Sunday, May 19, 2013
Hatred and 'Context'
In a Jewish Chronicle article of 5th April 2013 I was stunned by a title (“Hatred that needs no ‘context’”) because by including a single word (‘that’) in the title, it created an ethical minefield which I am certain, was not the intent of the author, Geoffrey Alderman.
Hatred is an emotional response, not logical; it is based on feelings and fears, on negative experiences and learned behaviors. We can hate poverty and pollution but even that is a learned response to external stimuli. When applied to human beings or illogically, to nations, it runs counter to our Judeo-Christian ethical base-line of how we should react to others. Nazi Germany felt it necessary to create a Nazi Church because in theological terms there was a basic incompatibility between Nazism and Christianity. In the old Soviet empire communism simple banned the teaching of Judaism as it discouraged the teaching of other faiths.
Surely in the 21st Century we should all understand that hatred is no more than an excuse for intemperance by the weak, the damaged, or the simple-minded and that while we are all of us born ‘empty vessels’ we are all given choices of what we may place in those vessels.
As a Jewish child, growing up in the generation following the Shoah I naively believed that one who had suffered must be pure of heart and that by extension, all of us who grew up in the shadow of the Second World War should be similarly touched by virtue. It was a bit of a shock to be woken from my reverie.
To expect someone else's ideal of virtue to be lived by those who have experienced pain or by those who live in existential dread is to have no understanding of human relationships, no empathy at all. It is simply racism concealed as faux concern. Suffering is fear. We rarely fight back but given the opportunity (and of greater importance) the means to resist, we should fight back.
I only understood this when someone with whom I became acquainted expressed hatred against another group. I was repelled by her. I did not understand how she could feel, let alone express such terrible emotions.
She had been gang raped.
I could not hate as she did, but it humanized her. She was a Jewish bigot. I still find that juxtaposition of two words uncomfortable to express. But hatred can have roots, whether imagined or real, mythological or by a concerted act of creation, determined by a sick mind.
My history should make me bitter and hateful but my religion makes me uneasy and even outraged by prejudice. But being human I cannot deny the fact that it is a very human fault. As emotional entities we are all subject to its battering of our fragile psyches.
It is why the medium of electronic communication has become the battleground in the Israeli-Arab, Muslim-Jewish conflict over Israel-Palestine.
Prejudice serves to preclude debate by making the crime of simply being, so egregious as to refute the opportunity for discussion. It is why the walk-out by British Member of Parliament, George Galloway was so hateful. It demonstrated that the founding member of Britain’s “Respect” Party was a fascist, no more than a propagandist for antisemitism. It is rumored that he is also a Muslim. If this is true it shamed his identity on all levels: as a coward, as a fascist politician and as a religious bigot.
I do not say that the State of Israel can do no wrong. But any crimes it has committed in its pursuit of survival in the Arab ocean are no more than its imperfect quest for national independence while in the presence of a cornucopia of hate drenched Islamist opposition. Its failure is in its inability to confront this maelstrom of hatred. Israel remains in the toddler stage of its independence. The Arab and Muslim world still refuses to accept its legitimacy and this is inevitable. The former created Islam as a vehicle for conquest, their failure to decisively overcome any opposition denies the authenticity of their endeavor. And the internal conflict within Israel is the essence of a democratic society and is intrinsic to the creation of an identity its enemies are desperate to obliterate.
Nations are like people. If we are hurt, how long does it take to forgive the crimes against us? How long before we can trust our adversary or our enemy? We, as a people have been persecuted by Islam for 1,400 years and that is a long time to suffer, at the very least ridicule, occasionally torture and worse, death, in the name of Muhammad or his god, Allah. It is without an iota of relevance that the transgressions we have endured as proof of Muslim superiority are a violation of Muslim behavior. How many generations must pass before the Islamic world is even capable of accepting our theoretical equality?
“It is easier to run against a threat than it is to articulate a vision of where we should be headed and how to get there” David Rothkopf (Foreign Policy May/June 2012)
Oppositional defiance dressed up in the Geo-political / quasi scientific psycho-babble of ‘misunderstood signals’ and ‘failed opportunities’ cannot equate to an acceptable excuse in the 21st Century. Fourteen hundred years of Jew bating (and everyone else bating) by a monolithic Muslim people may have created an (almost) genetic if not instinctual antipathy towards the rights of the ‘other’ but it explains intolerance, bigotry and racial hatred, it does not excuse it.
The crescendo of conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic pronouncements excreted from the bowels of the Liberal-Left and Muslim world do not and cannot contribute toward peace or co-existence and those people who think that it is always darkest, moments before the light are deluded in their assumption of benevolent tyranny. Hate is a drug and cannot be cured by giving way to it.
A culture of hate and incitement has always been part of Arab – Muslim society; it has been a central feature of the European churches as well.
When Britain’s own minister for the Middle East, Mr Alistair Burt contextualized hatred in February this year, he was committing a crime against humanity.
According to Professor Alderman, Alistair Burt, the British government minister “urged his audience several times (seven by my reckoning) to be mindful of ‘the context’ in which such hate-speech was aired.” Mr Burt also stated that “to place it all in terms of the rhetoric and not to understand the wider context will not help us to get to where we need to be.”
So according to this genius, we Jews should have the right to revenge ourselves on the Muslim world for its crimes against us over the centuries, and, likewise, for Britain’s crimes against us. It sounds like someone should ask the honorable parliamentarian how, in the context of ongoing Muslim incitement; the world should react to Muslim cries of innocence?
To contextualize Judeophobic hatred or for that matter anti-Black or any other form of hatred, is always unacceptable. To understand it does not provide it with a stamp of respectability. And those that try to say it does?
They are at best ‘mistaken’ but more likely, they are spiritually tainted, corrupt or simply evil.