Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Comment Trail:

@ Bob: A Shylock moment"

One of the topics was Eric Lee's "Shylock moment", described here. He is talking about speaking in support of Israel at debates like this one in my neighbourhood.

“The questioner will speak softly. Their face will show real concern, even pain. And what you’ll hear is not an accusation, but a real question, because the person is genuinely confused. They will say something like this: “I’ve been watching the scenes from Gaza on TV. I’ve seen small children standing in front of the ruins of their homes. I’ve seen parents weeping over the loss of their children. And I can’t understand how you can see all this and still support Israel.”
Noga, who blogs here, wrote this long comment, which I thought deserved some space of its own:
This is what Eric Lee calls “the Shylock moment”. An impossibility to break through an impenetrable barrier.. A moment when he suddenly realizes that it’s not his politics that are being questioned but his very humanity. According to Lee, he succumbs to it. He pleads for recognition of his humanity.

From whom?

Shylock’s words are probably the most famous speech in the Merchant of Venice. But we tend to overlook the situation in which it is made. In the play, Shylock addresses them to Salanio and Salarino, two very minor characters who were accessories to Jessica's elopement. They mock Shylock, ridiculing him for speaking of his daughter as his "flesh and blood". Jessica, they say, is no more like Shylock than ivory is to jet, or Rhenish wine is to red wine. Jessica had renounced her ancestral home, robbed her own father and married one of his enemy’s most loyal friends. That is what makes Jessica human in Salanio and Salarino’s eyes. Her only path to human respectability. Only by these acts of betrayal did she reinstate her claim to humanity, according to these two.

It’s a humiliating scene.

We should not allow people to abdicate their elementary responsibility to question their own premises, their own knowledge, and their own ethics. These people should be challenged as to why they think like they do, why their pity is so exclusive, lopsided, so uni-directional, so devoid of genuine understanding and human compassion.

These people must be forced to confront the question of why they are so impervious to the pro-Israel arguments and facts.

My husband calls it “the coffee machine syndrome'”. It has to do with the story of an automatic coffee machine which he had bought for me a few years ago. It suddenly stopped working, the display instructing me to: “check water level”. As if there was not enough water in the water tank. The only problem was, the tank was full to brim. It was the sensor that failed. And the malfunctioning sensor prevented the machine from producing my espresso. The faulty sensor acted as the ultimate arbiter in this matter and the machine, quite healthy in all other respects, obeyed its decree. There was no built-in manual alternative to the sensor. So the ruling of the sensor could not be circumvented. I could see the water level, and knew the problem was in the sensor, but I could not communicate this to the machine. So the damn machine refused to prepare the coffee.

Presumably, the person who asked Lee a question that seemed to distrust Lee’s very humanity is in the same spot as my coffee-making machine. His trust in the sensor to relay the information is so complete, that he never so much as considers the possibility that the problem might not lie with the actual level of the water. In other words, the asker completely forgets his own responsibility, independently- thinking agency and, yes, his own humanity, implicit in which are vulnerability, proneness to misjudge, and a keenness to believe the worst about others, that is, to believe sensors even when they are so obviously malfunctioning.

@ Poli-Gazette: Michelle Obama for President?

@ Poli-Gazette: The wrong direction

@ Z-word blog: Livingstone formulation, Spanish style

@ The Spine: What is the impediment?

@ The Plank: Quote of the day


At 1:03 PM EDT, Anonymous nwo said...

I think we may also detect here an attempt to distinguish good and acceptable Jews, who oppose the policies of their state, from the nasty and repugnant ones who endorse them. --- Livingtone Formulation...Z Word Blog

Seems to me that this formulation is used the world over in every country or political division. Leftwingers good, Conservatives evil and repugnant.

At 1:25 PM EDT, Anonymous nwo said...

Obama's rhetoric leaves much to be desired.

Its clear that he holds the Israelis to a higher standard than the Palestinians.

This same bigotry or distorted ethical framework or moral equivalence, is to be found on the Left often....it was so with the Soviets and the US.

The US was at fault for driving the Soviets in the Arms Race and conflicts around the world. US nukes in Europe(Reagan) provoked the Soviets, not the Soviets who had massive numbers of their battle ready troops training for invasion of Western Europe in Eastern Europe for 30 years.

This is how the Left opperates. Get used to it. At some point you just accept that you will be contiously villified and discriminated against in this manner....and you realize who is your real enemy....the 5th column, the enemy within, the Western Left. Yeah, its legal to discriminate against Christians, whites, and males all through the West...but we're well armed in the US and ready to defend our rights and freedom from the Leftist totalitarian wanna bes.

At 8:32 PM EDT, Anonymous nwo said...

Good Times!

With allies like this, who needs enemies?

Couldnt Spanish human rights concerns be better aimed?

Spain Investigates What America Should

Monday 06 April 2009

by: Marjorie Cohn | Visit article original @ The San Francisco Chronicle

Six former Bush administration officials are being investigated by Spain for their role in authorizing torture at Guantanamo. (Photo: AP)

A Spanish court has initiated criminal proceedings against six former officials of the Bush administration. John Yoo, Jay Bybee, David Addington, Alberto Gonzales, William Haynes and Douglas Feith may face charges in Spain for authorizing torture at Guantánamo Bay.

If arrest warrants are issued, Spain and any of the other 24 countries that are parties to European extradition conventions could arrest these six men when they travel abroad.


At 8:43 PM EDT, Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...



At 11:49 PM EDT, Anonymous nwo said...

What do you think about Obama on his recent trip?

Seems he had his hat in in hand and didnt get much. Although he is just setting the stage...I suppose. I sure didnt like his American bashing and excusing American bashing as justified.

I think the world smells weakness.

Zbig seems very positive about Obama and foreign policy going forward, and Kissinger seems more skeptical about the future and Obama, but not real negative on Obama's trip. See Charlie Rose April 6 2008.

What say you?

At 4:32 PM EDT, Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

You might want to alert your nemesis on Castaways to the fact that she either cannot read or that she lies when she claims that she has read a certain New Yorker piece by Seymour Hersh. Had she read the article properly, she would not have made that appallingly ignorant and plainly stupid allegation. Also none of the others could have read the article, as they pretended, if they did not cotton on to her gigantic mistake.

Your pub offers endless moments of unalloyed amusement, if one is interested in the human folly and what not. The quarrels about age are quite priceless.


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