As you may recall, in October of 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu got into some political hot water by saying that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem during World War II gave Hitler the idea of committing genocide against the Jews. This was a bewildering gaffe, since as we all know, Hitler had the idea all on his own.
Another thing that’s strange about this, is that the unadulterated, unembellished truth is plenty bad enough… Netanyahu could have just said, “This man, the leader of the Palestinians in this region at this time, was enthusiastically in favor of the wholesale mass slaughter of millions of innocent people solely on the basis on their religion”, and left it at that.
But what is also odd here is… what’s the point of even bringing this up, to begin with?
Let’s call “P”, the percentage of people during and prior to World War II, who, like the Grand Mufti, were in favor of the genocide of the Jews. I don’t know what exactly P is, but what I can say, with confidence, is that it was above zero (hell, the percentage of people who feel this way even today, in 2016, is above zero…) And although I don’t know the precise value of P, I will go so far as to say, based on all of the available data from that time period, that it’s pretty apparent that P was high enough that to say that someone felt that way back then, is really not anything all that remarkable.
So what makes this one particular data point, of the Grand Mufti, any more deserving of mention than other data?
Why couldn’t Netanyahu have said, instead…
You know, it’s easy to become jaded and cynical, what with all the horrendous stuff that goes on in the world. And this is why I’m so very grateful for the Israel-loves-Palestine and Palestine-loves-Israel groups. Every morning when I have my breakfast and coffee, I head over to their page for my daily dose of inspiration. Like this recent post from Joujou, the Palestinian woman who created the Palestine-loves-Israel group:
Since I founded this page 4 years ago and became part of the Peace-Factory, I have met hundreds of Israelis and we became friends. It changed everything. It showed me a way to peace. It showed me a way to deal with this conflict, with any conflict.
Becoming friends reduces the fear and mistrust of the “other side”, it increases compassion and understanding. It’s the most effective weapon against de-humanization and victimization.
Both, the de-humanization of the “other side” and the victimization of our own side, are the fuel to political and religious conflicts.
It begins in language. We say “the Jews”, “the Muslims” as if every Jew and Muslim was alike. I hear people refer to refugees of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa as “masses” or even “an avalanche of migrants”. This is brutal language that deprives them of their humanity, their identity, their dignity.
It’s de-humanization. Calling each other “the enemy” prevents us from seeing each other as humans. It makes us hate and kill each other.
Victimization goes in another direction. We see ourselves as the only victim of a conflict, as the ones who suffer the most. Sometimes it goes as far as being a contest about who suffers more.
De-humanization and victimization go hand in hand. But by becoming friends we can overcome both.
Friendship across borders is the most effective way to Peace.
I mean, WOW. How can I help but admire her, and all of these fine folks in the Peace-Factory, who have devoted themselves to spreading this splendiferous vibe of mutual acceptance. The vision they share with us, of our peoples peacefully coexisting, brightens my whole outlook.
Wouldn’t this have been a more constructive choice for what to say, rather than the lie that he did in fact choose to say?
And this reinforces my earlier contention, that bigotry results from only considering the data (i.e., bad Palestinians, like the execrable Grand MFer) that support the bigoted belief (i.e., Palestinians being bad), and not factoring in data (i.e., supremely awesome Palestinians like Joujou) that are contrary to the bigoted belief.
Here’s another example: OK, so Benjamin Netanyahu may not be the biggest fan of the Palestinians, but just because one particular Jew is like this, doesn’t imply that all Jews are. What about Barbara Lubin, the founder and executive director of the Middle East Children’s Alliance, an organization which has delivered massive quantities of desperately needed food aid and medical supplies to Gaza? (Ah, the world really seems to have no lack of bizarre ironies… I.e. Bizarre Irony #4586- one Jewish woman is actually doing far more to help the Palestinians, than the whole combined lot of the jackoff trolls who do nothing but spew vitriol about how evil Jews are towards the Palestinians…)
What other falsehoods are being spouted?
How about the ubiquitous refrain, “You can’t criticize Israel without coming under the specter of anti-Semitism.” Yup, this is complete bunk. There’s loads of perfectly sound, reasonable criticisms of Israel that don’t have so much as the teensiest tinge of anti-Semitism (like, oh, say… that Amnesty International report, mentioned in Percentages & Quadrants). But, I’ve also seen plenty of criticisms of Israel that were, truly, indeed, anti-Semitic. Just because some criticisms of Israel aren’t anti-Semitic, doesn’t mean that all criticisms of Israel aren’t anti-Semitic. And just because some criticisms of Israel are anti-Semitic, doesn’t mean that all criticisms of Israel are anti-Semitic. How about this: if you don’t want to be guilty of being anti-Semitic, then just don’t be anti-Semitic-
IT’S REALLY NOT THAT #%$@*ING HARD, PEOPLE!!!!!!!
OK… deep breaths… Vulcan calm… and how about another chart:
I also can’t help but notice the trendy saying these days, “Jews are the new Nazis” (sort of like, “50 is the new 30”).
Um… sorry, but when I hear this comparison, I feel that some proper perspective has been lost. So, let’s try to restore some perspective…
Remember the delightful tidbit I started off with, you know, about the countless women who were brutally beaten and gang-raped on a daily basis during and after World War II, until many were suicidal or catatonic? Yeah, that? That something of such (literally) epic proportions, has ended up being wholly eclipsed, that comparatively, it ultimately registers as little more than a footnote, a “blip”, an “oh, and by the way…”, speaks to the utter enormity of what has eclipsed it.
Sure, the West Bank may not be Beverly Hills, but if anyone would REALLY rather be in Auschwitz than the OTs, I will eat every piece of furniture in my house.
So when there is absolutely no rational defense of a position, then what acts a substitute for a rational defense, for those who support the indefensible position?
Consider the false statement, “the Earth is flat”. If every single person on the planet believed that it was true, would the Earth then be flat?
Or, if this lie was repeated over and over ad infinitum, would that make it true?
Or if this lie was screamed, louder and louder, and angrier and angrier, then would it become true?
Negatory on all counts- the Earth would still be round regardless of how many people believed it wasn’t, or how many times it was stated that it wasn’t, or with what intensity level it was stated that it wasn’t. This may seem like the most obvious thing you’ve ever heard in your entire life, like saying 1 + 1 = 2, but from what I witness in the world, it doesn’t seem like this is obvious enough to far too many people.
Lying doesn’t advance your position. All you ever accomplish by lying, is that you reveal yourself to be a liar. And the tarnishing of your character in this way casts suspicions on your motives, and the veracity of anything else you say will subsequently be questioned. In the examples I’ve given here of lying, note once again that the lies are unnecessary, in that the truth is bad enough. So if the truth is already sufficiently damning, then why lie? Well what the lies attempt to do, is make things seem even worse than they actually are- to demonize the other. And why the desire to demonize- what does this stem from? It all leads back to my hypothesis of what force is a major factor in all of this… hate.
Published in 2016 by Sandra Goldstein.