Monday, September 27, 2010

Oh boy...

I'm part of an anti-genocide group on campus known as STAND, and both the leader of the group and I are of Jewish heritage. We both had interest in spreading the word about the Israel-Palestine conflict, and I sent him an article that I felt like showing STAND. Here's our exchange so far. I'll add to our email exchange as it progresses.

"Hey there, I feel that this would be a good synopsis of the occupation for STAND to read. *attachment* If some people can't read pdfs, they can read everything--albeit without the images/graphs/charts--here. http://www.ifamericansknew.org/history/ I think we should also watch the first 6 minutes of this at our next meeting, as it provides a more empirical context for understanding the conflict. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VV8N9J9gJ9c"

See you on Wednesday,
Sam

Innocent enough, right? Read forth...

"That PDF is NOT a good resource. For one, it calls early Zionists "extremists." Also, it says that Zionists tried to prevent Holocaust refugees from fleeing to Western countries, which is a serious allegation―and highly offensive if it's not supported. It also seems to avoid using the word "Holocaust," which I suspect is because it seeks to cater to people who deny it. Unbiased info is hard to find, but please analyze your sources critically."

Isn't it funny how we call insurgents extremists with relative ease, but never occupiers and invaders? Is the leader of an "anti-genocide" group seriously apologizing for poor Israel and all of the crimes that it happened to innocently commit? Just because Jews dealt with the horrors of the Holocaust doesn't mean that Israel can be allowed to go against basic standards of morality. My response went as follows:

"Obviously the Zionist movement was more diverse than the colonizers themselves were, but the fact remains that the colonial Zionists formed an expansionist state by kicking hundreds of thousands out of their homes and massacring several more. Those particular Zionists were "extremists" just as we often call armed Muslim groups extremists (and with less effort). The current situation in Palestine is an ethnic cleansing, and I think that matters a little more than the selective language of the article. Don't be so hasty to accuse anti-Zionist language as anti-Semitic.

Sources are cited in the more detailed history here. http://ifamericansknew.org/history/origin.html

"“In 1938 a thirty-one nation conference was held in Evian, France, on resettlement of the victims of Nazism. The World Zionist Organization refused to participate, fearing that resettlement of Jews in other states would reduce the number available for Palestine.” John Quigley, “Palestine and Israel: A Challenge to Justice.”"

Quigley also appears to be a respectable scholar, as his wikipedia page illustrates. That said, I don't think it's worth overthinking the sources we use. We shouldn't apologize for occupying countries or otherwise dwell too much on them.

More on the site, since you seem concerned. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_Americans_Knew and http://www.ifamericansknew.org/about_us/whoweare.html"

Sam

And then I responded again, just to further illuminate him about why I provided him a pro-Palestinian source.

"An addendum, I think it's also key to remember how extreme of a bias our own mainstream media has regarding the conflict. (Whereas, the international media is far more willing to criticize Israel.) Muslims are always portrayed as the belligerents whereas the state of Israel is typically referred to as defending themselves, in spite of the fact that far more Palestinians have died in the occupation. Therefore I have little problem with one generalization about the Zionist movement compared to endless anti-Palestinian media coverage. Remember, we're trying to inform people that their tax dollars are going to these atrocities, and the U.S. media hasn't done a sufficient job of that whatsoever."

Sam

Hopefully he'll understand, but I have my doubts.

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