From the Jewish daily morning blessings: … thank god for not making me a Gentile; thank god for not making me a woman; thank god for not making me a narrow-minded ignorant.

Most people have never read the Quran. It is not an easy project and most people will probably never read it. So, most people making their opinions about the Quran simply by adopting a position of some authority who “knows the Quran”.

The problem is that authorities (people) who claim to “know the Quran” have extremely different perceptions of this book.

On one hand, there are the pro-Quran authorities who claim that the Quran is a book of love and peace which preach to tolerance and solidarity.

On the other hand, there are the anti-Quran authorities (which I tend to accept) who claim that the Quran is a fanatic militant paranoid book, and the direct cause to the fact that the Muslim world takes the lead in areas like women slavery and religious wars.

Simple test

I suggest a simple test: decide how much time you have at the moment. Open the Quran (English translation here) in a random place, and start reading. 5 minutes will be more than enough to understand where the wind blows.

A moderating comment

Luckily the Muslim world is not as horrible as the Quran orders it to be. Muslim people are people like any other people; so the vast majority of them find workarounds that make them able to think that they are living by this monstrous book, without losing their humanity.

Good idea but disastrous implementation.

It is a good idea because when two children are fighting, than sometimes it is the best to send each one of them to his room. After each one of them will calm down from all the bitterness and the frustration, it may be easier to make them think rationally again. It is also help to demonstrate which room belongs to which child.

Its implementation is disastrous because Israel – who is the side which is building the wall – is trying to gain some little extras on the way. Israel is doing that by pushing the borders a little bit to its own favor, and by building walls (which are officially part of the big wall) who separates between Palestinians to Palestinians, in order to “stress” the population.

* More details about the Israeli West Bank barrier can be found here

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.

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.