Monday, April 15, 2013
Long ago I ceased to be surprised at the feigned or actual naivety displayed by Israel’s critics and their assorted antisemitic fellow travellers. Is it fair to lump them together as one amorphous stain? If we see that the consequence of their behaviour results in the spread of an abomination then is there a difference between intentional silence that chooses not to ask the questions, and the apparent greater evil practiced by the racist-bigot who by their choice embraces the path of anti-Zionist/anti-Jewish hate?
I have a cousin. He is a Mensa – that is to say that he scores in the top 98% of a standardised IQ test. So he is very, very smart, but what does that mean? When Israel grew tired of turning the other cheek and responded to attacks by Lebanese militias in the 1970’s he informed me, with smug superiority, that the conflict would be easily solved if Israel ceded “a couple of miles” of its territory in the north of Israel, to Lebanon. This unprecedented generosity would solve all territorial disputes. I gently explained to him that the State of Israel was four miles wide at its narrowest point (at the Lebanese-Syrian-Israeli border). In fact I was wrong. It is three miles (five kilometres) wide at the narrowest point. The idea was entirely impractical because rather than resolving anything, it would have encouraged greater bellicosity and aggression by the Arab world.
He ignored my response. Those with ‘greater intelligence’ often possess the knowledge to solve all conflicts if only we will listen to them. Intentional ignorance protects them from counter-factual arguments that may complicate their uncomplicated self-image. Violence or intimidation – either intellectual or physical precludes even limited discussion and is a necessary part of the arsenal of the activist which discourages even the superficially fair minded from acknowledging the duality of conflict.
I recently read an analysis by the Australian anti American journalist John Pilger. He thoroughly rubbished the idea that Western society has a right to preserve its cultural identity. In particular he objected to any measures that were taken against imported bigotry - particularly where it harms his multicultural ideal.
We are afraid to acknowledge the dynamic mutuality of reciprocity that strengthens as well as demeans humanity. By example, if cultural integrity means that we respect the full body cover of the niqab and the hijab, (the head to foot covering that completely conceals the Muslim woman and is worn once the female reaches puberty) then equally, in a Western nation a woman must have the right to walk naked any where she wishes to do so, because that is her right to express her freedom of action in any way she feels it suitable. But both actions demean the female sex and neither is a pre-requisite of our society. A woman must have the right to (un)dress as she feels appropriate, without being held hostage to the lack of masculine self-control or the benighted ethical values that characterised the caveman and is certainly, not the hallmark of a society that labels itself as ‘civilised’.
In the Muslim world, women and minorities are inferior, either through religious custom or legal statute. If, in the Western world, women and minorities have equal rights it is because our society acknowledges equality and legislates to ensure that we all adhere to current law, and not because it is a normal state of affairs.
The intelligent idiot applies one standard to the majority and another to the minority. Worse still, he or she places ‘the Jew’ in the category of being a member of the majority and thus excludes them from the protection offered to the minority. As a member of the majority, numeric superiority and custom provides automatic protection from the worst excesses of the minority. But being categorised as part of a group does not vouchsafe acceptance by the group. They exclude Jews from that group as well, thus isolating them from both.
The intelligent idiot has no time for Jewish rights and that means he or she has no time for Jewish equality. He or she has no time to examine the nature of racism or religious bigotry and therefore Jewish self-determination is an unnecessary impediment to the noble (Arab or Muslim) savage practising their right to self-expression even though it is at the extreme expense of Jewish and other minorities. This indifference, just in one example, has facilitated the Syrian orgy of blood-letting over the last two years.
“Peace, according to the great seventeenth century philosopher Baruch Spinoza, is not merely the absence of war but rather a state of mind: a disposition to benevolence, consideration and justice.” (Palestine Betrayed. Ephraim Karsh)
Our antagonists do not want peace with us, they want it without us. If boycotts are part of their arsenal then they must also be part of ours. Our tactical armoury must equal the wealth of resources employed by them, against us. If we cannot reason with them, then as they attempt to isolate us, they themselves must be isolated.
We can win this war but it will be a long, drawn out conflict which will demand of us eternal vigilance. “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer