If you can’t blame Israel, it doesn’t count

08.15.10

Good guest op-ed in the Gazette by Frida Ghitis: “No one much cares about what they endure, unless it can be blamed on Israel“:

Palestinians are indeed victims of mistreatment. But you won’t hear much about what they endure, unless someone can pin the blame directly on Israel. Conditions in Gaza, for example, have made for a tough existence there. But human-rights activists have turned a blind eye to the systematic assault on individual freedom that has beset the population ever since the Islamic militant movement Hamas took over in 2005.

Read the whole thing.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mario Parise 08.19.10 at 10:10 AM

Generalizing much?

This article reeks of Us versus Them thinking. It groups every Palestinian supporter into this weird anti-Israel, “we don’t really care about the Palestinians” category.

While ostensibly arguing that people need to be more fully supportive of the Palestinian people, the real message I got from this is that anyone who gets angry about Israel’s activities in Palestine is a hate-filled moron.

At the risk of being categorized as such a hate-filled moron, I’d like to say I think Israel is morally wrong in its activities in Palestine. I also think Hamas is morally wrong about, well, everything. But I guess Frida couldn’t be bothered with such intricacies. You either fully support Israel or you’re against it, right?

Quote: “[H]uman-rights activists have turned a blind eye to the systematic assault on individual freedom that has beset the population ever since the Islamic militant movement Hamas took over in 2005.”

Really?!? Are you f–king kidding me? We’re seriously going to pretend that human rights activists aren’t inflamed about Hamas? Do I really need to disprove this? What backwards world do you have to live in to think this is even remotely true?

I think I would have had more respect for Frida’s arguments if she had tried to argue that people don’t get AS upset about Hamas’s activities, that there is a disproportionate reaction against Israel. That the media doesn’t cover the reality on the ground nearly enough. I could have respected that. I’d have a hard time disproving it, and would likely have agreed with such a sentiment.

But trying to suggest that no one cares about what happens to Palestinians unless you can blame is Israel is totally horse shit. It’s intellectually dishonest.

(Side note: Nice to see you’re blogging so much lately! Last time I came the posts seemed dated, so I wasn’t checking as frequently. I’ll come back more often.)

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2 segacs 08.19.10 at 4:25 PM

Yeah, I haven’t had as much time to blog as I would’ve liked. But I’m trying to be a bit better about updates. Thanks for reading!

And, to your comment: Read the editorial again. She specifically said that people don’t get AS upset, not that people don’t get upset at all. Media analysis has borne this out.

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3 Mario Parise 08.20.10 at 10:10 AM

I actually hate disagreeing with you (hard to believe, I’m sure, seeing as how I do it often), but here are some direct quotes from the article.

In the absolutist, no shades of grey, “with us or against us” category:

- “No one much cares about what they endure”
- “Those who become so outraged about the plight of Palestinians at the hand of Israel quickly forget their cause if the suffering is inflicted by anyone else.”
- “How is it possible that if anyone besides Israel mistreats Palestinians, their kind-hearted defenders don’t seem to notice?”
- “But human-rights activists have turned a blind eye[...]”
- “All those Western activists who” (note the word “all”, an absolutist term if there ever was one)
- “All those Arab activists” (same comment as above)
- “The true agenda is attacking Israel, not defending Palestinians. If their supporters really cared about Palestinians, they would work to help them no matter what the source of the injustice. Watching the charade, one’s eyes can get misty -from the stench of hypocrisy that fouls the air.”

In the “almost objective” category:

- “you won’t hear much about what they endure, unless someone can pin the blame directly on Israel.” (the word “much” at least implies that it’s not entirely ignored.)
- “The regime has been busy shutting down non-governmental organizations that provided aid to Palestinians, but we haven’t heard much about that.” (again, I note the word “much”)
- “As freedom disappears at the hands of Hamas, nobody outside Gaza seems to care.” (at least this statement reflects the author’s perspective, rather than stating it as actual fact, but I would venture that she needs to get our more… I know plenty of people upset about Hamas)

Fairly objective:

- “In Lebanon, for example, where pro-Palestinian groups are working to launch another convoy towards Gaza, Palestinian refugees are treated like third-class non-citizens.” (That could be objectively true; I have no reason to believe otherwise.)
- “But the curious one-sided outrage betrays the real agenda of many avowed advocates.” (The use of the word “many”, though vague, at least tells us it’s not a 100% condemnation of everybody.)

I read the article thoroughly. Unless I’m missing something, she never states that people don’t get AS upset. She repeatedly states thing in an absolutist manner, with a few bits of ostensible objectivity thrown in to the mix. But on balance, I think my previous comments stand as an accurate and fair analysis of her article.

When all is said and done – and I’ve probably said this a million times before – I think it’s a reflection of war time mentality, where people on either side of a conflict simply have to vilify their enemies and condemn anyone who doesn’t offer unconditional support. If that’s what’s happening here, I can sympathize. That’s the history of armed conflict around the world, so in all likelihood I would do the same thing. But that doesn’t make it right. It simply makes it understandable.

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