The Anti-Defamation League and the rest of the American Jewish establishment owe Jesse Jackson a big apology. They put the man through the wringer, they made him apologize in every possible forum for his “Hymie” and “Hymietown” remarks back in 1984. Yet look at the kinds of things Israeli leaders — senior government ministers, chief rabbis — get away with without ever having to apologize, without ever being punished in the slightest.
Just last week, Naftali Bennett, the fresh new face of right-wing Orthodox Judaism, said in a cabinet meeting how he didn’t like these releases of Palestinian prisoners. “If you catch terrorists, you simply have to kill them,” he was quoted in Yedioth Ahronoth as saying. The head of the National Security Council, Yaakov Amidror, told Bennett, “Listen, that’s not legal.” Bennett replied: “I have killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there is no problem with that.”
The media, the left and the Arabs made a big deal out of it, nobody else. Bennett defended what he said, and so did countless talkbackers and Facebookers.
Two days later the newly-elected Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, David Lau, was seen on a video telling an audience of yeshiva boys that they shouldn’t watch European basketball games in public.
“What difference does it make,” Lau said, “if the kushim who get paid in Tel Aviv beat the kushim who get paid in Greece?” Kushim, especially when used in a dismissive context like Lau did, is a well-understood derogatory term for blacks.
Again, the media, the left, some Ethiopian Jews and presumably some African refugees were outraged. But Lau defended his words, blaming the media, saying “they made a big deal out of a joke.”
Who else defended his remarks about “kushim”? Bennett: “The media are pouncing on him for a joking, insignificant remark.”
So really — what was so bad about “Hymies” and “Hymietown”? Or the thousand other anti-Semitic or even just possibly anti-Semitic remarks that the ADL and other American Jewish organizations have “pounced on” since then? Israeli public figures say the same kind of garbage, the difference is that they never, ever pay a price for it, in fact they usually manage to play the victim and get away with it, and at worst will be obliged to offer some backhanded apology.
Likud lawmaker Miri Regev is doing fine after having called Sudanese refugees “a cancer on our body” to a crowd of hopped-up south Tel Avivians in May of last year, shortly before the crowd went on a window-smashing mini-pogrom against the Africans in the neighborhood.
Legendary basketball coach Pini Gershon’s career and public stature didn’t suffer at all after he explained his racial theory about blacks to a class of amused army officers in 2000.
“The mocha-colored guys are smarter, but the dark colored ones are just guys off the street,” Gershon said. “They’re dumb like slaves, they do whatever you tell them.”
Nor was there any blowback whatsoever after Bibi Netanyahu bragged in 2007 that the cuts he’d made to child subsidies had brought a “positive” result, which he identified as “the demographic effect on the non-Jewish public, where there was a dramatic drop in the birth rate.”
Imagine the scandal if an American political leader boasted publicly that his cuts to child subsidies had reduced the “non-Christian” birth rate. Imagine the ADL’s reaction. But in Israel, in 2007, from the mouth of a once-and-future prime minister — nothing.
These are just a few of the more appalling examples of the kind of racist remarks that Israeli politicians, rabbis and celebrities feel free to make. I haven’t even mentioned Avigdor Lieberman and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. As a rule the words are directed at Arabs, now and then against blacks: either Ethiopian Jews, African refugees or athletes.
I’ve lived roughly half my 61 years in the United States, the other half in Israel. There is absolutely no comparison between American tolerance for public displays of racism and Israeli tolerance for it.
I’ve stood in the middle of Israeli crowds chanting “Death to the Arabs.” I’ve sat in a Tel Aviv soccer stadium watching and listening to an entire section of fans erupt in monkey sounds – “Hoo, hoo, hoo!! Hoo, hoo, hoo!! – after a black player on the visiting team scored a goal.
A few liberals and a few do-gooders and a few journalists wring their hands. But the racists in the street, the synagogues, the Knesset and the government go on doing their thing.
Does this mean all Israelis, or even most of them, are racists? No. Does it mean Israeli society, by commission and omission, encourages racism? Oh, yes. To a degree that would be unthinkable in the United States.
And the leaders of the U.S. Jewish establishment, Israel’s most valued, devoted, determined friends, keep pouncing on every untoward or conceivably untoward remark about Jews or the Jewish state. Yes, the ADL will send out a press release about its “concern” over the “inappropriate” remarks made by some relatively minor Israeli figure.
But it never hits hard at the major figures. It said nothing last week about Bennett or Lau. The ADL goes after anti-Semitism with a fist, it goes after Israeli racism with a sigh.
As a matter of fact, the ADL and the entire American Jewish establishment should suspend their campaigns against anti-Semitism indefinitely and take a look at what’s going on in Israel.
When the Jewish state is this riddled with racism, its advocates abroad should be a little less outraged over the offenses of gentiles. They should be a little more humble — and a lot less hypocritical.
American Dream » 29 Jan 2014 20:07 wrote:So bluenoseclaret are you suggesting that because the State of Israel does a lot of bad things that somehow the Holocaust deniers/revisionists and neo-Fascists and the Racist Right are somehow good?
For most compassionate and humane people today, the ecological crisis is a source of major concern. Not only do many ecological activists struggle to eliminate toxic wastes, to preserve tropical rainforests and old-growth redwoods, and to roll back the destruction of the biosphere, but many ordinary people in all walks of life are intensely concerned about the nature of the planet that their children will grow up to inhabit. In Europe as in the United States, most ecological activists think of themselves as socially progressive. That is, they also support demands of oppressed peoples for social justice and believe that the needs of human beings living in poverty, illness, warfare, and famine also require our most serious attention.
For many such people, it may come as a surprise to learn that the history of ecological politics has not always been inherently and necessarily progressive and benign. In fact, ecological ideas have a history of being distorted and placed in the service of highly regressive ends--even of fascism itself. As Peter Staudenmaier shows in the first essay in this pamphlet, important tendencies in German "ecologism," which has long roots in nineteenth-century nature mysticism, fed into the rise of Nazism in the twentieth century. During the Third Reich, Staudenmaier goes on to show, Nazi "ecologists" even made organic farming, vegetarianism, nature worship, and related themes into key elements not only in their ideology but in their governmental policies. Moreover, Nazi "ecological" ideology was used to justify the destruction of European Jewry. Yet some of the themes that Nazi ideologists articulated bear an uncomfortably close resemblance to themes familiar to ecologically concerned people today.
As social ecologists, it is not our intention to deprecate the all-important efforts that environmentalists and ecologists are making to rescue the biosphere from destruction. Quite to the contrary: It is our deepest concern to preserve the integrity of serious ecological movements from ugly reactionary tendencies that seek to exploit the widespread popular concern about ecological problems for regressive agendas. But we find that the "ecological scene" of our time--with its growing mysticism and antihumanism--poses serious problems about the direction in which the ecology movement will go.
In most Western nations in the late twentieth century, expressions of racism and anti-immigrant sentiments are not only increasingly voiced but increasingly tolerated. Equally disconcertingly, fascist ideologists and political groups are experiencing a resurgence as well. Updating their ideology and speaking the new language of ecology, these movements are once again invoking ecological themes to serve social reaction. In ways that sometimes approximate beliefs of progressive-minded ecologists, these reactionary and outright fascist ecologists emphasize the supremacy of the "Earth" over people; evoke "feelings" and intuition at the expense of reason; and uphold a crude sociobiologistic and even Malthusian biologism. Tenets of "New Age" eco-ideology that seem benign to most people in England and the United States--specifically, its mystical and antirational strains--are being intertwined with ecofascism in Germany today. Janet Biehl’s essay explores this hijacking of ecology for racist, nationalistic, and fascist ends.
Taken together, these essays examine aspects of German fascism, past and present, in order to draw lessons from them for ecology movements both in Germany and elsewhere. Despite its singularities, the German experience offers a clear warning against the misuse of ecology, in a world that seems ever more willing to tolerate movements and ideologies once regarded as despicable and obsolete. Political ecology thinkers have yet to fully examine the political implications of these ideas in the English-speaking world as well as in Germany.
What prevents ecological politics from yielding reaction or fascism with an ecological patina is an ecology movement that maintains a broad social emphasis, one that places the ecological crisis in a social context. As social ecologists, we see the roots of the present ecological crisis in an irrational society--not in the biological makeup of human beings, nor in a particular religion, nor in reason, science, or technology. On the contrary, we uphold the importance of reason, science, and technology in creating both a progressive ecological movement and an ecological society. It is a specific set of social relations--above all, the competitive market economy--that is presently destroying the biosphere. Mysticism and biologism, at the very least, deflect public attention away from such social causes. In presenting these essays, we are trying to preserve the all-important progressive and emancipatory implications of ecological politics. More than ever, an ecological commitment requires people today to avoid repeating the errors of the past, lest the ecology movement become absorbed in the mystical and antihumanistic trends that abound today.
jakell » Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:58 pm wrote:Any response to my previous comment AD?
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