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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Is America waking up?

Robert Fisk, The Independent, December 3:

"Watching the pathetic, old, lie-on-its-back frightened labrador of the American media changing overnight into a vicious rottweiler is one of the enduring pleasures of society in the United States. I have been experiencing this phenomenon over the past two weeks, as both victim and beneficiary.

"In New York and Los Angeles, my condemnation of the American presidency and Israel's continued settlement-building in the West Bank was originally treated with the disdain all great papers reserve for those who dare to question proud and democratic projects of state. In The New York Times, that ancient luminary Ethan Bonner managed to chide me for attacking American journalists who - he furiously quoted my own words - "report in so craven a fashion from the Middle East - so fearful of Israeli criticism that they turn Israeli murder into 'targeted attacks' and illegal settlements into 'Jewish neighbourhoods'."

"Americans are ready to discuss the United States' relationship with Israel. And America's injustices towards the Arabs. As usual, ordinary Americans are way out in front of their largely tamed press and television reporters. Now we have to wait and see if the media boys and girls will catch up with their own people."


Blogger Ibrahamav said...

America is waking up to the fact that antisemitism is alive in europe and australia.

American's have always been ready to discuss anything. It is only the radical left run by antisemites who scream about not discussing their outlandish suggestions.

Monday, December 05, 2005 1:10:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Whether it is raising awareness of anti-Semitism, or a greater preparedness to discuss the Israeli/Palestine conflict, this has to be a good thing. Church groups in the US are actively voicing their concerns over the dispute. Recently, a top official of the Presbyterian church had with Hezbollah to better understand the conflict from all sides of the debate.

Contrary to your claims Ibraham, America is only just starting to wake up from a 4 year coma, one which was not induced by the left.

-It wasn't the left that introduced Free Speech Zones.
-It wasn't the left that appointed Kenneth Tomlinson (a man with connections at the very top of the White House) as head to CPB (Centre for Public Broadcasting), who paid a colleague $10,000 to watch the station and record all inferences perceived left leaning.
-It was the left who have called for Tomlinson's resignation
-It wasn't the left that has created the most secretive government in memory
-It wasn't the left that has silenced whistle blowers by dredging up old secrecy laws
-It wasn’t the left that retroactively classified the testimony of an FBI whistleblower, after she appeared on 60 minutes, so that it could not be used in a class action lawsuit against the US government
-It wasn’t the left that has framed dissent as unpatriotic and apology for terrorism
-It wasn’t the left that created the Patriot Act and has introduced stifling and anti-sedition laws

Monday, December 05, 2005 3:10:00 am  
Blogger Shabadoo said...


Monday, December 05, 2005 10:45:00 am  
Blogger Stev said...

America is waking up to the fact that antisemitism is alive in europe and australia.

Why is antisemitism America's concern, let alone antisemitism in Australia and Europe?

Monday, December 05, 2005 11:59:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

It goes without saying that in any civiclised society, antisemitism is everyone's concern.

Monday, December 05, 2005 12:10:00 pm  
Blogger Stev said...

Actually, it goes without saying that antisemitism is a Jewish concern, just as 'Islamaphobia' is an Islamic concern and anti-American sentiment is an American concern.

When you try to wipe out racial, cultural or religious prejudice one group at a time, you end up with that one group behind you, and only them. Nothing gets done. If you want to eliminate such prejudice, start by removing prejudice from your eliminating efforts themselves. To me that means no longer using words like antisemitism. Surely the problem is the prejudice itself, not the fact that in any particular case it might be aimed at the Jewish people.

Society - be it American or Australian - should be less concerned about antisemitism and more concerned about prejudice in general. Unless of course you truly believe that Jewish people are more deserving of protection than any other religious, cultural or racial group...

Monday, December 05, 2005 1:12:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Yes prejudice itself is the underlying problem, so as long as this premeates a society, the other ills will follow.

I would never suggest that anti-Semitism is more severe than other prejudices, but I dispute that it remains the concern of the Jewsih community alone.

Monday, December 05, 2005 1:55:00 pm  
Blogger Stev said...

And when our attempts to eradicate prejudice from our society are themselves prejudiced - what hope do we have?

You're probably right that antisemitism isn't solely the concern of the Jewish community - but I feel it should be. After all, antisemitism only affects the Jewish community. All people should fight prejudice against all people. Select groups should fight prejudice against select groups. When all people fight prejudice against select groups, you simply have more prejudice.

Of course I use the term 'all people' very loosely. But if a nation as large as the US fights antisemitism separately to its fight against general racial/cultural/religious prejudice - isn't that just introducing more prejudice again?

Monday, December 05, 2005 2:26:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

I see what you are getting at. Policing prejudice can easily venture into the grey areas of stifling freedom of speech.

If my neighbour is being victimised for their race or religion, I certainly wouldn't be comfortable standing by at allowing it to happen if I can prevent it.

Monday, December 05, 2005 2:30:00 pm  
Blogger Stev said...

My point is not really about freedom of speech, although I think there are issues there with Ernst Zundel and other revisionists. There's a difference between honest historical assessment (wrong though it might be) and racial or religious victimisation. But that's a whole other kettle of fish. Several kettles even.

The point I'm trying to make is if you seek to target only prejudice against one group, then you yourself are being prejudiced and are not making any positive contribution to the cause. Such is the case with antisemitism. By even creating a word with the sole purpose of addressing prejudice against a single group, we are perpetuating prejudice by implying that any attacks against that group should be considered seperately from attacks against any other group.

I guess it's all semantics, and I have a tendency to get tangled up in semantics, but in this case I think it's important. The use of words generates a mindset in which attacks against Jewish people are considered different to (and in many cases considered more heinous than) attacks against other racial/religious groups.

Monday, December 05, 2005 3:11:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

I see what you're getting at. Yes you have a point.

This was highlighted by an example recently when Abe Foxman of the Anti Defamation League, tried to argue that it was anti-semitic to speak of Israel's human right's record without also mentioning the human rights failures of other states.

Of course this would be rediculous because no one mentions other states when singaling out the human rights transgressions of China or any other country.

Indeed it would be a prejudicial to focus overtly on anti-semitism at the expense of being equally vigilant of other prejudices.

It always sruck me as odd that there was an adjective other than anti-Jewish to describe prejudice against Jews.

Monday, December 05, 2005 3:30:00 pm  
Blogger neoleftychick said...

I think that people in the west have been blasted out of their anti-semitic slumber. After Sep.11, Bali, Thailand, Amman, London, Madrid, Turkey, and on and on and on, we are starting to realise that in fact we are ALL Israelis now.

Monday, December 05, 2005 9:09:00 pm  
Blogger Stev said...

We may all be Israelis in a sense, but that hardly makes us all Jewish.

Monday, December 05, 2005 9:14:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...


I'm curious as to what being collectively Israeli means. Surely it doesn't mean we are collectively at war with Atrabs seeing as 2 of the countries you mentioned are predominantly Arab.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005 12:47:00 am  

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