Semitic Anti-Semitism

February 3, 2009

“Arabs are Semitic so you can’t say I’m Anti-Semitic”

I had serious doubts if this argument deserves its own post, but as it is so commonly used*, it seems like I have no choice.

Anti-Semitism is a term that was formed to describe a racist hate against Jewish people and is still used for this aim. Arabs were not part of the equation when the term was formed; and those of them who joined the party at a later stage, joined to the side of the haters and not to the Jewish side. The term was already there, and its original exact literal meaning was already irrelevant.

Saying that a “Semitic origin person can not be Anti-Semitic” makes no more sense then saying that a woman can not get married with someone that does not own a house, or saying that it is not even possible to think about anything without summoning a council. 

The existence of narcissist misanthropes demonstrates the senselessness of this argument from another direction, but it’s really not worth the effort to explain why.

* “Arabs are Semitic” gives about 2000 results on Google. I randomly checked 20 of them, and they were all referred to anti-Semitism in its original meaning.

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Clouds of War

February 3, 2009

Another thing to keep in mind regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that it can not be “ended”. A peace is possible, but ‘peace’ is not equal to ‘ending the conflict’. There is no peaceful situation hiding underneath the war and the war is not on top of anything. “Removing” the bad part will not leave us with a healthy body.

The real thing is a super-complicate situation, which no one fully understands. This super complicate situation reached a stability that characterized, among the rest, by some level of violence. The violence is only a side-effect of deeper forces.

Focusing on the “ending the conflict” part, and ignoring the whole system, will just re-shuffle the ingredients of this explosive.

It is not about ending the conflict, it’s about changing the situation. There is a big difference.

 

As the following drawind demonstrates:

clouds-of-war

Not a Zero-Sum Game

February 3, 2009

It is very common when someone is criticizing some too-violent action of the Israeli army, that he gets in return endless speeches about how monstrous the Hamas is.

The arguments for themselves are correct: Hamas is an organization who sanctifies the death of its own members (and their families), and shoot its opponents in the wrong side of their knees. Comparing to that, the Israeli army, with all its limitations and the precautions it takes to minimize (in some level) the damage to the civil population, looks truly merciful.

If there was an evilness competition between Hamas and the Israeli army, Hamas would definitely win by knockout. But there is no such competition.

It is one of the things that sound obvious when thinking about them explicitly, but it is easy (and common) to forget in a passionate political debate:

If one side is doing wrong, it is, in no way, justifies wrong actions of the other side. There is no shared limited “immorality bank” that makes one side actions better when the other side is doing worse.

 

Comment: It should not be confused with the double-standard problem.