Friday, September 20, 2013

A Response to Richard Morris

Mike L.

I don't think that Mr. Richard Morris is very happy with the Jewish state or with me, to be perfectly honest.

I recently wrote a piece entitled, Nicole Bernstein Hands Out Friendship and Hope, which I published at a number of places including Free News of the World.

In the comments, Mr. Morris wrote this:
It is extraordinary..... (no it isn't ,it's normal) that you can write about the Middle East... about Israel without one single mention of the people you occupy and subjugate and whose lands and water you have stolen. Do you know anything of history of the Holocaust... of the millions of Jews who died in vain for people like you to condemn the Palestinians to a lifetime of loss. Where is your humanity where is any attempt to SEE The OTHER ?
Shame on you
If you have any interest in learning about the Middle East read my blog at wallsofdespair.
My guess is you won't have the guts to face the truth
Truth will make you free but you have left it late to imbibe that fact
Richard Morris
Writer and Performer of Bitter Fruit Of Palestine on YouTube and
This is my response:
Richard, I do thank you for your input because it is important. 
You have a point of view that is prominent and that very much needs to be addressed. 
You claim that I am occupying and subjugating and stealing from others, although I am sure that you mean that it's not me, specifically, but just the Jews of the Middle East, or perhaps just the Israelis or even, perhaps, just the Zionists.  Or, perhaps, you think that from my perch, half a world away in the Oakland hills, that I am guilty. 
What I would ask for you to understand is that the Jews of the Middle East have been subject to 14 centuries of persecution by the great Arab-Muslim majority in the region. The long Arab-Muslim occupation of the Jews in the Middle East varied in intensity and hostility throughout the area. In some places it was better and in some places it was worse, but it was never better than African-Americans had it in the United States under the racist system of Jim Crow and it lasted far longer. 
As prominent historian Martin Gilbert writes in "In Ishmael's House A History of Jews in Muslim Lands" (Yale University Press, 2010): 
"There could be no building of new synagogues or churches. Dhimmis could not ride horses, but only donkeys; they could not employ a Muslim. Jews and Christians alike had to wear special hats, cloaks and shoes to mark them out from Muslims... A dhimmi could not - and cannot to this day - serve in a Muslim court as witness in a legal case involving a Muslim... men could enter public bathhouses only when they wore a special sign around their neck distinguishing them from Muslims... Sexual relations with a Muslim woman were forbidden, as was cursing the Prophet in public - an offense punishable by death." (pgs. 32 - 33) 
So, essentially, what you are telling me is that in your opinion I have insufficient sympathy for the oppressors of my own people. 
I disagree. 
The truth of the matter is that the Jewish people in the Middle East, and throughout the diaspora, have been very sympathetic to their Arab-Muslim oppressors.   
In fact, I would argue that the Jewish people have been so sympathetic to our own oppressors that we've incorporated major parts of their a-historical narrative into our own understanding of the conflict. 
The cause of the ongoing war against us is not the tiny Jewish minority, who want nothing more than to live in peace and create computer software and send Natalie Portmans out into the world. The cause of the conflict is Qur'an-based bigotry toward us.  We earned that 14 centuries-long enmity not by coming home, but by refusing to give up our religion to Mr. Mohhamed. 
Many people think that the Jews are to blame for this conflict - which is to say that the small minority of victims are to blame - but as a liberal I cannot agree with that view. The Jewish people have lived in that part of the world for millennia. 3,500 years? 4,500 years? No one really knows, but our presence on that land well predates the academic field of history. We were conquered by the Romans shortly after the murder of Jesus and then, centuries after that, conquered by the Muslims when they came out of Saudi Peninsula in the 7th century. When we finally freed ourselves from the boot of Arab-Muslim imperialism, after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, they have waged continual war against us that continues to this day and they do so for religious reasons. 
Within living memory of the Holocaust - in which I lost my father's side of the family during Operation Barbarossa in the Ukraine - you are telling me that I am a bad man for standing up for my own people?  
A tiny persecuted minority on our own land? 
This is entirely unjust and I will not go along with it.


  1. "won't have the guts to face the truth,"

    oh look a ten year old narcissistic antisemite. How cute.

  2. Yup.

    This is a matter of Civil Rights for the Jewish People.

    In the United States we fought so long for the civil liberties of others because we thought, as liberals, the movement would help all of us.

    It hasn't.

    What we need to do now, as you certainly well know, is stand up for our own civil liberties.

    The Jews have human rights, too, and we need to stand up for those rights, for that basic dignity.

    The time has come.

  3. "the hate for Israel is all out of proportion to its actual size."

    Which is why I and others ascribe it to antisemitism. "They," can pooh pooh that all they want but if one waits long enough, the antisemitism comes out in every single one of these antizionist/antiIsrael clock work.

  4. Ah, the good ole' "they / youze, of all people" canard. Someone should direct Mr. Morris to Chad Newkey-Burden's (sp?) perfect response to that from last year.

    I'll come back and link to it when I get home to my computer. Enjoying a (fantastic!) Yards Pynk (raspberry and sour cherry ale) at a bar in the 'hood at the moment. ;)

    1. Here it is.

      "As one who advocates formally and informally for Israel, I have heard the full gamut of misconceptions and slanders that are aired by those opposed to the Jewish state. Over time, my skin has thickened; people can throw whatever baloney they want my way.

      Except… there is still one anti-Israel argument that makes my jaw drop. And it is one that is made with unfortunate frequency. It is the “they-of-all-people” argument: the suggestion that the Jews, having faced extraordinary persecution, should know better than anyone not to be oppressors.

      Put aside for a moment that the “oppression” which proponents of this argument are accusing Israel of committing is usually imaginary. When directed by gentiles towards Jews, the “they-of-all-people” argument is in its very essence so fundamentally ill-judged and unjust, and voiced with such a breathtaking lack of self-awareness, that my spirit flags when I hear it.

      Where to begin in response? The heroic Howard Jacobson made a fine start when he proposed that “they of all people” is the natural successor of Holocaust denial. He wrote that the argument leaves the Jewish people doubly damned: to the Holocaust itself and to elevated moral scrutiny as a result of it.

      More at the link.

  5. This is a good entry and the type that are most persuasive, although this person will be convinced by nothing, not even that he supports the subjugaters.

  6. Quite right.

    The rise of Palestinian-Arab nationalism, along with the rise of political Islam, had close ties to Nazi Germany.

    And, yet, somehow, both movements are allied with the EU.

    {Shocking, I know.}