Friday, January 01, 2010

A Stroll in the Arab street

I.

@ Dubai Jazz: The blogger expresses an admiration for a Holocaust survivor which is an interesting turn of sentiment, considering his previous record: here or here.

I left the following comments:

here :

"While it is true that Epstein lost family in the camps (she mysteriously has photos that she cannot account for as to who took them, it would be interesting to find out if they are even genuine, but let's say they are), she nevertheless spent the war in safety in England as a child. Calling oneself "a Holocaust survivor" connotes images of someone who was in the camps him or herself, starved, beaten and ultimately facing a gas chamber. Ms. Epstein was none of these.

The International Solidarity Movement that employs and sends Ms. Epstein around has only one goal: To send a message that "See? The Jews have no right to a Jewish homeland. We can parade around a Jew who will agree with our aims and mitigate everything we say and do." She’s a world traveler, staying in nice hotels, putting out the ISM party line and getting paid for it. Nice work if you can get it."

http://simplyjews.blogspot.com/2009/12/santa-galloway-not-thirsty-in-desert.html


And here:


"LOL @ Contentious Centrist suggesting that a woman as great as Hedy can be discredited just because she managed to survive the camps."

Well, let me explain it to you a little more simply: my father in law's family was exterminated in Auschwitz. He managed not to be exterminated because he was a prisoner of war in Italy. He managed to survive wandering the Italian countryside, being hidden in monasteries and due to the goodness of the Italian people. When he returned to Salonika at the end of the war, he found out that his entire family, save one sister, perished in the Holocaust. He is not considered a Holocaust survivor because he was not in the camps.

Your hero Hedy Epstein had it much easier than he did during the war years. Her family perished in the camps. She was transferred to Britain where she spent the war years, like all British children did. So, she is not a Holocaust survivor. Because she did not survive the camps. She survived the war. And in much better conditions that my father in law, and thousands of others, did.

What baffles me is how eager you are to allocate this "saintly' label to a Jewish woman while in all other instances, when you speak of the Holocaust, you speak dismissively with an attempt to belittle this genocide and its meaning for Jews and humanity.

As you did here, for example:

http://dubai-jazz.blogspot.com/2009/04/dubai-jazz-marks-holocaust-remembrance.html


Or when you make your blog a platform from which to publish the work of a Holocaust-denying cartoonist.

Admiring a Holocaust survivor, then, seems to be a very dubious choice for someone like you, a self-serving propaganda which has nothing to do with any feeling you might have for historical accuracy or justice. Whatever is offered to demonize Israel, you are an eager buyer.

You are also a coward who cannot really counter argument and facts with counter-arguments and facts. All you can do is to offer this mono-maniacal laughter by way of response. People with brains and some discernment realize this very simple truth.

And here (comment #8):

I will say it again, Dubai Jazz, that you have a very poor grasp of history, recordable truth, and plain common sense.

I notice that you do not quibble with anything I wrote in my comment. It seems you have nothing to say for yourself or on behalf of this old lady except hurl curses and insults which are completely irrelevant. In response to facts and substance you indulge in a tantrum, and generate as much noise as possible, but very little meaningful signal.

Your inability to deal with facts and definitions and your tangible ignorance of historical accuracy serve "cheap Zionist propagandists" as nothing else does. All they need to do is simply to quote you and like-minded posters in order to show the futility of attempting a reasonable conversation with you people... :)

_____________

II
.

Some
of my readers may wonder why I bother reading these blogs in the Arab blogosphere, why I keep the record of my visits there and the exchanges that takes place following my comments. I look upon my blog quite literally as a web log, that is, a combination of the two meanings of "log": a written record of messages sent and received and a written record of events on a voyage of reconnaissance. I want to acquaint myself with the dominant narratives in different places in the world, and what gets merchandised and disseminated in the "Arab street" is one such cyberspace region in which I have an interest.

Why the interest?

Because:

A:

Jews are caught up in a perfect storm: In Western societies, real danger to Jews no longer comes from Christian hatred of Judaism or from Nazi-like animus against our "race"; it comes instead from a hatred of the Jewish state and its Jewish supporters. That this animus comes mostly from the ideological left, with which a majority of Jews identify, is painful and confusing to many.

At the same time, blowing in from the Muslim world is a different sort of anti-Semitism, one which combines modern anti-Zionist themes with primordial Islamic theological hatred. Jew-hatred now drives countless masses around the globe. Imbibing this poison, Muslim radicals have attacked and murdered Jewish people from Israel to Europe, from India to Seattle.

Islamic hatred has indeed come to America. In 1999, Sufi Sheikh Hisham Kabanni, head of the Supreme Islamic Council, testified to the State Department that 80 percent of American mosques are in the hands of radicals. A study by Freedom House, a Washington, D.C. policy center, found Saudi-produced anti-Semitic literature in Islamic Centers around the country. "Close Guantanamo, Re-open Auschwitz" has been shouted by Muslims at anti-Israel demonstrations in Fort Lauderdale and posted on Boston based Muslim Web sites.


And B:

The Palestinian issue remains a core unsolved problem of the Arab period under colonial control. I do not see Zionism as a colonial movement but I do see that the Arabs not only consider the Palestinian question as the most prominent and important remaining vestige of colonialism but that they also blame Zionism as the core of what helped to create a smooth transition between British colonial policy and the American search for a dominant role in the region.

Mr. Rosner, many writers on the Middle East want to de-emphasize the Palestinian question in order to deflect any major responsibility for its solution to Israel. The uniqueness of the Palestinian question is the way that it consistently retains its emotional significance for the Arab masses. The Arab satellite media have chosen to become the televisor of incidents of violence against Palestinians and of the restriction on their freedom of movement. These news clips are repeated incessantly. This immersion of Arab satellite television in imaging Palestinian suffering in almost every newscast puts this issue on the popular mind again and again so that popular consciousness becomes a burden on the regimes.

Public opinions in Middle East countries hold their own regimes responsible for the suffering they see by blaming their own regimes for weakness and for maintaining a strong relationship with the United States even while the U.S. supports Israel and is the essential basis of Israeli continued military control over Palestinian life and military occupation of Palestinian land. In this way, the Palestinian issue not only maintains the conflict between the Arabs and Israel but also exacerbates tensions between the U.S. and virtually every Arab country.

So I try to find out for myself just how entrenched are these trends and positions by monitoring a few of the English-written Arab blogs which I encountered on my Internet travels and marking a trail of my voyage.

Clearly, my experience is very limited and anecdotal, but so far I have not encountered any position which challenges the analyses made in the two excerpts I quoted above.

This
comment placed following an article in the National Post about Toronto’s Reviving the Islamic Spirit convention sums up nicely both the cognitive dissonance and the almost schizoid distortion in the perception of reality that are symptomatic of the kind of opinions I met in the Arab blogs:

it saddens me to read such a baseless, garbage comments posted on such a respected news paper by bunch of misguided, hate mongers. As a proud Canadian Muslim I have so much respect for Christianity and Judaism. It would be unfair for me to suggest blood thirsty leaders such as Bush, tony Blair, Hitler, and war criminal Israeli leaders action represents Christianity or Judaism.

The stroll continues...

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