Saturday, October 19, 2013
The Insanity of the MIddle East, and the insanity of the extremists
The extremists are on all sides. Doesn't matter whether you are a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Arab, Israeli, Palestinian or whatever. They're out there.
They don't make sense but their anger and emotion attracts a lot of flies. They are the Lord of the Flies, a collective of insanity driven by hatred fueled by anger, fostered by frustration.
You see them all over Facebook. I try and block most of them. It's fun to review the list of the Blocked, those who hate. They hate Jews. They hate Christians. They hate moderate Arabs. They hate "moderates" especially. They're peace arsonists.
There are a few topics in which these fanatics come out of the woodwork to throw matches.
The hot topic for Palestinians and Israelis is Apartheid. It's wrapped up with the issue of boycotting Israel in the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions).
Israel has several problems its citizens and government fail to address. Israel discriminates against non-Jews both in some policies but also in societal context. In Gilo, recently, several Arabs were bullied out of their homes by Jewish neighbors. Many Jews in Gilo refuse to sell their homes or rent their homes to Arabs. But it's not just there. There are dozens and dozens of incidents where Israel discriminates against non-Jews.
In the occupied territories, the discrimination is augmented by the military conflict. It is far more oppressive and discriminatory. Far more racist in approach as the soldiers, the majority are Jews with some Druze, treat Arabs with outright disdain and disrespect.
But that is not Apartheid. Apartheid is more than just discrimination and racism. And it is more than just anger and hatred.
The BDS movement is justified as is all boycotts based on principle targeting discrimination. But in the context of the peace talks and as long as Israel and the Palestinians are negotiating -- even if peace has not been achieved -- boycotting Israel is improper. Boycotting the settlers, many of whom are terrorists and violent murderers living in the occupied Palestinian territories is highly appropriate.
But the BDS movement is schizophrenic. One one hand they claim the moral high ground of boycotting Israeli settlements, but in practice they want to apply the boycott to punish Israel and pressure Israel to achieve their goals. They want to boycott entertainers who perform in Israel, especially Palestinian entertainers who perform in Israel, even if to majority Palestinian audiences.
That's insanity. That means they really don't want compromise.
The same can be said about the extremists in Israel who claim that "Palestinians do not exist" or that "there are two States now, Israel Jordan." These racist views are intolerable. But calling Israel Apartheid does not address the extremism. It also challenges the Israeli moderates who actively support peace and also criticize their own government, even if it is the Peter Beinart way, or Thomas Friedman way, which is with a soft touch.
Honestly, I am tired of the ignorance and hate in the Palestinian and Arab community. I can confront the hate and ignorance in the Israeli community. But we can't confront it when it exists in our own community too. It undermines our just cause. It weakens our ability to stand up to Israel's oppressive occupation. It results in the reality we have today where Israelis have gotten almost everything they have sought while Palestinians continue to see their hopes and dreams being erased.
The Arab extremists have achieved nothing except they have helped to make it impossible for us to reach a compromise, giving Israel all the excuses they need to continue to resist making real concessions.
-- RAY HANANIA