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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Hating is acceptable

Bradley Burston asks in Haaretz, "what makes Islam so easy to hate":

"There is a reason why Islam has become so easy to misinterpret, so easy to fear, so easy to hate: those who speak evil and do evil and order others to perform acts of evil in the name of its God and His Prophet."

Let me clarify. A tiny handful of Muslims are fundamentalists who hate Jews, hate the West and want to inflict great damage on "us." The vast majority of Muslims are law-abiding, compassionate, tolerant and understanding people.

A tiny handful of Jews are fundamentalists who hate Muslims, Palestinians and Arabs and want to inflict great damage of "them." The vast majority of Jews are honest and decent people.

Perhaps Burston would like to extend his theory to other religions. In Israel, however, such racism is not only accepted, it's encouraged.


Blogger RHRoss said...

Hatred is a seductive addiction. When we hate we define an 'other' as evil and by extension, that means we are 'good' or at least dramatically better than they are.

Burston conveniently overlooks the fact that if you took the most radical Jews, Christians, Hindus etc., you would get the same sort of 'licence to hate' if you were looking for it.

As you say, he completely overlooks the fact that many Muslims, maybe most, are not like this. But never let the facts get in the way of a good hating.

Understanding is a tool which can bring resolution. It doesn't always, but it can. Hatred never brings anything but more hatred, more violence, more death and more misery.

One presumes that if he can make a case for 'hating' Islam, well, the fundamentalist version of it, he is therefore completely accepting of Palestinians who hate Israel and Israelis for their brutal occupation and colonisation.

Or would that be another case of: One rule for me and another for everyone else?

Thursday, February 02, 2006 12:48:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

What a miopic and blinkered diatribe! This guys is trying to whip his readers into a frenzy by opening his piece with a claim that for the firs time, he's made the bold move of taking the gloves off on religious and ehtnic sensibilities.

It is such a tansparently hate filled article, which side tracks the fact that Hammas was Israeli sponsored during it's birth.

To his credit, he at least aknowledges that Israel has done plenty of horrible things to the Palestinians. He somehow seems to think this makes it OK to continue to do so.

Thursday, February 02, 2006 1:31:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Here's an interesting poll:

75% of Hamas voters oppose destruction of Israel'

Pretty reassuring. I doubt a poll of Israeli attitudes to Paelistnians would be much better than that.

Thursday, February 02, 2006 3:00:00 pm  
Blogger Aaron Lane said...

As if Antony would have leapt to the defense of Christianity of Judaism if someone had made exactly the same statement, but had been referring to either of those two religions. In fact, he would probably have heartily agreed with it. For instance, if someone had said "there is a reason why people hate Christianity--its followers blow up abortion clinics,", or, there is a reason why people hate Americans--rabid right wing republicans," Antony would have been echoing there sentiments in an instant. The most rabid critics of religions traditionally associated with the West are usually the most forgiving of those from other cultures.

Thursday, February 02, 2006 6:41:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...


I;m glad you brought up the example of blowing up abortion clinics. We in the West all know that this behavior is associated with the right wing right to lifer's in the US. So we are abel to make a distinction between intrepretations of Christianity, yet Bradley Burston makes no such dintinction. He chooses instead to use a broad brush to paint all of Islam with the same brush as the extremists.

Western exceptionalism at it's very best (or worst).

You can't see the difference?

Friday, February 03, 2006 12:23:00 am  
Blogger Ros said...

Antony would you be able to substantiate your claim that in Israel racism is encouraged. I assume that you are not referring to extremist groups, rather that it is commonplace. I read the article and I think you have chosen that quote to distort the message of the article. For those who can’t be bothered checking it is about the denial of the holocaust and it’s target is hate and Islamists. And Hamas

“The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!"

Burston then says

”What's that you say? Why should you have to condemn this?

What's that? The Jews justify their acts, too?

Do we do bad things to Palestinians? Yes - often. Look where you're reading this. We pillory ourselves, expose our failings, castigate ourselves to the point of masochism, even, on occasion, do the right thing to correct it.”

Do some Jews exploit the Holocaust for their own gain? Of course “

If we want to look for racism as commonplace in societies then go look at MEMRI’s site

which lists a range of revolting anti-jew TV in the ME. Like in Lebanon television for children that Jews turn into apes and pigs, or the same on Saudi television.

Friday, February 03, 2006 8:47:00 am  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

Ros said...
"substantiate your claim that in Israel racism is encouraged."

Just a quick comment. I don't know whether it is encouraged - and it would depend on what one thinks "encouraged" means. E.g. if X says something racist and the media & politicians say, "Yeah! damn straight!" would that be "encouragement"? Or what if X says something racist and the media says nothing at all (i.e. don't publicly condemn it), would that be "encouragement"?

Anyway, extracted from yesterday's (Feb 3, 2006) SMHerald:

Headline: Israel denies torturing Palestinians, but pays alleged victims $710,000
"Right-wing Israelis and sections of the media are calling for an inquiry into alleged excessive use of force by police and troops called upon to demolish several buildings in an illegal Jewish settlement in the West Bank.
Police used clubs and water-cannon against hundreds of Jewish fundamentalists trying to block the execution of a high court order.
"They are relating to human beings here like they wouldn't relate to Arabs," complained far-right MP Aryeh Eldad."

Look at what is being said in that quote - look at the opposites clearly indicated: human beings vs Arabs. This is not an obscurely phrased slight. This is not an ambiguously implied statement. This is as plainly and as openly a racist statement as one will find. And look who is making the statement: an elected representative of the people! Can you even begin to imagine this being said by an Australian federal politician? Hanson and Lightfoot have made racist statements, yes - and they were roundly and justly condemned for making them - but they never came within a thousand miles of saying a race of people weren't human beings! How is this different from a Hitlerian statement? I wait with great hope for media outlets - including the Australian Jewish News - to unequivocally condemn the letter and the spirit of this quote. Otherwise, one could well take it to be giving tacit approval to such statements, thereby encouraging racism within the Australian Jewish community.

Saturday, February 04, 2006 2:15:00 am  

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