Friday, February 15, 2013

Ignorance of the Well-Intentioned

by oldschooltwentysix

The following video, entitled "HAMAS," popped up on my radar not so very long ago, thanks to StandWithUs. It was made after the defensive action by Israel in November, 2012, to stop the rockets indiscriminately shot from Gaza at Israel's civilians, a war crime expressly forbidden by the Geneva Convention and Protocols.  

The video reverberated with me for several reasons. As one who follows current events, particularly the Arab-Israeli conflict, and observes discussion and comments on the internet and in gatherings of well-intentioned people, it is striking to recognize how much is grounded in ignorance. This does not mean that these people are ignorant per se, but that the information possessed about history and facts is fragmented, skewed and inaccurate. This leads them to adopt positions that are suspect and may not conform to their underlying principles.

For many, it is hard to see because in their circles, like most circles, people seek out the conventional views they agree with and generally hear little of what differs, or they dismiss what differs without ever listening. One need only look at Washington, DC to see where it is leading us. It's something called the Mutz paradox and it should be a lesson to all that deliberative democracy needs diversity of opinion to work best.

I hope you watch the video, especially if you are a progressive that supports human rights for ALL peoples and individuals. Perhaps the questions asked in the video will sound familiar. Will the answers reveal anything? Just how much do you really know about the conflict, the events, the players and their intentions?

In morality and law, is confronting aggression the same as engaging in it? Is it so hard to make the distinction?

Are calls for genocide illegal? Who are the victims of these calls? Are they entitled to support and even protection? Imagine if someone wanted to exterminate you and your loved ones and so many just shrugged it off as the Hatfields and McCoys.

The bottom line is that there actually is a difference, but for too many it just does not matter, due to ignorance that permits a bias to form, one which seems to blur the ability to discern which side of the human rights debate one is on.

(cross-posted at oldschooltwentysix)


  1. Palestinian Authority (Fatah-PLO) TV:

    "Zion is a Satan with a tail" - girl on PA TV recites Egyptian poem

    Jews are "the descendants of the Devil," says Muslim Brotherhood cleric on PA TV

    PA Mufti of Jerusalem "The Muslims Will Kill the Jews before Judgment Day"

    PA Sermon in the West Bank: "Every Evil and Catastrophe" in the Whole World "Is Caused by the Jews"

    EU-funded NGO for youth honors terrorist murderers on PA TV

    Suicide terrorists are "greatest role models," says EU-funded NGO for youth

    PA leaders applaud kids singing "I shall saturate you with my blood, redeem you with my life"

    PA Mufti says "There never was a Temple... for the Jews" on PA TV News

    Moses was a Muslim who led Palestinian Muslims out of Egypt and liberated Palestine


    The attitude toward Jews in "Palestinian" Arab media and culture, and the attitude toward Arabs in Israeli media and in Israeli Jewish culture:

    Why is there no peace in the Middle East?


    Fatah Official Admits: Wiping Out Israel Is the Main Goal, September 23, 2011


    Editor in Chief of Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, confidant of Yasser Arafat:

    Arafat Signed Oslo Accords As Trojan Horse


    Yasser Arafat denounces the Oslo accords, Johannesburgh, May 10, 1994

    Arafat compares Oslo Accords to Muhammad's temporary peace agreement, 1995


    Mahmud Abbas (author of the PLO 'Phased Plan') about his vision of Israel, Ramallah, August 27, 2011

    The PLO Phased Plan


    Haj Amin al-Husseini (The "Grand Mufti" of Jerusalem) -- The founder of the 'Palestinian movement' and the originator of Fatah:

    The Association between Naziism and Arab Antisemitism

  2. Why is there this outrageous ignorance (this outrageous bigotry -- this outrageous "willful ignorance") among Westerners -- so-called "progressive", and so-called "liberal", Westerners?



    "Invisible Antisemitism

    "...Is it familiarity or indifference that produces invisibility? In the case of antisemitism it may be both. One of the reasons why people today reject the charge of antisemitism is because, as mentioned, it is largely defined by Auschwitz in the Western imagination. If one is not prepared to physically attack or attempt to harm Jews one can safely remain aloof to the charge of antisemitism. In Western culture, the beliefs many people still hold about ‘the Jews’ are not seen to be antisemitic (read genocidal) but are simply felt to be reflective of day-to-day reality. In other words, what some of us identify as antisemitic ways of thinking most people see as simply reflective of a reality in which Jews are in fact wealthy, in fact powerful, in fact connected to one another, and in fact work together (or conspire) to protect their own communal and individual interests, which today include the fate of the State of Israel. Again, this is not new but fully consistent with classical forms of European antisemitism, in which antisemites point to 'reality' to illustrate Jewish power, conspiracy, materialism, criminality, or whatever negative association they want to affix to 'the Jews.' And the 'reality' they find then reconfirms their pre-existing antisemitism, as it does today. After almost 2000 years of indoctrination, which has worked very hard to fix the Western imagination—and our individual attention—upon this abstract collective called 'the Jews,' we should not be surprised to discover that Western culture is riddled with antisemitic perceptions and habits of thought about the Jewish People. And this complex invisible reality has not been exorcised by the Holocaust. Negative beliefs and attitudes about Jews are so normal and so ingrained in Western perceptions and attitudes that people—both gentiles and Jews—are simply unable to recognize them for what they are. Like a second skin, antisemitic thinking has become invisible to most people...."

    -- Western Culture, the Holocaust, and the Persistence of Antisemitism, Introduction YIISA Seminar, Yale University, 5 March 2009 Dr. Catherine Chatterley University of Winnipeg (Canada), Department of History

    Video of the Talk (Streaming Video (RealMedia)):
    Direct Link to streaming video file: rtsp://,554

    Discussion Draft of the talk:

    YIISA (Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism) was founded in 2006 and was was shut down in 2011. It was shut down in accordance with, and as part of, the anti-Jewish bigotry that is discussed in this talk by Catherine Chatterley.

    Antisemitism in America - Yale Kills YIISA, by Clemens Heni


  3. Not looking to point fingers, but for people to open and expand their knowledge so they might become more clear about the stakes involved.

  4. Thank you Daniel for your VERY extensive list of links.

    I haven't watched this but the title shows how ignorant they are. It's mind blowing

    "Moses was a Muslim who led Palestinian Muslims out of Egypt and liberated Palestine"

  5. By the time that you read this that video will be on the sidebar.

    Thank you, School.

    1. I would change the caption to the title of the post. Or "Do you really believe it's the same?" Or something to that effect.

  6. Right on.

    Good post.

    We have absolutely got to stop giving non-Jews the impression that the Arabs of the Middle East have every right to murder us because they are fighting for the "national liberation of the Palestinian people."

    Whenever we talk about "Occupation" with a capital "O" we've already told them that they have every right to launch rockets at the Jews of Israel.

    The aggression against the Jews in that part of the world has been ongoing for 14 centuries. I sometimes refer to the "long Arab war against the Jews of the Middle East" which is a concept that, unbeknownst to myself, I share with Harvard Professor of Yiddish Studies and Literature, Ruth Wisse.

    The Jews did not start this fight and we've never wanted it, but it is embedded in the Koran and we are outnumbered by a factor of 60 or 70 in that part of the world.

    And, yet, as a matter of "social justice" and "human rights" Europeans think that we continue to deserve a good ass-kicking.

    It is immoral. It is wrong. And we have got to stand up against this.

    Instead our tendency is to gaze into the Jewish navel and wonder about how we've wronged the people who continue to blow us up in the Jewish city of Jerusalem.

    1. As the video shows, the words of the Jew haters help reveal them. Most of the well-intentioned have little clue, and need awareness so they can choose which side they favor.

    2. Hate to quibble, but what about: "The fallacy of moral equivalencies."

    3. Laurie is out of town, so OK.