Sunday, April 05, 2009

Are Palestinians People?

[this started as a comment on OneCosmos, but got too long, so I pulled out. It relates to themes I explore here occasionally on personhood and dehumanization. Why I keep paying attention to OneCosmos is a cosmic mystery which will have to be addressed separately.]

Gagdad Bob regularly applies dehumanizing language to non-American nationalities as well as to leftists of all stripes. For example, here's a collection of what GB says about Palestinians, all terms quoted from his writings:
Palestinians are barbaric, primitive savages. Palestinians have "mind parasites". They are bloodthirsty and can't evolve. "The average Palestinian wants to murder every last Jewish man, woman, and child". "This is why it is such a monstrosity to exchange the Palestinian beasts of depravity -- who are "living death" -- for the dead Israeli soldiers, who are "stolen life.""
In addition, he was the annoying tic of putting quotes around "Palestinians" as if to pretend that that makes them unreal.

I have relatives in Israel and have lived in Israel. Israelis, whatever their political persuasion, seem to have a more realistic picture of the world then these cheerleaders from afar. For instance, here is Vladimir Jabotinsky, a leader of an early far-right Zionist faction that later grew into the Likud party:
There can be no discussion of voluntary reconciliation between us and the Arabs, not now, and not in the foreseeable future. ... Each of you has some general understanding of the history of colonization. Try to find even one example when the colonization of a country took place with the agreement of the native population. Such an event has never occurred....The natives will always struggle obstinately against the colonists – and it is all the same whether they are cultured or uncultured....Any native people view their country as their national home, of which they will be complete masters. They will never voluntarily allow a new master. So it is for the Arabs. Compromisers among us try to convince us that the Arabs are some kind of fools who can be tricked with hidden formulations of our basic goals. I flatly refuse to accept this view of the Palestinian Arabs...They have the precise psychology that we have. They look upon Palestine with the same instinctive love and true fervor that any Aztec looked upon his Mexico or any Sioux upon his prairie. Each people will struggle against colonizers until the last spark of hope that they can avoid the dangers of conquest and colonization is extinguished. The Palestinians will struggle in this way until there is hardly a spark of hope.
Now, I am no fan of Jabotinsky, who was essentially a Jewish fascist. However, one has to admire both his forthrightness and his willingness to see his opponents as human beings.


Michael said...

The most interesting/peculiar point about the Palestinians is the remarkable degree to which their irredentism has been encouraged by the Arab nations surrounding Israel.

I cannot recall where I read it, but I have somewhere seen the claim that there are more Palestinian immigrants permanently domiciled in the United States than there are in any of Israel's Arab neigbors. It in the interest, and appears to be the policy, of those countries to keep the Palestinians in their refugee camps. For, say, Jordan, Lebanon, or Saudi Arabia to absorb these populations, might upset the already delicate political balance in those places. On the other hand, if Palestinians remain 'displaced persons,' or become inhabitants of embattled areas like Gaza, it keeps their grievance with Israel paramount.

The rulers of the Muslim world remind me of the old joke about the dog that chases cars - what would he do if he caught one? Similarly, if Muslim forces were to drive the Jews into the sea, as they have long expressed is their wish and hope - what would the mullahs and dictators then do about the sources of popular discontent in their countries? Israel is a useful villain to distract their subjects from the actual causes of the poverty and oppression they suffer.

Mike O'Malley said...

Actually Michael some of the Islamfascists have been rather clear about what they intend to do after the destruction of Israel. They intend to annihilate all 300,000,000+ people in the USA.

Michael said...

Quite true - but not in conflict with my point.

The value of Israel to militant Muslims is immediate and great, since it is in their neighborhood and there is constant low-level conflict surrounding it. Arab rulers have not allowed, or at least not encouraged, the displaced Palestinians to settle and assimilate in their countries. Continuing to treat them as refugees has perpetuated their irredentism.

Bin Laden et al. may want to annihilate the U.S., but the people in actual charge of oil-rich Arab countries know that we're their biggest customer. The last thing they want to do is to destroy the market for what is just about the only product they have to sell.

Mike O'Malley said...

However, that presumes that the players in charge are rational people such as you and I. The Islamofacist, such as AQ and the Muslim Brotherhood, intend to replace those rational/pragmatic/corrupt Muslim leaders with hardline genocidal Islamofacists. This has occurred in Iran and Gaza and almost occurred in Saudi Arabia during the Siege of Mecca. Recall that Iran is striving to construct a nuclear weapon. Do you presume that they will not use it as a sacred incendiary? If so, why? Muslim societies are dysfunctional, fracturing and their internal hostility and resentment is escalating. The scholars at Chicago University's Fundamentalism Project were unusually clear characterizing this “Palestinian” cause as “mimetic”. Why would you not expect that the “Palestinian” or Iranian Jihadi would try to pacify and unify the Umma with a Jihadist blood sacrifice of seven million Israelis? The Young Turks unified Turkey dysfunctional and fracturing Turkey around a century ago with a Jihad-Islamic blood sacrifice of three million Armenian Christians.

Our host's and Jabotinsky allusion to the Aztecs is more meaningful than they imagine. Aztec society was unified by blood sacrifice, the land was secondary at best. In time Aztec reliance on blood sacrifice and resistance to “Colonialism” was dissipated by the intervention of the Lady of Guadalupe.

Our host's and Jabotinsky are also wrong to presume that “Palestinian Arabs...have the precise psychology that (Israeli Jews) have”. They do not. This is a fatal error just waiting to happen.