I posted a piece by Israel’s highest ranking Arab-Muslim diplomat, Ishmael Khaldi, on the moral bankruptcy of “Israel Apartheid Week.” It received an interesting critique of Khaldi and defence of using the term “Israeli apartheid” from “Noam,” an Israeli who then got involved in several exchanges with other commenters at the site. In thinking long and hard about your remarks Noam, and I would like to ask you a question that I hope you will answer.
What strikes me about every exchange you have is a combination of two tendencies:
1) to put anything the Israelis do in the worst possible light, either by making nasty analogies and invidious comparisons, or by dismissing positive things as “done for PR.” Thus you want to fault Israel for the separate roads, without any willingness to acknowledge that that’s a result of suicide terror (which began under Rabin). Thus, you compare Israel’s Muslims unfavorably to French Muslims in terms of rights, when any French observer can (and did) tell you that such a comparison is a bad joke.
2) to treat the Palestinians as if they have no agency, either by conceiving them as pure victims — indigenous (when many were immigrants like the Jews), victims of Israeli policies, rather than formulators of very aggressive strategies. Thus, at one point, you say:
but let’s move forward. all you guys thinking that Israel shouldn’t give the Palestinians any rights AND stay in the West Bank: how is that not Apartheid, if not now than in 5, 10, 20 years? in other words, what are we to do with the Palestinians?
Don’t the Palestinians have anything to do? What about purging the hate and incitement to genocide from their Mainstream Media? What about using the land and resources they do control to get the refugees out of their [concentration] camps?
Why do you allow the Palestinians to behave abominably and then fault the Israelis for not treating them better? You act as if they have no agency, as if they are the passive victims of Israeli malevolence, rather than major contributors to their own misery. You are aware that before the first Intifada, the West Bank was one of the ten fastest growing economies in the world?
So my larger question comes down to this: Why are you so attracted to whatever analysis or comparison you can find that puts Israel in a bad light? Given the dozen other ways one might “spin” the data, what’s your attraction to the “ugly Israeli”?
Post Scriptum: As Aviv requested, I ask commenters to keep personal invective out of their posts. While it’s relatively mild compared with what goes on at, say, Daily Kos, that’s hardly what we want to take for a standard. Terms like “idiot,” “fool,” and “ignorant,” should not be used lightly. In particular, when arguing directly with people, even if you have no respect for them, show respect for the rest of us by explaining why, rather than calling him or her names. It really adds nothing to the post. I think Noam has shown a good deal of good faith in hanging in there despite the verbal abuse.