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 rks58
Joined: 1/28/2006
Msg: 26
I watched the Israeli / US Media videoPage 2 of 6    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
edit to above: I forgot to include this

This was a story FOX made a HUGE deal out of but pulled afterwards and has not been available in its' archives since.

They gave no explanation for pulling it but it was treated as very important by FOX at the time as it required a large investment of resources. It comprises a sample of the kind of reporting that gets "censored" when it displays a decidedly anti-Israeli slant.

I suppose that one could argue that they were simply embarrassed by it and were too "proud" to admit they went overboard but it would be the only example of that "pride" I have seen from them so far.
 arri
Joined: 10/5/2005
Msg: 27
I watched the Israeli / US Media video
Posted: 8/9/2006 4:05:55 AM

So arri, I'm taking it that you were sucked in by the film's glaring lack of context, disinformation, lack of balance, lack of documentation to back up assertations, and general omission of facts, as well as it's building up of a straw man before effectively knocking it down?


No pal. read my posts .... and feel free to go back as far as you like.

I am not some redneck that needed a video as a eye opener.
 anticon
Joined: 2/18/2006
Msg: 28
I watched the Israeli / US Media video
Posted: 8/9/2006 8:48:15 AM


"...At the top of their list of advisors is Noam Chomsky..."
"...I think they might be just a little bias. Just a little bit..."

http://www.logicalfallacies.info/personalattack.html

Ad Hominem (Personal Attack)
Explanation

It is important to note that the label “ad hominem” is ambiguous, and that not every kind of ad hominem argument is fallacious.

In one sense, an ad hominem argument is an argument in which you offer premises that you the arguer don’t accept, but which you know the listener does accept, in order to show that his position is incoherent (as in, for example, the Euthyphro dilemma). There is nothing wrong with this type of ad hominem.

The other type of ad hominem argument is a form of genetic fallacy. Arguments of this kind focus not on the evidence for a view but on the character of the person advancing it; they seek to discredit positions by discrediting those who hold them. It is always important to attack arguments, rather than arguers, and this is where ad hominems fall down.
Example

(1) William Dembski argues that modern biology supports the idea that there is an intelligent designer who created life.
(2) Dembski would say that because he’s religious.
Therefore:
(3) Modern biology doesn’t support intelligent design.

This argument rejects the view that intelligent design is supported by modern science based on a remark about the person advancing the view, not by engaging with modern biology. It ignores the argument, focusing only on the arguer; it is therefore a fallacious argument ad hominem.
 Always Smiling35
Joined: 7/1/2005
Msg: 29
I watched the Israeli / US Media video
Posted: 8/9/2006 10:07:03 AM

I am not some redneck that needed a video as a eye opener.



 jjl9067
Joined: 7/4/2006
Msg: 30
view profile
History
I watched the Israeli / US Media video
Posted: 8/9/2006 10:33:46 AM
From looking at both of these...the video and rebuttal...both viewpoints are extremely biased, and rely heavily on emotional arguments and logical fallacies, omissions, etc.

However there are grains of truth in each.

The video seems rather alarmist, and the manuscript is reactionist (as one could expect). Each presents a crystal clear argumental mud-pie.
 newguyinventura
Joined: 5/18/2006
Msg: 31
I watched the Israeli / US Media video
Posted: 8/9/2006 10:34:08 AM
If you haven't seen this stuff first hand, then you don't have a clue what your talking about. Watching a video is never good enough, and listening to US media is even worse. Sure the killing has to stop, but it will only stop when israel doesn't exist anymore.

just being real, and honest, i have nothing against muslims or israelis.
 justanormalguy68
Joined: 11/19/2005
Msg: 32
I watched the Israeli / US Media video
Posted: 8/9/2006 11:02:09 AM
I found the video quite compelling....keeping in mind it's not a commentary on the conflict, but rather American media reporting of it.

I saw a documentary a while back on CBC about how the Israel PR department works, and how it is a demonstrated tactical advantage they have over their opponents. It's real, and it's had a profound effect on what Americans - and Canadians, for that matter - see, hear, and read about the conflict.

I've always considered the BBC to be the best source of international news, from a North American perspective. I don't even bother viewing any of the major US sources anymore.
 late™
Joined: 1/9/2005
Msg: 33
I watched the Israeli / US Media video
Posted: 8/9/2006 11:44:51 AM
I found the video quite compelling....keeping in mind it's not a commentary on the conflict, but rather American media reporting of it.


It's important to point out that this is not the only source for the same info.

Also, Chomsky, and the films producer are recognized experts (Chomsky is probably the worlds leading scholar) in COMMINICATIONS and media.

That's what this film is about. And it's not alone, this is not a unique position.

The film is directed by an American-Israeli Director, Chomsky is an admited Zionist (though not a right-leaning one) who favours the two state model, and is against the occupation (illegal), and is also Jewish. There are several Israeli Rabbis, An IDF Major, Israeli citizens, ....yes, they ARE biased.

Obviously they do not think the status quo is good for Israel, neither do I, it certainly sucks for the Palestinians and Lebanese, I can see that too.

The rebuttal (notice it's not a critique) is from a source that is affiliated with AIPAC, ...one of the leading players in the scam.

Ignore the film for a second, ...Google "AIPAC".

I trust Israeli news sources more than American ones, and maybe even some British and Canadian ones.

There is more balance in the reportage in Israel, than there is in the US.

Just go to the Haaretz website, at least there BOTH sides have a voice.

Follow the money, ....it doesn't lead to Israel, Canada, Europe, or the UK.

Protect the investment, ....it's not the mainstream Israelis doing this.

Look who's being bought and sold, and where, and why.


I've always considered the BBC to be the best source of international news, from a North American perspective. I don't even bother viewing any of the major US sources anymore.


The story of this film is well known at the BBC:

http://www.gla.ac.uk/departments/sociology/units/media/israel.htm

You think the film is bogus?

Check around, ignore the film, ....and see what you find.

This isn't about any war, it's about manipulating the truth.
 redfishbluefish
Joined: 12/22/2005
Msg: 34
I watched the Israeli / US Media video
Posted: 8/9/2006 7:34:55 PM

I've always considered the BBC to be the best source of international news, from a North American perspective. I don't even bother viewing any of the major US sources anymore.


Then you might want to check out this link.

http://www.bbcwatch.co.uk/index.html

It has been known for quite some time that the BBC is not unbiased.
 rks58
Joined: 1/28/2006
Msg: 35
I watched the Israeli / US Media video
Posted: 8/9/2006 8:10:57 PM

Then you might want to check out this link.

http://www.bbcwatch.co.uk/index.html

It has been known for quite some time that the BBC is not unbiased.


You're going to have to do better than that.

Trevor Asserson?

You mean the once British lawyer now practicing in Israel with connections to JCPA (the Israeli one) which has taken as it mission efforts on hasbara (the term used by Israel and by independent groups to describe their efforts to explain Israeli government policies, and to promote Israel to the world at large) activities, which it describes as "the need to present Israel's case in the wake of the renewed Palestinian violence" and "the return of anti-Semitism in the post-Holocaust period"?

The same JCPA that states it has "developed and implemented an array of cutting-edge programs to present Israel's case to the world."?

Funny how you will find ZERO commentary by Asserson or JCPA criticizing any pro-Israeli contents or calling for a balanced view of BOTH sides, just pro-Israeli spin and complaints about anything pro-Palestinian being anti-Israeli.

More of the "kettle calling the pot black for calling the kettle black".
 redfishbluefish
Joined: 12/22/2005
Msg: 36
I watched the Israeli / US Media video
Posted: 8/9/2006 8:29:12 PM
Alright then

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1072-2174641,00.html
 Open_Book
Joined: 9/4/2005
Msg: 37
I watched the Israeli / US Media video
Posted: 8/9/2006 8:33:44 PM
Trevor Asserson is a UK solicitor based in London. He is a partner in an International law firm. He was called to the Israeli Bar in 1992.

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs: http://www.jcpa.org/jl/vp511.htm


Trevor Asserson worked as a solicitor for the UK's leading litigation firm and thereafter set up a department specializing in judicial review at one of the UK's premier pro bono firms. He was called to the Israeli bar in 1992. He is today a senior international litigation partner in the London office of one of the world's largest law firms.


Morgan Lewis Partner Ups Sticks For Israel: http://www.legalweek.com/ViewItem.asp?id=26327


Morgan Lewis & Bockius London litigation partner Trevor Asserson has left the firm to practise law in Israel.


Jewish leaders praise report on BBC: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?c=JPArticle&cid=1145961306895&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
__________

Cassie Williams graduated from Oxford University in 2002 where she took a BA in Egyptology and modern Hebrew Literature. She also holds an MA from SOAS in Israeli and Jewish Diaspora Studies.

__________

Simple lack of reporting about certain atrocities, doesn't necessarily show bias. Some places in the world are considered political "hotspots", and deamed more newsworthy. Israel has the unfortunate position of being one of them. Deal with it.

Their comparisson between Iraq coverage and Israel coverage did seem to show some bias though. However, they are wrong to assume it was negative bias towards Israel, instead of favourable bias towards a conflict their own government was involved in. There are definitely some better UK sources to find out about Iraq, than the BBC. It's easy to find complaints about BBC bias towards the US and UK, in Iraq...in fact, they try to refute pro-bias complaints from viewers right on their own webpage. http://news.bbc.co.uk/newswatch/ukfs/hi/newsid_4010000/newsid_4019000/4019065.stm


Peace
 rks58
Joined: 1/28/2006
Msg: 38
I watched the Israeli / US Media video
Posted: 8/9/2006 9:23:32 PM
Alright then

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1072-2174641,00.html


Are you sure you don't want to retract that link too?

You are aware that The Timesis owned by Rupert Murdoch, the owner of FOX ("we distort, you...", I don't think I need to continue, you get the point I'm sure).

Now, having said that (with a chuckle) I will grant that for all its' conservatism The Times isn't all that bad.

The article has it's flaws. They are quick to point out instances that they see as pro-Palestinian (though they don't say how it is exactly anti-Israeli) but offer no concrete examples of pro-Israeli reporting. I will do that part for them with some recent examples from BBC World.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/5247486.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/5256222.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4778133.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/5253868.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/5253146.stm

They are very vague in terms of specific example of how the BBC Governors' report is "off the mark" in its assertion that they provide a balance in favor of Israel (see examples above) but rather say "maybe it's this or maybe it's that". For instance suggesting that they are including reports mainly about Israel but which are actually negative reports (see examples above) or suggest that it doesn't include BBC World, for example (see examples above).

They almost completely lost me with this statement:

a broader pattern of coverage that seems to play down that Israel is a democracy that elects Israeli Arabs to the Knesset and which does not engage in systematic terrorism and suicide bombing of civilians.

Israel may not engage in suicide bombing but they are one of the worlds "top guns" when it comes to systematic state terrorism (I suppose the Times may have just meant non-state terrorism).

Of course they did somewhat redeem themselves with their last statement (you did read it didn't you?)

It’s amazing that the coverage is as decent as it is, and that most of us in the business concede privately that, for all its flaws, the BBC still does a better job that any other news organisation on Earth.

Gee, I guess they are saying that BBC is better and more balanced than even The Times (of course with Rupert Murdoch controlling The Times it may not be a hard thing to be).

Anything more?

Toodles
 late™
Joined: 1/9/2005
Msg: 39
I watched the Israeli / US Media video
Posted: 8/10/2006 5:07:57 AM
http://www.combatantsforpeace.org/article.asp?lng=eng

"There are things that decent people don't do"

http://www.yeshgvul.org/index_e.asp
 Pablo_el_Diablo
Joined: 8/31/2005
Msg: 40
I watched the Israeli / US Media video
Posted: 8/10/2006 4:51:11 PM
"There are things that decent people don't do"


Now that is a statement we all can agree on. I was beginning to think that liberals didn't believe in hard lines, black & white, absolute truths, or blanket statements. Thank you for giving me a peice of common ground that I can join you on.

You are right. There are some things that decent people won't do. There are Jews in Isreal who are not decent people, but in terms of who you are willing to support (as a group) consider the alternative.

http://www.libertypost.org/cgi-bin/readart.cgi?ArtNum=152781

A Lebanese Shia explains how Hezbollah uses Human Shields Der Tagesspiegel ^ | 7/30/06 | Dr. Mounir Herzallah


Posted on 07/31/2006 158 PM PDT by abu afak


In a letter to the editor of the Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel a Lebanese Shia explains how after Israel’s withdrawal from South Lebanon, Hezbollah stored rockets in bunkers in his town and built a school and residence over it.

""I lived until 2002 in a small southern village near Mardshajun that is inhabited by a majority of Shias like me. After Israel left Lebanon, it did not take long for Hezbollah to have the say in our town and all other towns. Received as successful resistance fighters, they appeared armed to the teeth and dug rocket depots in bunkers in our town as well. The social work of the Party of God consisted in building a school and a residence over these bunkers!

A local sheikh explained to me Laughing that the Jews would lose in any event because the rockets would either be fired at them or if they attacked the rocket depots, they would be condemned by world opinion on account of the dead civilians. These people do not care about the Lebanese population, they use them as shields, and, once dead, as propaganda. As long as they continue existing there, there will be no tranquility and peace.""




http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=23587

See the above article for a small snapshot of what they are doing in the heart of my own country.

I know that I am not in Lebanon or Israel and I am beginning to wonder what reports I can actually believe from either side. Both sides want to look good and both sides want to justify the bad things that they do.

I do know one thing for sure though from my own personal experience. Jews can move to a place and coexist peacefully with the people there. Muslims just can't seem to pull it off.

Look at France. They have recently banned topeless sunbathing and thongs at some of their beaches. I wonder who influenced that decision. Think about it and note the timing. Soon they will be sunbathing in robes and rain coats because it is a lot less trouble than having uncontrolable immigrants setting cars on fire.

Look at any western culture that has had a large number of Muslims come to live there. Now look at the worlds Jewish communities.

@Late; May I target you specifically with a question? You seem like an intelligent, honest, and fair minded person so I think I can count on you for an honest answer. Anyone else feel free as well.

As a white, long haired, non-religious??, musician, would you feel safer living in Israel or Iran?

A Muslim community in Europe or a Jewish one?

In the states?

In Canada?

Who do you honestly feel would be most likely to leave you be, regardless of their opinion of your life style or religion?


"This isn't about land. You need only talk to a Palestinian Muslim to find this out. Ask him what this war is all about. He'll reply that the land Israel sits on belongs to the Palestinians. Then ask him 'If the Jews converted to Islam would you still fight them?' He'll reply 'No, of course not. If they converted to Islam then we would have no grievance with them."
 arri
Joined: 10/5/2005
Msg: 41
I watched the Israeli / US Media video
Posted: 8/10/2006 5:13:19 PM
Pablo

Let me ask you a question?

Have you ever been to the middle east and if yes ... what places have you visited? You can answer me by email.

"This isn't about land. You need only talk to a Palestinian Muslim to find this out. Ask him what this war is all about. He'll reply that the land Israel sits on belongs to the Palestinians. Then ask him 'If the Jews converted to Islam would you still fight them?' He'll reply 'No, of course not. If they converted to Islam then we would have no grievance with them."


It is about the land and that's a leading question. All that the Palestinians really want is to have a place to have a future. Did you know that, if a Palestinian marries a Jew, he still can neither obtain citizenship nor live in Israel?

To the Palestinian that was asked the question, the answer he gave was about equality. Israel doesn't want them integrated into their society.

What if you had asked a black man in the south circa 1800s ... if the plantation owners were black, would you still feel like a slave? what do you think he would have answered?
 late™
Joined: 1/9/2005
Msg: 42
I watched the Israeli / US Media video
Posted: 8/10/2006 5:55:46 PM
@Late; May I target you specifically with a question? You seem like an intelligent, honest, and fair minded person so I think I can count on you for an honest answer. Anyone else feel free as well.

As a white, long haired, non-religious??, musician, would you feel safer living in Israel or Iran?


I'd feel just as safe in both, provided I was with friends. I have friends here who are Persian who are some of the most honourable people I've ever met, I also have friends from Israel, and I grew up in a Jewish neighbourhood in Winnipeg, ...I "get along".


A Muslim community in Europe or a Jewish one?


I play musical instruments that both cultures know, the Saz, the Oud, ...I would do okay in both communities, I know some yiddish, hebrew, and a bit of arabic. Both cultures respect musicians far more than N. Americans do


In the states?


Here I have fear of the state, as much as any place else, maybe more so, but, again, ...I have many friends in many states, many places I could have a good time and have a bed.


In Canada?


I've lived in (from west to east) Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. I also know many people on either coast and am welcome there.


Who do you honestly feel would be most likely to leave you be, regardless of their opinion of your life style or religion?


Alert (if you've been there you'll know why)

I've played with people from around the world, central America, South America, Cuba, Africa (N.Africa and Sub-Sahara), the mid-east, China, South-East Asia, Syria, Turkey, Israel, the US, Canada, ....I'm pretty international. I have friends, neighbours, co-workers, from all over the world.

I'm used to hearing:

"It's not like you see on TV"
 rks58
Joined: 1/28/2006
Msg: 43
I watched the Israeli / US Media video
Posted: 8/10/2006 7:38:10 PM

A Muslim community in Europe or a Jewish one?

In the states?

In Canada?

Who do you honestly feel would be most likely to leave you be, regardless of their opinion of your life style or religion?


Having lived in Europe for several years and traveled all over (including behind the old "iron curtain"), I have to say either one equally.

Obviously, I live in Canada at the present and again I have to say either one equally. Almost half of my students are Muslim and I have never received anything but the utmost respect from them and their parents, even more so than many non-Muslim students and their parents. If I had to rate all the ethnic groups in the school on that basis I would have to say that the "white-bread", middle class are the worst (they seem to have a sense of entitlement that the others don't).

I have also lived all over the US (born in Texas) and I have to say that Muslim or Jewish would make no difference in terms of feeling safe. Geography is a different story. I've wandered the streets of NYC and Detroit at 4 AM without feeling the least bit uneasy but I have walked into roadhouses in the south where the hair on the back of my neck stood up as soon as I walked in the door (that "we ain't never seen you around here" feeling).

As far as who I feel would be most likely to leave me be, considering experience, pretty much everyone except red-necks and trailer trash.
 Pablo_el_Diablo
Joined: 8/31/2005
Msg: 44
I watched the Israeli / US Media video
Posted: 8/10/2006 7:44:42 PM
"Both" wasn't supposed to be one of the choices, but excellent answer none the less. I should have been more specific.


"It's not like you see on TV"


...and once again I am forced to agree with you, but can't the same be said of internet videos?

I am impressed that you have been able to get along with every culture of people you have ever been exposed too. Very few people could honestly make that claim.

I suspect however that if I asked someone who is not in the humanitarian sainthood training program the same questions, they would feel safer in a Jewish community. In fact I have asked and so far the results are:

Jewish Community-14

Muslim Community-0

Both-2

I had to add a category just for you.

The results are skewed of course because I have only been asking Americans (until now).
 rks58
Joined: 1/28/2006
Msg: 45
I watched the Israeli / US Media video
Posted: 8/10/2006 7:58:08 PM

Jewish Community-14

Muslim Community-0

Both-1

I had to add a category just for you.

The results are skewed of course because I have only been asking Americans (until now).


In asking your question, did you ask about their own personal experience with both?

How many would have been able to say they were basing it on an equal amount of direct experience with both communities?

How many would have had to say their primary understanding of Muslims is based on the news or the occassional trip to 7/11?
 SoTexMan
Joined: 8/23/2005
Msg: 46
I watched the Israeli / US Media video
Posted: 8/10/2006 8:20:25 PM
Hey, all:

I have an extremely slow phone line for internet service. An 80-min video takes 4 days to download. (Yeah, 4 days!) Could someone please supply a synopsis of the video, or provide a link to a review or synopsis so that I could read about what is presented?

Thanks!

David


Messages done with sustainable energy, with Wind and Sun!
 arri
Joined: 10/5/2005
Msg: 47
I watched the Israeli / US Media video
Posted: 8/10/2006 8:29:11 PM
Lets not forget that Pablo lives is Alabama and I don't think it's a destination for many Muslim immigrants .. publo please make that 14-0-3

back to the topic:

One of the things that seems to be common in the American Media is translation according to the Administration policy in regards to what the bad guys say and mean.

I found this on Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad_and_Israel

Translation of phrase "wiped off the map"

Many news sources have presented one of Ahmadinejad's phrases in Persian as a statement that "Israel must be wiped off the map"[4][5][6], an English idiom which means to cause a place to stop existing[7].

Juan Cole, a University of Michigan Professor of Modern Middle East and South Asian History, translates the Persian phrase as:

The Imam said that this regime occupying Jerusalem (een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods) must [vanish from] the page of time (bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad).[8]

According to Cole, "Ahmadinejad did not say he was going to wipe Israel off the map because no such idiom exists in Persian" and "He did say he hoped its regime, i.e., a Jewish-Zionist state occupying Jerusalem, would collapse."[1]

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translates the phrase similarly:

[T]his regime that is occupying Qods [Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history.[9]
 late™
Joined: 1/9/2005
Msg: 48
I watched the Israeli / US Media video
Posted: 8/10/2006 10:39:52 PM
Both-2


I grew up in a Jewish neighbourhood, I learned from these folks growing up, they are a loving gentle people, I NEVER felt unwelcome in their homes. I've known Lebanese people for years, Persians, Kurds. Arabs, I know Zulu's from S. Africa/Zimbabwe, I know Pygmies from Cameroon....People from all over Africa.

They know me too.

I can play ALL their music, I love them, they love me.... Oh - The - Humanity -

I'm one of those horrible people who thinks that basic human dignity applies to all.

I live where there are many from the middle east, mostly Lebanese, Arabic, Palestinian, Syrian

I have never had any problems with them, they are as friendly, honest, and more importantly, honourable, as any people I know. I see them every day, they know me, I know them.

Americans, I mostly see on the news, my 7 y/o daughter has met more Muslims than she has met Americans

She will grow up knowing them, being cherished by them (those folks I know from that region, place children on the top of all, they love children, even those of strangers)

Show up to where I'm at and tell me different......

I welcome that.


Lets not forget that Pablo lives is Alabama


NO! let's forget that, ...he has a mind, he's shown he can open it or close it based on what he sees.

Don't play the "Alabama" card, that's just tacky.



...and once again I am forced to agree with you, but can't the same be said of internet videos?


That film is nothing, without it there is STILL a consensus by comparing news coverage between Israel and the US, ...the US is more slanted towards Israel than Israel news is.

Follow the money.

Check out the on-line Israeli newspapers.

More balance than ANY US media outlet.

This is TELLING!
 late™
Joined: 1/9/2005
Msg: 49
I watched the Israeli / US Media video
Posted: 8/11/2006 12:01:52 AM
I have made it a point to not be perceived as "Anti-Israeli"

I am not, ...I hurt, I weep, I agonize for them.

They are my brothers and sisters, as are their oppressed neighbours

Who they hurt for, weep for, and agonize over....

For they know, what is right, and what is wrong.

Most of what I post, is of Israel, from Jews

Who cannot bear the thought of what is being done in their name,


Sent to me by a dear friend:


Rooting for Ordinary Israelis to Wake Up

The Little Mermaid on Highway Six

By DEB REICH



Palestinian children are not made for war, any more than Israeli children are made for war. Yet while the politicians jockey for power, our Israeli mothers go on loyally sending their children to join the army and terrorize the neighbors, as if that were a normal thing to do, believing it their duty to the nation; and Palestinian mothers continue to live in fear when their kids sneak out to throw stones at the tanks those Israeli kids are driving, and sometimes they come back in a box. Miki, a former babysitter for my children, granddaughter of a good friend, a sweet, charming girl, was conscripted into the Israeli army at 18 with all the other kids, and became a sharpshooter instructor. Her trainees, still children themselves, go out and shoot Palestinian children in the streets of Nablus or Hebron. Who can make sense of this? And what of another friend's only son Haggai, the dreamer, the nature-lover, who will never sit under a tree again on a summer's day, watching the clouds sail by in the sky? The Czar's army (they call it the IDF here) got him, and ate him alive.

Indeed, the callous Israelis the Palestinians see are not the caring Israelis I know; and the one-dimensional caricatures of Palestinians the world sees in the media are not like the actual Palestinians I know, either. The Palestinians I know are regular, ordinary people, with good days and bad days like everyone else; not perfect, but human; people like me; just people. The Palestinians in the news are always either bad guys, or in mourning--either crazed perpetrators or hapless victims of violence. Why don't the newspapers ever talk about regular Palestinians, just trying to have a life, just like you and me? A baker in Jenin bakes bread just like a baker in Kansas City or Calcutta, or Beersheba or Haifa; and some kid in Jenin named Mahmoud or Soheila eats it for breakfast with the same satisfaction your kids display, scarfing down their toast and jam in the morning. A minister friend of mine visiting Israel from the USA recently took an Israeli Jewish couple she knows to visit a Palestinian- Arab Israeli couple she knows, and the Jewish woman confided afterwards: "But their children are just like ours!" Well yeah.

Consider my friend, our brother in the quest for peace by nonviolent means, Sam Bahour, a fortysomething Palestinian-American who lives in Al Bireh (next to Ramallah) and believes in "business for peace." You know he has to be an imaginative, creative, optimistic guy because he built a mall made mostly of glass in a town where any teenage Israeli tank commander could decide to achieve security for Israelis by shooting at someone or something in front of the Plaza Mall's impressive glass façade, pretty much at any time. The Plaza Mall is still standing (as of this writing). I think Sam keeps it intact by voodoo. Meanwhile, whenever things heat up politically, armored vehicles, sometimes tanks, rumble through his home neighborhood at 2 or 3 or 4 AM, scaring the daylights out of his neighbors and his two young daughters. Israeli conscript soldiers not much older than Sam's children, periodically roust pajama-clad people out of their beds to stand fuming in the street till dawn while their apartment complexes are searched for bad guys. It's a relatively upscale neighborhood. The people in their pj's are not very frightening types -- teachers, social workers, accountants. Try to picture a parade of tanks squashing all the parked cars in YOUR neighborhood some night. Sam's wife won't do lunch with Israelis like Sam does occasionally -- no matter how peace-seeking the Israelis proclaim themselves to be. Can you blame her?

In 2004, I left Israel with my family for California and lasted two years. I was homesick. My daughter was homesick. We came back. My son and his dad stayed there; now we're a fractured family like many others from Israel/Palestine--but at least we were free to choose; too many are not. Sam, for instance, lives with his family in Al Bireh from visa renewal to visa renewal because he's never been granted permanent residency--by Israel--to live in Palestine (the West Bank). What kind of chutzpah is that, making a guy crawl for permission to be with his own wife and kids? What kind of danger to the security of Israelis is posed by a visionary who builds a shopping center with a glass facade in a shoot-em-up, tank-infested, demolition-driven, besieged town? Local moms with no money bring their little kids to the Plaza Mall for free entertainment: Disney video screenings, tumbling mats in the play areas, and maybe clowns or musicians sometimes. The kids are welcome there even if their moms can't buy anything. That's the policy crafted by the team Sam managed for five years. Give the guy a residence permit already, you dumb bureaucrats--he's a veritable community welfare association all by himself. (And what about the thousands more just like him? What crime are they guilty of? Breathing too regularly?)

The new Abominable Trans-Israel Highway gets me to work in under an hour these days, from my house on the coastal plain to my job near Jerusalem. (Israelis call it Kveesh Shesh, which means Highway Six). In building it, the planners did what planners do--they listened to the rich people, the corporate bigwigs, and the politicians in charge, not to the communities they were paving over. As the new state-of-the-art, privately owned commuter highway came into being, Arab towns in Israel like Taibe and Tira saw their built-up areas cut off from their agricultural fields and groves and their open reserves of land for future residential construction, by the route of the Abominable Kveesh Shesh. Environmental and social activists waged a losing struggle for several years to have the route reflect a little fairness and sanity--let the predominantly Jewish towns along the route sacrifice some of their land, too; let everyone shoulder a fair share of the burden of modernization; and put some of the route underground to let the green spaces survive, for heaven's sake.

But no. The Kveesh Shesh planners knew they could screw the environmental lobby (virtually powerless) and of course the 1.1-million Palestinian-Arab citizens of Israel with impunity. The Arab legislators in Israel's Knesset can't protect their constituents when the pie is unequally divided yet again, because no Israeli national administration since independence in 1948 has included any Arab party in the governing coalition. Let 'em eat the ballots their votes are cast on. One of every five citizens in the State of Israel is a Palestinian Arab (we are not talking here about Palestinians in the West Bank or Gaza). Insure parity in the allocation of state resources to guarantee they get their fair share? Nah. Not even when a string of official Israeli state commissions of inquiry, year in, year out, declares that it should be done, must be done, will be done. It's never been done. The Abominable Kveesh Shesh is only the latest concrete proof (lots and lots of concrete) of this longstanding but shortsighted policy that continually makes enemies out of neighbors trying to learn to live together. You know what the private company that owns this toll road, taking a heavy toll in so many ways, is called? Derekh Eretz. It's a play on words in Hebrew, roughly translating as both "national road" and an idiom meaning "courtesy and consideration for others." They can laugh about that one all the way to the bank with the blood money - pardon me, the toll money.

When I talk about this stuff with my friends in Israel or my family in the USA, nearly everyone has pretty much the same reaction: Why do I always take the side of the Palestinians? Why am I always harping on the bad things Israel does? Do I (as my own child once accused me) love the Palestinians better than I love my own family?

No. Not better. But not less, either. I guess I've become a Jesus freak in my old age. I love my neighbor as myself. We need each other. To create a sane, fair, prosperous future here, we need each other the way the light needs the shadow, and vice versa. Yin and yang. My enemy completes me, as some early Christian mystic once said. I don't know why the politicians and the generals spend so much time, energy, and tax money trying to prove to us that it's impossible to live together. The help we need is waiting right there on the other side of the wall. Ask the cousins to help us figure out how to live together. Ask Hamas. Tell 'em: Suppose we don't want to be your enemy any more. Come sit down with us as equals and let us find the better way. -Don't say it can't work. Has anyone ever tried it? Isn't there a new organization of ex-combat soldiers from both sides advocating that we do precisely that? Superior force is never more than a temporary solution; even the guys with the guns are learning that, now.

And what am I to do about the scary guard tower I pass every day on my way to work? Nowadays, I work in a nonprofit enterprise that seeks peace on several tracks: It trains Jewish and Palestinian young people and professionals to encounter the other and redesign their maps of reality to include one another's presence in this land; it runs a primary school where Palestinian and Jewish Israeli kids can grow up together in comradeship instead of mutual fear and hate; and it runs a spiritual center where inward knowledge is tapped in the service of mutual respect and understanding between national and religious groups in conflict. To get to my office near Jerusalem, I drive right past a section of the Indescribably Obscene Separation Barrier that purports to secure my future as a peace-loving Israeli citizen. Every twenty yards or so, this wall--partially disguised with landscaping to look like any old highway noise barrier--sprouts some kind of electronic device with sensors or cameras or heaven knows what, pointed at the people living on the other side. And at the tail end of this particular stretch of Indescribably Obscene Separation Barrier is an Orwellian- looking guard tower, squat, heavy, forbidding, with medieval-looking slits behind which, I assume, sharpshooters can aim their doubtless radar-assisted, night-vision-equipped, microprocessor-enhanced weapons of small-scale but irrevocable destruction.

Sometimes I imagine stopping my car and getting out and walking up the deceptively civilized-looking, artfully landscaped incline toward this guard tower to ask the young Israelis in there to reconsider the choices that have brought them to that place, that task, that venue for war crimes and their own future PTSD. On really bad days I imagine it might be pleasant to keep walking until they shoot me, and be released to wherever Rachel Corrie is now. No more confusion about the clash of narratives. No more feeling like I have met the "Good German" and she is me. The Good German of half a century ago lived close enough to Dachau to smell the flesh burning in the ovens, but went to work every day as usual; gotta pay the rent, gotta put food on the table; she had kids to support, too. Am I her, now? If so, what shall I do about it? If not--just explain the difference, would you? Nearly all my friends cringe if I mention the Nazis, but how is perpetual humiliation and gradual starvation of an entire population any less awful than killing them quicker? In the Banality of Evil Department, who decides on the banality ratings for this or that regime of oppression?

These are the thoughts that give me no rest, so that when a holiday comes around, as Passover did recently, I am unable to celebrate lightheartedly in the ordinary way. Occasionally, as I did this time, I go through the motions, but it seems obscene, somehow. I haven't had a normal sort of holiday feeling in years. Lately, I finally figured out why. Going about your business as usual, insofar as possible, is an act of defiance when you're being oppressed; but when you're the oppressor, it's an act of indifference. The way Catholics give up meat for Lent, I seem to have given up Jewish holidays for the duration. When the last checkpoint has been dismantled, when the wall has been taken down, when all the political prisoners go free, and the neighbors can celebrate their own holidays normally again, I'll get my holidays back. Meanwhile I write essays.

One thing is very clear to me now: Once you let the humanity of the other into your consciousness, you can never go back. I often feel like the Little Mermaid of the fable, who wanted to stay on dry land and walk on two legs. Her wish was granted, but at a price: walking around among the other humans, she was perpetually in pain, feeling as if she walked barefoot on broken glass. I think about that sometimes, driving along the Abominable Kveesh Shesh on my way to my righteous job in the peace biz, passing the Orwellian guard tower bristling with unseen weapons, catching glimpses of the cousins' neighborhoods over there on the other side of the Indescribably Obscene Separation Wall, watched over by well- meaning youngsters in uniform, the good-hearted sons and daughters of my ordinary Israeli friends and neighbors who believe that army service is a national duty, etc., whereas to me it's the Czar's army, no more, no less. (Once upon a time, Jews in Europe went to great lengths to keep their kids out of the Czar's army.) My awareness of all those good-hearted people who are persuaded that it's necessary to send their kids to kill and die for the nation, but treasonous to dedicate their lives to learning to live harmoniously with the cousins, is worse than fragments of glass underfoot; it's like fragments of glass in my heart.

There is no equating what Israelis suffer and what Palestinians suffer; the asymmetry is there for anyone to see. But pain is always personal. Consider my friends the T. family, whose only son was Haggai, that dreamy, nature-loving, gentle boy who liked to sit under trees and watch the clouds. He was conscripted a couple of years ago and given a bizarrely unsuitable job as a military policeman. He did his best to get transferred out of there, to no avail. Trapped! Trapped for three years in the Czar's army. Three years is an eternity when you're eighteen. Finally, he shot himself. At his base. On Yom Kippur. Now, when I quail at the anger my questions evoke among friends and family, when I feel like an outcast among my own kind, when I get really tired and wonder what it's all for, I think of Haggai. We have to find a better way because we owe it to our kids. All of them, ours and theirs.

Once I asked an Israeli colleague how to get my writing out to a wider audience and he said, "Get rid of the Wise Mom tone." I knew he was wrong, even then, and today I'm more certain than ever. The wise mom's voice is almost the only sane voice left, as Nurit Peled-Elhanan recently told the European Parliament--fragments of glass in the heart notwithstanding. The generals and the politicians haven't taken us anywhere worthwhile in a long, long, long time. It's time to check out a new approach. It's time to listen to the business-for-peace guys and the wise moms. It's long past time.

Deb Reich is a writer and translator living in Israel/Palestine.
 rks58
Joined: 1/28/2006
Msg: 50
I watched the Israeli / US Media video
Posted: 8/11/2006 1:30:18 AM
An excellent essay.

I'm afraid, though, that for those who need to HEAR the message most, it will fall on deaf ears.

As much as I try to take the "half full" view this is something about which I can't shake that "half empty" feeling.

Too many times I've heard that "they" aren't like "us",

That Palestinian children aren't like Israeli or American children,

That Palestinian children aren't born to be loved, they're born to kill,

That Palestinian children aren't fed on their mother's milk, they're fed on hate,

That a Palestinian child's first toy isn't a rattle, it's a handgrenade,

That Palestinian children don't dream of being firemen and riding firetrucks or of being ballerinas and dancing in the ballet, they only dream of being martyrs and killing Jews.

Too many refuse reason in favour of the warm comfort of their ignorance.
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