On foot yesterday evening in Central Square, Cambridge MA, I passed what had been a pro-Palestinian protest. Lots of people were milling around talking, holding their posters down by their sides. A wooden Merkava tank and some fake IDF assault rifles were sitting off to one side.
I sighed inwardly, preparing to pass by. This issue is complex and painful for me (yeah, join the club, right?) I have supported Israel through all of this, but the suffering of Palestinians in the Territories gnaws at me, and I cannot blame these people for assembling in protest, even though I feel that Israel must exist, must defend herself, and must fight to prevent further terrorist attacks.
So I was completely prepared to move on with troubled heart, when I saw a big structure facing Mass Ave. It looked like the back of a giant mask (4’ tall), and when I walked around and faced it, that’s what it was.
It was Sharon; it had to be Sharon. But he was completely distorted, his features snarling in hatred. I could forgive that, and I could forgive the giant black boil on his right cheek (does he even have that IRL?) But I could not forgive the hideous HOOKED NOSE! I saw red.
A young women noticed me admiring the handiwork, and walked over?
“This Sharon?” I asked. She confirmed it was.
“Nice job with the Jewish hook nose!” I said admiringly, with just a tiny edge of reproach in my voice.
She got uncomfortable. "Well, " she finally said, “Arabs have hooked noses too.”
"Yeah, " I replied, “But Sharon doesn’t. He’s got a big squishy, bulby nose. He sure looks mad, huh?” I was being conversational, but she detected the edge in my voice and dismissed me, continuing her previous conversation.
Goddamn it!!! Palestinians and supporters: is your cause so weak that you have to resort to anti-Judaism to make your point? It’s not enough to protest the machinery of the modern state of Israel, but you have to make it clear, subtly or no, that it’s the JEWS, the JEWS we hate, and the JEWS who are doing this to us, help us fight the fucking JEWS!!! Not just any Jews, but the real nasty ones from “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” with hooked noses, murderous amorality, and that ever-present itch to take over the world??
This is WHY Israel must exist. Because anti-Judaism is a Western disease that has spread to the Arab world. It has killed us, driven us from home after home, and it may never go away! If I hadn’t seen that hooked nose, I might have gone on by, still feeling levelheaded, but I felt that hooked nose as a slap in the face - I feel the same rage Israelis must feel when Saudi newspapers publish the blood libel centures after mainstream Europeans no longer believed it. I know that Israel must be a Jewish state and must exist because there are still too many people who won’t hesitate to play the Jew card if they can, and hurt us if it helps their cause.
So fuck you, sculptor, whoever you are!! You did your cause a huge harm in this Jew’s heart last night.
I think the argument that a hook-nose on a caricature must perforce be an anti-Jewish slur is weak. But then again, I have never heard of a politically correct caricature! I just doubt that it is explicitly anti-Jewish. The nose, along with select facial features, is one of the first targets of a caricaturist (depending on the actual features of the subject of course: a person with big ears or a conspicuous bald patch or a very visible beauty spot presents the artist with great opportunities). Caricaturists not only work with existing target facial features to ensure recognition of the person in question by their audience, but they also exaggerate, distort, and sometimes even add elements not necessarily present in the subject. They do this to communicate certain feelings to the audience, and in that sense political cartoons and caricatures are often persuasive in intent, not merely humorous.
A large, squashy, bulbous nose does not communicate evilness, and I am assuming that evilness was the intent of the “artist”. The bulbous nose may communicate incompetence though, something that cartoonists really capitalized on in the days of Clinton. As another example, popular depictions of Satan also tend to show his downstairs majesty as having a large hook-nose, but few complain that Satan is being made to look Jewish (or Arabic, for that matter, because it seems to me that Arabs have a higher incidence of hook-noses than Jews!)
For what it’s worth, take a look at a couple of pictures I found of Sharon, here and here. It seems like he may have a bit of a hook-nose, at least in some pictures. I would probably describe his nose as hooked before I would describe it as bulbous and fleshy, but I spend as little time as possible looking at Sharon so I am no authority.
I find your views on the global persecution of Jews and the reason why Israel must exist a bit extreme. I think you may be over-reacting!
Anti-Jewish sentiment is nothing new in the Arab world–there have been pogroms in Arab countries since the Ottoman Empire. The vileness factor, though, has definitely escalated. Recently, an Egyptian newspaper ran an article that revived the old Passover blood libel–you know, “Jews kill infidel babies and drink their blood.”
While I can see the Palestinians’ point of view, it seems to me that their troubles have been caused by their own refusal to accept Israel’s existence, as well as Arab governments simultaneously using Palestinian suffering as a causa belli while refusing to allow Palestinian resettlement in their own nations.
Abe, your arguments make some sense to me. I concede I may have overreacted in this specific case. Still, a hooked nose is a hooked nose, and this one was significantly more hooked than in the photos you posted. A hooked nose is indeed a derogatory Jewish stereotype. And I’d argue that the hooked nose image of Satan comes directly from that anti-Jewish stereotype.
If I’m overreacting, Abe, perhaps it’s time for a little overreacting. If I can grate on the ears of those who would rather not hear about anti-semitism, then I call that a good thing. I believe I’m justified in being as sensitive as I can be to the insidious virus of anti-semitism, which has de-legitimized an otherwise legitimate and important movement (pro-Palestinian).
This whole situation is about Anti-Judaism/Anti-Semitism whether or not one wants to acknowledge that. It has brought the hate-mongers, who have most recently been very quiet, to the forefront of politics.
Anti-Semitism is a hard label for some people to swallow, but I don’t know what else to call it. Anti-Jewish? Anti-Israeli? Whatever. Jews are Semites, andit is therefore, IMO, Anti-Semitism.
GaWd: That is the most ignorant bullshite I have seen spouted on the boards recently. Certainly, any debate involving a certain group of people will bring the hatefull trolls out of the woodwork, but GOOD GOD MAN, how can you possibly call criticism of the actions of the Israeli state anti-semitism? Does criticizing terrorism sponsored by a Muslim nation make you anti-muslim? Of course not. To claim that attacking Israeli policy is akin to attacking Jews is as monumentally bigoted as to hate Jews for Israeli policy.
OK, but you would have to back that up about Satan, because as far as I know Satan’s depiction comes from the Greek god Pan, nothing whatsoever to do with Jews. Satan’s look also seems taken in part from medieval gargoyles, which were made as ugly as possible to scare away evil from churches (and let’s face it, in general hook-noses are not very attractive and they are therefore ideal for Satan and other depictions intended to frighten).
Don’t forget that we are talking about a caricature of Sharon here. Obviously you have seen it and I haven’t, but let me make a few points on the subject of stereotypes. Dante Alighieri’s sheer drop of a proboscis has been called the most famous cliff since Wuthering Heights, and I would argue he is indeed the possessor of the most famous hook-nose in the world–not a Jew and never mistaken for one. Staying in Italy, a number of Commedia dell’Arte characters–some of whom require special masks–have hook- or bird-noses (Pantalone, Comico, Pulcinella, and Zanni; the longer the latter’s nose, the more stupid he is considered. As an item of interest, another character whose name I can’t remember has a penis-nose!).
A hooked nose is also definitely a stereotype for withces, hags, and also native American Indians. In fact, consider this case. It’s a mascot costume (and therefore a caricature) representing the Wild West Indian stereotype. But your complaint is actually of a caricature of the evil bastard Sharon, not of Jews in general. I think the difference is significant if not immediately obvious. This is no doubt an attack against Sharon, but to make it an attack against all Jews strikes me as taking it a step too far and playing into the hands of those who do crank out such stereotypes.
Stereotypes are a complex issue. Charles Dickens was once attacked for writing a character that other characters referred to as “The Jew”. Dickens received complaints about it, but I’ve heard of no similar complaints about characters in the rest of literature referred to as “the Greek”, or “The Spaniard” or “The Italian”, or “The Arab” etc. That’s not to say that stereotyping does not occur and is not harmful, but when an artist (such a caricature artist or a writer like Dickens) crafts a character and assigns him certain physical or mental attributes, is it correct for us to jump to conclusions? Is the depiction of one person or character, whether it be negative or positive, sufficient cause for us to ascribe the attributes of the character to the entire ethnic group it is supposedly a part of? Of course not, because that is a generalization (which people do engage in, but I wonder if we should hold the artist responsible for the reaction of the audience? Should Dickens and Shakespeare have made their Jewish characters more lovable in order to avoid the audience perpetuating a stereotype, or were they writing with usurious materialism in mind, which is consistent with historical reality?)
Modern characters that have been labelled anti-Jewish include the Penguin from Batman Returns (dropped in a river as a baby, eats herrings, has a hooked nose, kills babies, wants power), Watto from Star Wars Episode 1 (owns the slave Anakin, greedy and materialistic, speaks in funny accent, droopy hook-like snout), and the Ferengi race from modern Star Trek series (greedy merchants, nasal voices, unusual features, unpleasant materialistic characters). I submit that excessive sensitivity and the human drive to form patterns and connections are at work in most of these cases of alleged anti-Jewish stereotypes.
Sadly, the stereotypes that people pick from these characters say more about the unrelenting search for perceived stereotypes than it does about the creators or exponents of the “questionable” materials.
This link did not work for me (page not found). Generally speaking there’s not an abundance of love for Jews in the Arab world, but then again there is no love for Sharon anywhere at all. I don’t really see a problem with caricatures of personages. And I don’t see a problem with a Semitic people, themselves with a high incidence of hook-noses (higher in Arabs than in Jews), making fun of a despised figure by using the hook-nose device (for the reasons listed earlier).
I did a search on more respectable news sources than a Web site that touts itself as offering “over 60 conservative columnists at your fingertips” and could not find anything on “blood libel”. I checked the BBC, CNN, and MSNBC. I’m not saying the story is not true, but I prefer to get my information and analyses from reliable sources (even if sloppy ones like CNN), not heavily biased opinion pieces in conservative publications. And this particular source has some problems, chief of which is the clear bias (including the evident confirmation bias) of the conservative columnist. For example:
My emphasis of this fool’s implied meaning. Let’s see if I can make some sense of the vomit that this ignoramus spews on the public in a manner that is no better than the rhetorical attacks of some Muslim clerics on Jews: because in the US a measly 300 copies of the Koran donated by some foundation contained translations considered objectionable, this promotes “a greater understanding of Islam,” implying that people will now recognize it as a bigoted and intolerant religion? Please keep this kind of bullshit away from the argument!
I am not in the US and I am not a Mulsim, but I would find it astounding if the majority of Muslims in the US really did think that Zionists were responsible for Sept 11 (keeping in mind that extremists are always the most vocal and visible Muslims, probably owing to the lack of clergy in Islam). As for this idiot columnist’s treatment of the facts, he offers us the statistic that a large number of people (Muslim and non, you pen-wielding nincompoop) favour “changing America’s Miccle East policy” as the best way to fight terrorism. What exactly is wrong with that statement, without necessarily meaning abandoning Israel entirely? US involvement in the Middle East has a long history of being rather questionable and one-sided, and it can be argued that American meddling and unwavering support of Israel in the past have contributed to the present situation.
No you ignorant and incontinent fool. Read: “morally unjustifiable” but understand it in its proper context, i.e. of a people who view themselves as disenfranchised, disposessed, and with generally little hope. There is nothing wrong with the Anti-Discrimination Committe quote as quoted in thge piece, and only someone deliberately trying to impugn Islam or Arabs in general would try to twist it into a justification of murder.
An adequate, if a little bit extreme, description of American (and most, in fact) politics. The author’s claim that anti-Zionism and anti-Americanism go hand in hand simply indicates that his understanding of the situation is even more abysmal than previously suspected (and no doubt motivated by ulterior factors such as jingoism).
Anyone who derides a valid point, particularly an historical point, instead of addressing it is worthy of contempt and dismissal. I spit on this columnist and all others like him who live to spread their prejudices, selective thinking, and confirmation bias techniques. Next time he should consider both sides of the argument instead of dedicating less than one line to a passing mention of “the brave voices of dissent” in a piece that is overwhelmingly anti-Arab and anti-Islam. Talk about stereotyping! At least Shakespeare’s and Dickens’s Jewish characters were in many ways admirable and therefore more or less balanced. This is a pile of dreck.
RenMan, I think it’s time for a reality press check. The pieces you are linking in support of your thesis are opinion pieces, and not very good ones at that. The adl.org links are not working for me, but in response to knee-jerk attacks against innocent Jews in France (or anywhere else) I’m right with you. At the same time, Arabs have been the subject of intense discrimination that is probably worse than the Jewish equivalent. For example, don’t forget the outbursts of violence against “Arab-looking” or “Muslim-looking” people that started in the US after 9/11, not to mention the several other expressions of hate and prejudice (I know non-theist Arabs and moderate Muslims who consider the US a closed door for them following the increase of stereotyping and profiling, and who complain of unreasonable prejudice that convinced them to leave the country. So much for idiot coulmnist Don Feder’s description, “the most tolerant, pluralistic society on earth”).
The National Review opinion piece is another exercise in selective thinking, where the cretin that someone taught to hold a pen complains about the Left, student initiatives, dictatorships, propaganda, etc., all without a clear thread of an argument. The situation is characterized in the following manners:
Fair enough, unfortunately it is not Israel’s desire to rid itself of terrorism that is being criticized, but Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and Israel’s approach to the problem using Bush’s convenient example and rhetoric as justification for reprehensible actions. Those, to my knowledge, are the issues.
Unsupported opinion. And
Arafat was forced to reject the famous (and IMO generous and wel-intended) Barak deal because it left out a couple of points considered crucial by the Palestinian side (right of return and Jerusalem). I’m one of the people who thinks Arafat should have accepted the deal, if it was within his power (which is perhaps doubtful), but the issue is irrelevant now. I’d like to see how the writer of the opinion piece justifies such putrid effluvia as stating that all Arafat wants is the destruction of Israel. Is that why Arafat spent years working towards and negotiating a solution? If the writer is correct, why would Arafat publicly condemn violence against civilians? Wouldn’t that be counter-productive to the gradual destruction of Israel?
The piece waffles on about how the Left and students are misguidedly and dastardly resurrecting “Zionism is Racism” slogans and so forth. Well, Zionism is despicable, and the current Israeli PM happens to be, if not a Zionist, then someone who has managed to espouse many of the views of Zionism, including the Israel for Jews only bigotry and several less-than-kind comments about Palestinians and what ought to happen to them en masse.
Just because there’s a lot of crap coming out of the Arabic world on these issues doesn’t mean that all Arab output is crap, or that Arab nations do not have their own valid points as concerns this hideous mess. The National Review is advised to choose its guest opinion pieces more carefully if they wish to be taken seriously. This writer you just linked to, RenMan, is the author of a book called Commies: A Journey Through the Old Left, the New Left and the Leftover Left. The blurb for the book reads: “Growing up COMMUNIST — in America! McCarthy was right: they really had burrowed deeply into our society. Get the proof in this engrossing autobiography of a reformed American Communist”.
Give me a goddamned break Ronald Radosh, you fucking bigoted idiot propagandist pranoid delusional asswipe.
By the way, to stay on topic, did you see the cartoon of a hook-nosed man on the right side of the National Review link you posted? (where it says “New look for NRO”).
I am right with you when it comes to all sorts of prejudice-based crap such as anti-Jewish sentiments, but I have to question the sources you seem to base your judgement on. And don’t forget that the more you get upset about something (especially if you take much of that biased crap seriously), the less clear your vision becomes, the higher the risk of polarizing your point of view. Not that I’m saying you are yourself biased, but you do find this situation upsetting, and you have posted some pretty questionable links, so I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about a situation that has already encouraged massive polar migration.
First, FDISK, observe below that I will make a distinction between criticizing Israel and being antisemitic. It is totally legitimate to criticize Israel and its actions, indeed, criticism is necessary and important for a free world whether or not the state of Israel is guilty of charges against it. That you mistook my arguments for trolling speaks to my lack of experience as a poster.
Next, thanks, Abe, that was a very impressive post. I deserve to be called out for the biased sources I posted. As you thoroughly pointed out, they do not really help my arguments much.
My chief argument remains in place, however. Criticisms of the state of Israel are legitimate, but antisemitism is not. Both forms of expression find voice in the pro-Palestinian movement, and in the Arab media. I welcome criticism of Israel, but antisemitism is dangerous; it’s a worldwide plague comparable to racism and it must be named where it exists, and destroyed, lest more atrocities against Jews occur.
Let’s see if I can redeem myself a little…
First, I am distressed that you can’t use my ADL links. The Anti-Defamation League is a respectable organization that fights anti-semitism; their cites would be fairly central to my argument. Try going to http://www.adl.org/, then in the upper-right hand corner, search under “Arab”. Then click the article entitled “Arab Anti-Semitism and the Arab-Israeli Conflict”, then on that page, click “More about Anti-Semitism in the Arab World”, which lies in the right hand vertical yellow bar under “Related Materials”. There you will find the page I mentioned.
I have already admitted to possibly overreacting to what might have been an innocent caricature. I do not have a picture of the offending mask, so I will not continue to argue about it. I readily admit to a personal characteristic of oversensitivity.
About the rest…
Is The Guardian good enough for you? Al-Riyadh is a major Saudi newspaper, and the writer taught at a university. I wonder if the writer would still have been fired if the US State Department hadn’t complained.
Abe, is it a competition? I’m well aware of the attacks on Arabs, and the prejudices that exist there. I’m simply making the point that antisemitism (and I mean anti-Jew, not anti-Semitic person) is a particularly long-lasting, dangerous, poisonous, insidious way of thinking that can infest any legitimate movement (pro-Palestinian) if people aren’t careful. I think it’s good to be oversensitive, just to keep people on their toes that antisemitism is far from dead and represents a very real and present threat to Jews everywhere.
This part doesn’t ring true with the rest of your post, Abe. You do careful research, but then you condemn Zionism out of hand.
Such bigotry has indeed been spawned in the name of Zionism, but I cannot accept your reflex denunciation of Zionism as a whole. On what do you base your accusation? That atrocities have been committed in its name? In that case, better say that Christianity, Islam, communism are despicable, too.
Nowhere in that statement does it say anything about bigotry or violence against others. All the Zionists want is a home for Jews. This is why in 1948, the Zionists accepted the UN proposal to divide the British Mandate into Jewish and Arab states.
I hope this will persuade you to take back your statement that “Zionism is despicable” and to separate the movement itself and what it stands for, from misguided acts of violence and oppression done in that movement’s name. Such mental separations are, of course, vital in the fight against ignorance.
Thanks for taking the time to call me on my mistakes.
This is funny I was just talking to december about that MLK letter here. Just for kicks, here is someone who didn’t like Zionism.
"Several letters have been received by me asking me to declare my views about the Arab-Jew question in Palestine and the persecution of the Jews in Germany. It is not without hesitation that I venture to offer my views on this very difficult question.
My sympathies are all with the Jews…But my sympathy does not blind me to the requirements of justice. The cry for the national home for the Jews does not make much appeal to me. The sanction for it is sought in the Bible and the tenacity with which the Jews have hankered after return to Palestine. Why should they not, like other peoples of the earth, make that country their home where they are born and where they earn their livelihood?..
It is wrong and in-human to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct. The mandates have no sanction but that of the last war. Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home…
And now a word to the Jews in Palestine. I have no doubt that they are going about it the wrong way. The Palestine of the Biblical conception is not a geographical tract. It is in their hearts. But if they must look to the Palestine of geography as their national home, it is wrong to enter it under the shadow of the British gun. A religious act cannot be performed with the aid of the bayonet or the bomb. They can settle in Palestine only by the goodwill of the Arabs. They should seek to convert the Arab heart. The same God rules the Arab heart who rules the Jewish heart…
There are hundreds of ways of reasoning with the Arabs, if they will only discard the help of the British bayonet. As it is, they are co-sharers with the British in despoiling a people who have done no wrong to them…
I am not defending the Arab excesses. I wish they had chosen the way of non-violence in resisting what they rightly regarded as an unwarrantable encroachment upon their country. But according to the accepted canons of right and wrong, nothing can be said against the Arab resistance in the face of overwhelming odds."
Excrepts from a letter in 1938, full letter can be seen here
Spiffy, but the “big nosed” or “hook nosed” Jew stereotype has been a symbol of anti-Jewish hatred and bigotry for centuries. I don’t recall a “big nosed Italian” stereotype being used to stir up hatred against Italians.
To say "Gosh! Dante’s been portrayed with a big nose: it isn’t anti-Italian completely ignores the historical usages of the “big-nosed Jew” as anti-semetic propaganda. To say “It’s a caricature of a Jew that jes’ happens to have a big hooked nose, despite the fact that the Jew in question doesn’t” is pretty disingenuous.
Let’s try this analagous situation on for size: some group that’s against affirmative action has a rally in which they hold up an effigy of someone proported to be Colin Powell, only instead of Colin Powell’s features, the effigy has big floppy lips, a flat nose, huge ears, and a slack jaw. Would you accept the excuse “Hey: it’s a caricature? And some blacks do have some of those features. So it’s just a coincidence!”
I wouldn’t accept it.
What if, instead of portraying Sharon as a “big nosed” Jew, they portrayed him, oh…say…stealing money from Christians? Or using children’s blood to bake matzoh? Would that be ok?
and I won’t even get into the bigotry of statements like
So…you’re saying Jews are and have historically been “usurious” and “materialistic”? I sincerely hope you misspoke.
RenMan: Sorry for any confusion, I wasn’t referring to you or any other individual poster in the “troll” statement. In fact, I wasn’t even referring to message board trolls, but trying to evoke an icky thing-living-under-the-bridge image. I was simply stating that any argument that involves an ethnic group is bound to bring out people who hate that group. For example, in the slavery reparations debate (please, no hijacks), there will be people who agree, people who disagree, and then a few people who are joining the debate just because they see an opportunity to diss black people.
Yes and yes again. There are sound reasons to criticize Israel’s recent actions. They’re understandable - but counterproductive and unworthy of a country that claims to be distinct from the despotic regimes that surround it. But protestors who stoop to anti-semitism actually help to **legitimize[’/b] those actions, in my view.
Hemlock, thanks for the links. It’s fascinating: your second link shows the Jew being demonized as the evil capitalist and the evil communist at the same time.
Efrem, thanks for posting the Gandhi letter, and carrying your discussion over here from the other thread. I’m not sure what you’re trying to point out by posting that, but it seems like you’re saying “I’ll see your Martin Luther King, Jr, and I’ll raise you Mahatma Gandhi. Zionism isn’t legitimate, and here’s why…”
With the purpose of continuing to defend Zionism, I would like to address several portions of Mr. Gandhi’s letter. I find that although I agree with this great man’s principle of nonviolence, I do not agree with his thinking here.
Mahatma, how can you say that first bit, and then the second in the very next paragraph?
They’ve sure been trying to live where they were born, Mahatma. They tried in Spain, they tried in Italy, and in Germany, England, Russia, Poland, and America. It’s just that their countrymen could never let them alone to just be Polish, French, German. It’s been about 2,000 years of persecution, with some bright spots along the way. Jews in America are doing quite well so far, although (a) they have their own problems, and (b) not every Jew might want to be an American.
Oy vey! This is a sentence that might have come from the mouth of Jean-Marie Le Pen (“France for the French!!”) I don’t blame the man for speaking this way, since his whole work was dedicated to having India be for the Indians, but really! Countries aren’t little bubbles with homogenous groups of people living in them. England is full of not just “English”, or white Anglo-Saxons, but also French, Flemish, Africans, Jews, etc, who have made that land their home. The space of land that Gandhi calls “Palestine” (though the true Palestinians, the Philistines from whom the land got its name, are long gone) was never homogenously Arab, but had Turks, Armenians, Europeans, Persians, Druze, and yes, always Jews living in it.
Reduce the Arabs, eh? The Arab world is immense; it spans major portions of two continents. I think Gandhi had an image in his head of hordes of Jews suddenly appearing on the shores of a totally Arab land. While large boatloads certainly showed up after the war, the truth is that Jews never stopped living in the land, and starting in the latter half of the 19th century, Zionist settlers built larger and larger communities there, peacefully. How did Palestine belong any less to those Zionist settlers, born on the land, than to their Arab neighbors?
A noble course, indeed, but Mahatma, have you read your history books? Zionism is a direct result of the Jews’ failure to get any sort of real justice and equal treatment in the lands where they were trying to live.
I really don’t like how freely Gandhi is pasting labels and making simple definitions. He is using the Cartesian definition of religion as a floating extra-identity that is completely detached from one’s peoplehood. Arguments can be made for Jews as a people, too - in addition to a system of faith, Jews have a distinct culture that connects across international boundaries, in a way that, say, Methodists across such boundaries do not think of themselves. My argument is: Jews are a people, not just a religion that sits on top of a national identity. And as a people, especially in France, they have been repeatedly singled out and made to feel un-French, with serious detrimental effects on their safety and quality of life.
Oh Lord! What is he saying? When Italy unified as a whole nation, did all the Italian-Americans, Italian-British, Italian-Australians, etc., have to leave their homes and return to Italy against their will? No! But the nation of Italy was still an important symbol for a lot of them. Same thing. I am an American Jew, but I know that should things become bad here, I have Israel, the Jewish homeland. I really think Gandhi is way off base here.
Now he seems to be saying that the Germans would be correct in expelling all their Jews should a Jewish homeland ever appear on the surface of the Earth. Does this mean Ghaddafi was correct in expelling all of his Palestinian-Libyans to Palestine in the hope that Palestinian Arabs would have an independent state?
Nazi Germany and the Holocaust were not a historical anomaly; they were the catastrophic culmination of two millennia of hatred, exile, murder, vilification. Gandhi was a great man, but he may have been out of his depth on this subject.
And of course many Jews have done just that over the years. Gandhi, though, was a statesman in a huge nation full of hundreds of millions of his countrymen, fighting off a foreign imperial power. The Jewish situation is quite different. The martyr’s path that Gandhi suggests was legitimate and effective, but the Zionists argue that it alone was not enough to heal the suffering of the Jews and the sickness of the Europeans that preyed upon them.
An arguable point, one which I disagree with in part, but is he not retreating from his earlier stance, which was that it was wrong for Jews to enter Palestine period?
An admirable goal for the Jews. Jews are supposed to do this. Isn’t it fortunate that there is a Jewish state now, to provide an environment for Jews to try their best to live this principle? It’s much harder to stand up and be human when you live in a hostile society that dehumanizes you.
My position stands: Zionism as an idea and a movement is legitimate. Zionism does not equal Racism. Those who condemn it out of hand should take a more careful look at the issue.
I believe those two points were one and the same. The first was that it was wrong for the Jews to force themselves onto the Arabs (i believe this was en masse, as in taking over the country) and the second is reiterating that, as in: entered with force, or with the assistance of a foreign nation against the Arabs. That’s my understanding of the letter, not my own view. (It ain’t every day I can try to interpret Ghandi, wanted to give it a shot.)
About the hooked-nose thing…for a long time I’ve wondered about something. I do think that sometimes Jewish people give far more credit (or less depending on your POV) to those against them than they deserve, as in having the brains to even employ subtle forms of anti-Semitism. That may be downright lofty when talking about some of the pro-Palestinian operations I’ve heard about, which essentially mean one is overlooking umpteen years of violence to be trumpeting a cause on a streetcorner. The situation is not that simple and yet for these folks, it is. I doubt the hooked nose was a subtle form of anything, rather a blunt and obvious attempt to portray Sharon as evil. YMMV of course, I’m not Jewish and I know anti-Semitism isn’t a very easy thing to talk about.