsewhere has no idea of the general living standards in all the other surrounding countries. And those living here are so stupid that they cannot see the reality of what they claim to be striving for.

    Pity your media did not relate the incidents when the heart torn EU sent workers to rebuild “Jeningrad” and had them threatened by the thugs because the apartments were less than 150 sq. metres and the floor tiles were not Italian marble.
    Don’t project your thinking.
    I’ll leave it at that

  104. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    Todah (let’s not restrict the foreign terms used here to Arabic ones only!).

    Smooha’s methodology (sampling, question formulation, etc.) seems ok. I consider his results as indicators of trends, nothing more.

    There is not the freedom to speak one’s mind as exists in the States for example.
    For Israeli Arabs, imposed by their cultural norms, may I add (you should have).

    Your observations, from “Generally’ to “striving for” complete and confirm my more or less direct ones.

    Western media don’t report much on Israeli Arabs. Perhaps because Europeans are not very comfortable with the reality of Israel’s Arabs’ situation compared to their Moslem population’s one (although they’re not comparable: settlers in Europe are not the same as quasi-indigenous in ex-Palestine). It’s so much easier to blame Israeli cruel occupation by focusing on refugees in miserable camps. I’m not sure the P.A. lords’ villas in the Gaza strip have been seen on European screens. Nor the Ramallah or Jerico ones. But even if they have a lot in common with Israeli Arabs, they’re not Israeli citizens, don’t benefit from the same rights and need not abide by the same duties. Jenin is not Umm el Fahm.
    (and there are different sorts of Italian marble :-) )

    Side remark. Complaining is common to both Israeli (and non-Israeli) Jews and Arabs. The difference lies in the attribution of responsibility: Israeli Jews tend to criticize first and foremost themselves; Arabs tend to blame any and everybody except themselves.

    Don’t project your thinking.
    On whom?

  105. oao says:

    If not on statistical data, what do you base your opinion on? Others’ expertise? Personal acquaintance?

    Anybody who has lived next to arabs for a while, has observed their behavior and has read about their culture, religion and societies knows what’s what.

    The problem is that most people don’t have your privileged position and can’t be first-hand observers of Israeli Arabs daily behaviour. Nor of Jewish Israelis.

    Well, not exactly, to put it politely. Westerners project and arabs are demopaths.

    How was the sampling on which people to question, carried out? How were the questions phrased etc.
    More important who did the asking? Whose Ok did they have to get (some stranger in a village just walking around knocking on doors?) and what provisos were demanded?

    Heh, heh,heh. I happen to have survey research background and one of the first things you learn is that you can prove anything you want with surveys.
    I refer to an episode of “Yes, Prime Minister” on BBC which actually gives a recipe on how to do exactly that.

    Here you have, as in Europe, a group that won’t integrate into the general structure of the state, demand apartheid, refuse to relinquish their diapers and then blame the Jews for their ‘minority status’.

    And westerners refuse to accept this reality and treat it accordingly. There’s always a search for “what we do wrong”, for “oppression”, etc. And the more they act like that, the more they disincentivize them to whine and hate.

  106. oao says:

    oops, I meant incentivize.

  107. E.G. says:

    Yes oao, the Yes Minister episode is a grand classic.
    Yes, even simple statistics can be manipulated (latest: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/128086 )

    So what do you suggest intellectually honest people who have never lived next to Arabs should do?
    Such a person’s knowledge is a fortiori indirect, mediated. And how can such a person judge a source’s trustworthiness?

  108. E.G. says:

    A propos “Yes Minister”. The story of an Israeli Arab minister.

    The apprenticeship of Raleb Majadele
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1032976.html

  109. Cynic says:

    With regard to the haaretz link

    The absurd thing is that when MK Haim Oron of Meretz visits Marwan Barghouti in prison, it is described in terms of coexistence. The meeting is given justification and Oron is portrayed as a humane figure when he meets with the enemy.

    what does he expect from the media whose agenda is to pit Meretz against Labour? He is in politics the way MacCain is.

    Sources close to Majadele say segments of the Israeli media are engaged in an “incitement festival” against Israel’s first Arab cabinet minister. His character was maligned without restraint or hesitation that, his aides say, it became a trend.
    A la Pallin?

    The MSM, not just American, have been infected by something in their schooling to latch onto someone they perceive as different and behave, to my way of thinking, in similar fashion to peer groups in school who to alleviate their ‘subconscious unimportance in the world syndrome’ denigrate/destroy that poor ‘other’.

    But then of course he makes the following argument

    Every manifestation of racism that is not dealt with today validates future racist actions. If the Tartman episode had been dealt with properly, maybe MK Aryeh Eldad [National Union-National Religious Party] wouldn’t have said ‘if the police don’t deal with the events in Acre the Jews will have to take up arms.’ I consider this to be incitement to murder. He sent the Jewish public to defend itself with firearms against the Arab public. That is appalling. Naturally, he was neither questioned nor prosecuted. It’s alright for a Jewish MK to say things like that. Imagine the reaction if an Arab MK had suggested

    without bringing in the behaviour of Arab MKs and their incitement to their local communities while in Syria and other Arab coountries, and the behaviour of some communities in October/November 2000 when they rioted and went wild in support of Arafat.

    He is living in interesting times where his ‘compatriot’s behaviour/actions during the last 14 or so years have led to a large credibility gap between Israeli Jews and them while the media has misled everybody.
    Had the media been honest enough from 1993/Oslo onwards Rabin’s government might not have been so footloose to basically ignore the terrorist attacks which started in 1994 and proceed blindly on, leading to such frustration and anguish on the one side which led people to murder and on the other led people to continue with their heads in the media sand dune.

    Majadele also maintains that government policy in the West Bank helps foment racism in the Israeli society. “The government cannot broadcast a message of peace with the Palestinians by on the one hand negotiating with them and on the other hand giving the extremist settlers free rein.

    but the PA can talk peace while their militant groups can carry out terrorist attacks?

    and he says:
    This election campaign will freeze the peace process with the Palestinians and the Turkish-mediated contacts with the Syrians. After the Lebanon War we learned that only a peace process, and nothing else, brings quiet.

    Does he really believe this after everything we have witnessed up to this week.
    There is no peace process with Lebanon and Syria continues playing the only game it knows.

  110. oao says:

    So what do you suggest intellectually honest people who have never lived next to Arabs should do?
    Such a person’s knowledge is a fortiori indirect, mediated. And how can such a person judge a source’s trustworthiness?

    1. Be extremely skeptical of what they read and hear.
    2. Study seriously arab history, culture, religion and society.
    3. Go and spend some time in the region.
    4. At the very least try to learn from both sides of the conflict.

    When a whole culture and society is founded on taqiya you gotta be skeptical in a manner that those westerners without first hand experience find very. difficult. It’s a fundamentally different world and very few westerners can conceive it.

  111. oao says:

    A propos “Yes Minister”. The story of an Israeli Arab minister.

    Without respect to this story specifically, I don’t consider haaretz a reliable source.

  112. oao says:

    cynic,

    the article validates my opinion of haaretz.

    I note that, like the US media, they give the arab position as is, without any counter argument. I also note that those without a thorough grasp of the ME have a hard time finding problems with what he says.

  113. Cynic says:

    #110

    Don’t go headlong into an “understanding” without understanding the culture on the other side of the table.

    Where please and thank you have completely different connotations in the two cultures only the Rosses and Rices can calmly continue talking rubbish.

    No, the media won’t help because as more and more people have discovered they are just as ignorant, agenda driven and only interested in the ‘now’ and not the ‘after’. “Shock and awe” seems to be their motto.
    Now if we could sue them for the disastrous results of their inciting ‘news’.

    Maybe as events progress more and more people will start realising that life on earth meant being self sufficient in all aspects to survive.

  114. oao says:

    Maybe as events progress more and more people will start realising that life on earth meant being self sufficient in all aspects to survive.

    I very much doubt it. The west is demographically defunct, with a defunct education and self-destructing economically. The obvious tendency is to cower and appease in the stupid hope that this will save their ass, which achieves the exact opposite.

  115. Cynic says:

    E.G.

    Reading this link
    Protecting Rashana

    shows that there is info about in one’s own backyard, if only the media would publish it.

  116. E.G. says:

    Majadele’s/Haaretz account portrays him as a pet Arab in the Avoda-Histadrut hothouse and it seems he had an untouchable status there. For some reason (the former status?) he might have thought that it’ll be the same when promoted minister. Well, he got the normal treatment any official Israeli gets from the press (which can hardly be qualified as tender). So he goes whining to the “rights (but never duties) for those we think deserve them” protecting Haaretz. It’s a partial outlet and proud of it. How come they don’t even mention the Balfour declaration today?!

    But I’d willingly cite Majadele’s “As far as I was concerned, the military regime was administrative policing. Even though it was a hard time, I did not feel the burden of the military government.” Perhaps merely adding that the 50′s and 60′s were hard for everybody in Israel. Mr. Majadele did not live in a tent or an asbestos hut, as did many Jews at the time. Nor was he living with ration tickets.

    oao – #113
    I agree to 3 points, especially 1 and 4.
    3. Go and spend some time in the region.
    ?!? Is it realistic?

    Cynic – #116
    I’m not sure I understand (i.e., comprehend) your last paragraph.
    Sole “correction”: not only Rosses and Rices but NYTimers and LeMonde-ers.

    But then, yes, MSM are losing credibility (and readership). As Victor Davis Hanson puts it :
    “The media has succeeded in shielding Barack Obama from journalistic scrutiny. It thereby irrevocably destroyed its own reputation and forfeited the trust that generations of others had so carefully acquired. And it will never again be trusted to offer candid and nonpartisan coverage of presidential candidates.”
    http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=OGFhOWY3YTZkMzliYjFjYTlkMjNjMGNhMTc3ZjYyMWM=&w=Mg==

    Rashana’s story is a terrifying illustration.
    (BTW I read Pryce-Jones’ column before your recommendation, and also the previous “buyable press” beforehand).

    But I’m sorry to report that many people around me are still much more comfortable categorising persons like you two as intoxicated by Zionist /Likudnik/neo-con propaganda rather than admitting they’re being systematically fooled.

    As if their “skeptic nerve” is disfunctioning: they’re more skeptical vis-a-vis Israeli facts (because Israelis are “strong” hence not trustworthy) than vis-a-vis Arab fables (because they’re “feeble”, therefore a priori credible). Indeed they (BA, MBA, M.Sc etc.) seem to have lost their critical thinking capacity, being incapable of discerning a confirmatory but false info from a contradictory but true one.
    Oao – I anticipate your “uneducated” statement and sadly share it. Rev. Bayes was a pre-Creationist and a Rebbe on his father’s side, n’est-ce pas?

  117. Cynic says:

    comfortable categorising persons like you two as intoxicated by Zionist /Likudnik/neo-con …

    But they never suffered the degradation of discrimination because of one’s name when it came to jobs, just social activities, nor did they have stones thrown at their religious institutions and occasionally even at their homes.
    They were never slapped down by Anglican ministers in front of other members of the boy scout troop because of one’s name.

    Obama thinks he is the only “victim”.

  118. oao says:

    3. Go and spend some time in the region.
    ?!? Is it realistic?

    It is indispensable, reading can do only so much.
    If it’s not realistic then be prepared to assume that you have serious gaps in understanding and can be fooled…

    But I’m sorry to report that many people around me are still much more comfortable categorising persons like you two as intoxicated by Zionist /Likudnik/neo-con propaganda rather than admitting they’re being systematically fooled.

    …this way, to various degrees.

  119. E.G. says:

    For those who can only afford reading, on some specificities of Israeli Arabs:

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1034918.html

    http://www.danielpipes.org/article/2534

  120. s. sussman says:

    I think that the Arab people in Israel shoul be able to have the exactly, the same rights that Israels have, that’s correct that today Arabs have let go a bit, and give their daughters go out at night alone but she knows that she has to respect the family rules and know that if her parents let her go out alone or with a relative or or a girlfriend ,she must respect that and take care of herself and her selfrespect, and family honor. Where as Jewish girls have more freedom and go every where and anywhere they want and don’t care if they go out with any guy or how many, and many of them couldn’t care less of their whereabouts. I don’t say every girl, there are girls that do care but the way they are raised is a lot less respectful of the kids are raised. The Arab woman where as has 100% of the time her eyes on hechildren in each and every thing they do and where they go. The ties are a lot closer between the mother and children and the father.

  121. s. sussman says:

    I like the way that Arab children are raised, although sometimes they are rotten, but their relationship is great between them and their families.But I also can say there are a lot of things they don’t know how to do because they don’t think first of how to do it. There is a lot of racism towards the Arabs, and thart gets me upset many times. They are God’s p[eople like any other people. God brouht them to this earth like any body else.

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