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RE: [existlist] On the Matter of Israel's Alleged Racism & What I've Learned from Our Discussion

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  • Eduard Alf
    james, just thought I would tell you that you can get a copy of the Koran at the Gutenberg Project ... captain jack ... From: james tan
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 28, 2002

      just thought I would tell you that you can get a
      copy of the Koran at the Gutenberg Project ...

      captain jack

      -----Original Message-----
      From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@...]
      Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2002 1:32 PM
      Subject: [existlist] On the Matter of Israel's
      Alleged Racism & What
      I've Learned from Our Discussion

      From: "swmaerske" <SWMirsky@...>
      Reply-To: WisdomForum@yahoogroups.com
      To: WisdomForum@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [WisdomForum] On the Matter of Israel's
      Alleged Racism & What I've
      Learned from Our Discussion
      Date: Sun, 28 Apr 2002 17:19:02 -0000

      We have already seen that Mr. Beavitt starts out
      from an anti-Israel
      standpoint, maintaining a double standard with
      regard to the
      participants in the current Mideast drama. He has
      indicated to us
      that he believes that one has to see things from
      the Other's
      perspective. But the "Other", for Mr. Beavitt, is
      always Mr. Arafat
      and bin Laden, and others from the Muslim milieu,
      but never Mr.
      Sharon and the Israeli side. Similarly, he has
      evinced understanding
      of Hitler, but again Sharon, on his view, is
      always bad, always a war-
      monger, always a bad guy. The smell of a double
      standard literally
      fills one's nostrils here.

      From this same standpoint, Mr. Beavitt continues
      to belabor his claim
      about Israel's alleged racism. As I've noted
      previously, Israel has
      people of all different races within its state AS
      CITIZENS and Israel
      accepts applications for citizenship like any
      other Western state,
      based on non-sectarian standards. Where Israel
      differs from most
      other Western states is in the fact that she gives
      a special status
      to applicants for citizenship who are Jewish. This
      means that Israel
      is not racist but religionist in that she gives
      advantage to Jews. But, again, she does not
      prevent non-Jews from
      applying and gaining citizenship in the normal way
      that other states
      enable applicants for citizenship to apply. It is
      arguable whether
      this favoritism is justifiable or not, but it
      certainly is not racist.

      More, it should be noted that Israel has Jews of
      all ethnic, national
      and racial backgrounds (including Arab, African
      and Chinese Jews)
      within its body politic and permits all such Jews
      to claim the so-
      called "right of return". Being Jewish gives them
      the ability to
      bypass the usual application process. And no
      discrimination is
      exercised against these favored applicants based
      on their racial
      origin. So, again, while one can argue that this
      kind of favoritism
      is wrong, it is not evidence of racism, a very
      emotive word in the
      world today (and justly so). In fact, the repeated
      use of this word
      indicates an intention to prejudice the hearer
      against the Israelis
      from the outset.

      I would remind anyone reading this that while
      Israel's "right-of-
      return" law may appear unfair and wrong to Western
      eyes, it is no
      worse than what is practiced elsewhere in the
      Middle East at this
      time. In particular, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf
      states maintain
      restrictions on who can enter and gain citizenship
      in their country,
      limiting this to Muslims. More, the Saudis,
      especially, restrict the
      freedom and activities of non-Muslims on their
      soil. Christians and
      Jews are not welcome there generally although in
      certain cases their
      presence is tolerated so long as they remain in
      limited areas, do not
      practice their religions openly, do not attempt to
      converse with an
      eye to advocacy for their religious views with
      natives, etc. None of
      this is the case in Israel where all religions are
      protected and may
      be freely practiced, where the worst that can be
      said is that the
      Israeli police and military monitor (and now
      restrict) the movements
      of Arabs closely in light of the constant threat
      of suicide attacks
      on the Israeli populace. But Mr. Beavitt calls for
      the "destruction
      of the State of Israel" on the grounds of its
      alleged racism. Where
      is his call for the destruction of Saudi Arabia?
      Or Oman? Or Qatar?
      All of them practice a more extreme form of
      descrimination based on
      religion than Israel can be said to do.

      We have already seen that there is no likelihood
      of finding common
      ground with those supporting the Arab viewpoint
      here since their
      bottom line seems to be that Israel must be
      eradicated no matter what
      and that anything one can say to destroy Israeli
      credibility, true or
      false, is acceptable (remember the spurious Sharon
      just as anything one can do, up to and including
      murder of civilian
      bystanders, including babies, is laudable. So,
      against this backdrop,
      it is not surprising, at this point, to find this
      repeated claim
      about alleged Israeli racism. Never mind that the
      issue is
      religionism, not racism, and that, in this, Israel
      is no more (and,
      in fact, somewhat less) guilty than the major
      Muslim states in the
      region. Of course, where double standards are the
      rule, meaningful
      argument is useless.

      This is not a matter of variant values and beliefs
      differing cultural perspectives and standards. It
      is, rather, a
      matter of wilfull disregard of facts and
      deliberate disregard of the
      truth. The value of philosophical and even moral
      discussion is to get
      at the truth and reach common understandings. But
      that is not always
      possible. Both sides must be open and have
      goodwill toward the other
      for that. When one side does not, being a nice guy
      on the other side
      doesn't cut it. Which brings us back to the
      argument we had here a
      long while back about bin Laden and his gang.
      America, it was said,
      should not go after al Qaeda or their supporters
      since 1) they were
      only expressing their (in their eyes justifiable)
      viewpoints when
      they attacked the World Trade Center and 2) war is
      not the answer but
      rather hearing what they are upset about and
      addressing those
      concerns (i.e., doing what they want).

      But that was to miss the point since the
      terrorists did not seek to
      engage America peaceably but to bring down fire
      and brimstone on
      American cities and civilians. Of course, no
      people can stand for
      such unprovoked hostility and survive. But then,
      it was not the
      desire of al Qaeda and its supporters that America
      survive, was it?
      Nor, it now seems, is it the desire of some of
      those who spoke up
      against the American response either. America
      cannot stand idly by
      and allow itself to be attacked out of some
      misguided idealism since
      the bin Laden group has pledged itself to
      America's destruction. And
      this group is solidly rooted within a very
      significant stratum which
      runs deep in the modern Muslim world, a stratum of
      thought which
      cries out to turn back the clock and restore a
      dreamlike Islamic
      Golden Age (a Golden Age which, for all its
      positives, had nowhere
      near what we have today). In order to turn this
      clock back, the
      Muslims who feel this way desire to destroy what
      seems to prevent
      that and this is no less than Western civilization
      and culture as
      seen in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

      This is not about racism. This is not about
      colonialism. This is not
      about imperialism. (All things, by the way, that
      the Islamic world,
      in its Golden Age, was itself guilty of in
      abundance.) And this is
      not about so-called zionism. This is about blind
      hatred of the Other
      on the part of those Muslims who have adopted this

      One cannot argue with those who twist and turn the
      facts with little
      regard for truth in order to make their points.
      That is where
      reasonable debate come to an end. One cannot
      reason or argue with
      religious fanatics or fanatics of any kind. One
      could not argue with
      the Spanish Inquisition. One could not argue with
      the Nazis. One
      cannot argue with today's Muslim fanatics and
      their supporters. They
      want to destroy, by any means possible. They will
      lie and they will
      kill and they will maintain a double standard and
      they have shown
      this to us repeatedly. And there, regrettably, is
      where we now find
      ourselves, facing just such antagonists.

      I am a strong believer in argument, in reason, in
      discussion, and in
      fairness. But one doesn't argue with everyone. You
      can't argue with
      very young children for instance because there is
      no shared basis of
      understanding (or not enough of it to make any
      headway). And one
      doesn't argue with those who desire one's own
      destruction if that
      desire is manifested by a complete unwillingness
      to hear you or see
      things from your perspective.

      Mr. Beavitt constantly exhorts us to see things
      from the perspective
      of the "Other". Indeed, that is the rational basis
      for a whole
      philosphical theory that he has evolved. But
      attempts to engage him
      here on a rational basis, giving credence to his
      ideas, have only
      revealed the lack of substance which underlies
      those ideas. For Mr.
      Beavitt has repeatedly shown that his is a double
      The "Other" in his mind is always the the one he
      sides with and
      supports and never anyone he opposes. I submit
      that his so-
      called "communicationalism" is merely an elaborate
      smokescreen to
      justify underlying prejudices. It is not enough to
      sound reasonable.
      One also has to be reasonable. You can say Israel
      is racist all you
      want, marshalling a word which clearly has all
      sorts of pejorative
      connotations to modern "listeners" in the hopes
      that such emotive
      claims will sway your audience. But saying it
      don't make it so.

      In the end, with enough discourse, the truth does
      come out and, in
      this case it has repeatedly come back to the fact
      that for Mr.
      Beavitt and Mr. Nunis, Israel = bad, America =
      bad, and Islam and the
      Palestinians = good, no matter who is doing what
      to whom. If al Qaeda
      or the Palestinians execute terrorist acts they
      are honored freedom
      fighters and martyrs. If America or Israel respond
      militarily against
      the attackers, then they are war-mongers and state
      terrorists. Shades
      of Orwell's Newspeak!

      Given that this most truthfully expresses where
      these gentlemen are
      coming from, it is plain that one can never take
      discourse with them
      to the next level, to an area where one sees good
      and bad in both
      sides and the possibility of compromise, where
      each side gets
      something and neither gets all it wants, leading
      to a peaceful
      resolution of ongoing conflict.

      Mr. Nunis has already announced that, for all his
      apparently rational
      discourse, in the end there is no compromise.
      Israel must be
      destroyed and the Islamic Golden Age in the Middle
      East, and beyond,
      reclaimed. No compromise. Suicide attacks are not
      only fully
      justified but desirable. Mr. Beavitt has made the
      same claims. No
      sharing of land is sought. No live and let live
      strategies. Only
      destruction of the "Other". (In the area once
      called Palestine it's
      Israel that must be eradicated; elsewhere in the
      Middle East and now
      in other parts of the world, it is the West in
      general and America in
      particular.) But not only is this not a
      prescription for peace or
      fair solutions, this is a guarantee of continued
      conflict until one
      side or the other succumbs.

      Mr. Bobo said "give war a chance" and I thought
      that was facile and
      simplistic when I first read it. Now I think he
      was prescient. Mr.
      Sharon, whatever his failings in terms of policy
      positions and
      personality, is, in fact, the best answer the
      Israelis have. And now
      I see why our own President Bush has been so
      solidly in his camp and
      seems so uncomfortable when he makes those
      pro-forma declarations
      that the Israelis should withdraw. He sees what I
      did not initially
      see, that there is no talking with these groups
      and that all debate
      on their side is just so much rhetoric, another
      tool in their arsenal
      of hate and spite. Sometimes even an enemy sounds
      reasonable. But
      sounding, ain't being.

      After engaging here in an extensive exercise of
      applied moral
      thinking, I now see the limits of it more clearly
      than ever. It only
      works when the participants are equally interested
      in the truth. But
      if one side's own desires and prejudices take
      precedence over an
      objective analysis and application of the facts
      then only force can
      defend the right. And I would hasten to add that
      there is a right,
      for it is the side backed up by the facts, by the
      truth, as Popper
      claimed (again my thanks to Mr. Bobo for this
      perspective). Just
      claiming a different perspective doesn't make that
      perspective right. The "Other" exists on both
      sides, not just on the
      side one favors. And a failure to recognize that
      is the ultimate
      example of bad faith.


      --- In WisdomForum@y..., "james tan" <tyjfk@h...>
      > wrong, tommy. if ever this whole thing drags
      on, the real loser is
      > palestinians. i have no vested interest in
      whoever 'win', but if
      one look at
      > the data available concerning military power
      between israel and
      > it is obvious that israel is the superior.
      there is no reason why
      > will collapse.
      > u believed:
      > "I remain convinced that in the end Israel will
      fall. This will be
      > either due to internal pressure from Israelis
      sick and tired of the
      > price they have to pay to ensure the continued
      existence of their
      > racial homeland and fatigue at churning out
      endless propaganda in
      > face of international criticism."
      > if u think the israelis will disintegrate
      because of palestinians'
      > attacks, then u are wrong again. there is
      terror and anger no doubt
      on the
      > side of the israeli, but that does not
      necessarily mean they will
      get tired
      > and sick AND THEN CONCLUDE they should give up.
      marines and
      soldiers get
      > tired and fatigues all the time, but does that
      mean they give up?
      have u
      > been a soldier before? they may get fatigue,
      yes; but they will not
      give up.
      > when osama terrorised america, americans did
      get fatigue and
      terrorised, but
      > to say that their spirit is down and ready to
      admit defeat is
      > laughable, a private dream of the terrorists to
      which they will
      wake up one
      > day to realise they may have to pay tenfold for
      their action. in
      the long
      > run, what they do in sucide attacks is
      counterproductive, and will
      > on themselves. in terms of ratio, for every
      israeli killed, there
      are many
      > many more palestinians killed; if this thing
      were to drag on, if
      > it is the palestinians that will suffer, it is
      the palestinian that
      > fall. if they are wise and rational, they
      should come to some kind
      > realistic compromise. international criticism?
      well, international
      > is pretty divided on this issue for a start,
      and besides, which
      fate is
      > worse for the israeli: international criticism
      or to be left
      without a
      > state? and with america as israel's ally (i
      suppose that is part of
      > reason why osama hated america that much),
      tommy, ur little hope
      for the
      > fall of israel will only happen in ur muslim
      prayer and dream; it
      will not
      > happen in reality. that is how thing is, that
      is how thing is gonna
      to be.
      > right now, if the quality of life is low for
      the israeli because of
      > attacks from the palestinians, then u can be
      pretty sure that the
      quality of
      > life for the palestinians are 100 times worse
      off. if, of the two,
      one will
      > wear off from all this drags and fights, it is
      pretty clear that
      > palestinians will be first one to wear off. the
      faster the
      palestinians come
      > to their senses, the less will be their
      suffering, the sooner will
      they find
      > dignity in their lives again.
      > james.
      > From: Tommy Beavitt <tommy@s...>
      > Reply-To: WisdomForum@y...
      > To: WisdomForum@y...
      > Subject: Re: [WisdomForum] Re: What really
      happened when Israeli
      forces went
      > into Jenin?
      > Date: Sat, 27 Apr 2002 09:09:26 +0100
      > At 10:01 pm -0700 26/4/02, Christopher Bobo
      > >I agree with your analysis. As long as the
      Palestinians are
      > >determined to make war, there will be no
      peace. Quite frankly,
      > >just amazed that they frankly declare their
      intention to be
      > >uncompromising and unreasonable and ask
      others to agree with them.
      > >It's even more amazing that some people do
      agree with them. Most
      > >people, I think, would like to put the
      Palestinian problem behind
      > >them and move on with a constructive life.
      Others seem determined
      > >to prolong the conflict and suffering at all
      costs. Perhaps the
      > >latest Saudi proposal will eventually provide
      a framework for
      > >resolution. What is most amazing to me is
      all the criticism
      > >at the U.S. As we have seen here, the
      radicals will settle for
      > >nothing less than the destruction of Israel,
      therefore, the will
      > >continue to pursue terrorism against Israel,
      the Israelis will
      > >doubtless continue to defend themselves. And
      the logic is, it's
      > >the fault of the U.S. Really, the radical
      position is quite
      > >President Bush has, I think, been very
      reasonable in his approach.
      > >I really wonder what people expect the U.S.
      to do with people
      > >determined to kill each other. The situation
      reminds me of the
      > >recent movie No Man's Land. There the
      combatants were determined
      > >kill each other and eventually got the U.N.
      involved in the
      > >as well, despite the U.N. soldiers' best
      efforts to save lives and
      > >avoid killing. If the Palestinians were
      really committed to peace
      > >and were unambiguously willing to live in
      peace with the Israelis,
      > >then the U.S. could apply real pressure on
      the Israelis to make
      > >greater concessions. But with the
      Palestinians bent on war and
      > >destruction, there is really nothing that
      anyone can do help them.
      > >Face it, America is not likely to abandon
      long time friends when
      > >they are under attack.
      > >
      > But Chris, it is reasonable to demand the
      destruction of the State
      > Israel. The country has been constituted on a
      false premise: the
      > racial separateness of the Jewish people. There
      is no other modern
      > democracy which has as part of its constitution
      the rights of
      > immigrants and citizens according to their
      race. The nearest
      > equivalent in modern history is South Africa
      which thankfully
      > apartheid in the 1980s.
      > I don't think many would agree that SA is a
      worse country now than
      > was when it was in the hands of De Clerk. Sure,
      it has many problems
      > including AIDS, township poverty and crime etc.
      but at least it can
      > go forward in the full confidence of statehood
      without being
      > compromised by a racialist constitution.
      > The reasons for Israel coming into being in the
      first place are
      > adequately covered by the articles you quote.
      It is easy enough to
      > see their logic. No doubt the Arabs are
      entitled to feel irritated
      > the fact that their lands were taken away on
      the basis of crimes
      > committed against Jews by Europeans. It would
      be unreasonable, of
      > course, to demand that any current Israeli
      citizens should go back
      > where they have come from. Likewise, with
      Palestinians currently
      > living in Israel or Palestine.
      > I remain convinced that in the end Israel will
      fall. This will be
      > either due to internal pressure from Israelis
      sick and tired of the
      > price they have to pay to ensure the continued
      existence of their
      > racial homeland and fatigue at churning out
      endless propaganda in
      > face of international criticism. Or it may be
      that its critics will
      > mount a devastating military attack to which
      Israel will be forced
      > respond with such deadly force that the
      territories become
      > inhabitable. It is to be fervently hoped that
      it is the former.
      > Either way, I don't think we can expect the
      current seeming lull in
      > the suicide bombing to continue until these
      fundamental problems are
      > addressed.
      > The international community should be ready
      with a plan when the
      > comes. In my opinion this should consist of a
      reconstitution of the
      > state of Israel with a new name that reflects
      the traditions of all
      > its inhabiting communities and guaranteeing the
      equal citizenship
      > rights of all regardless of race or religion.
      There should be an
      > instant stop put to any immigration that is
      based on race. The
      > of those who wish to return based upon existing
      family ties or
      > property claims should be examined on a
      case-by-case basis with an
      > international monitor charged with ensuring
      their fairness.
      > should revert to being an international
      protectorate, preferably on
      > permanent basis. As far as I could make out
      from the encyclopaedia
      > article, it is still officially a UN
      > The UN should have its head office there; it
      should be celebrated by
      > all the nations of the world as a spiritual
      centre for the three
      > major monetheistic religions, all of whom
      should be given the right
      > to practice their religions there. We should be
      delighted to
      > contribute sufficient funds for this
      international city to be able
      > defend its integrity.
      > Tommy
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