4.1064 On the War (3/189)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Thu, 21 Feb 91 00:52:51 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 1064. Thursday, 21 Feb 1991.

(1) Date: Thu, 14 Feb 91 16:46 PST (30 lines)
Subject: Re: 4.1020 On the War

(2) Date: Fri, 15 Feb 1991 17:29:46 GMT+0300 (33 lines)
Subject: RE: 4.1033 On the War

(3) Date: Sun, 17 Feb 1991 21:17 EST (126 lines)
Subject: The War

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 91 16:46 PST
Subject: Re: 4.1020 On the War (5/282)

I cannot resist suggesting to Judy Koren a rule of thumb that most
watchers of totalitarian culture since 1917 have learned: in a paranoiac
century such as ou rs, in which the West can be best described as a
paranoid personality, especial ly since our Mass society has been
perfused by what amounts to an unintermitted barrage of communications
via the "neuronal" networks of the media, since radi o, in short, and
high speed newspaper printing an distribution before that, th way to
intuit what is happening and what is probably the case is to assume "pro
jection" by the transmitter, the paranoid. What The communist
propagandists tau ght Hitler's, undsoweiter, is to declare what you afe
doing or plan to do as being planned or done by your enemy. If that PLO
Center is accusing Israel of h erding people into pens at Dimona, it
simply means that that is what is being d one in Iraq, and today's news
of the bombing of what the West calls a comman an d communication center
and what Baghdad calls a civilian bunker is a good insta ne. I am
prepared to believe that the telecoms are under the shleter for civili
ans, as the papers say they are indeed under the hotel that most western
newsp eople and diplmats are housed in. What is so odd about that?
Saddam says: you c an kill my birds with your stone, but I get twice as
many benefits as losses fr om it! I would do it too, were I saddam. I
t figures. It is logical. Hide under innocents, the wolf in sheep's
clothing, etc. Aesop taught that trick to us 30 00 years ago. Always
tell the truth in propaganda is another maxim. But..which truth? The
totalists tell the truth, but accuse others of the horrors they are
perpetrating. That is why it works. Something is true about it, you
see? Kessl er
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------42----
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 1991 17:29:46 GMT+0300
Subject: RE: 4.1033 On the War (4/224)

Re. Malcolm Hayward's comments on the responses to Lakoff:

"George Lakoff's balanced and articulate statement has incurred the
wrath... of Harwell, Kessler, Copold and Judy. Let me see if I've
got some of the arguments straight."

He then summarizes what he believes to be our opinions.

1) If he can lump us all together like that, he hasn't got any of the
arguments straight. What makes Hayward think we're all arguing
the same and all agree with each other, apart from the fact that
he disagrees with all of us?

2) Lakoff's statements are always articulate, I grant you that.
But to someone who thought they were "balanced" I think I'd
rather be Koren, not Judy, if you don't mind. (I suppose I
should feel honoured to be the only one on Hayward's list
granted a first-name basis, but somehow I don't.)

3) None of the summaries of points Hayward made in the least fits
what I wrote, though his point no. 4 bears the same resemblance
to it as hamburger meat does to steak. I commend Hayward for
that achievement. Surely few of us could have managed it.

Judy Koren

P.S. I don't think Lakoff has yet incurred my wrath. Perhaps sadness
is closer.

(3) --------------------------------------------------------------124---
Date: Sun, 17 Feb 1991 21:17 EST
Subject: The War

I have been trying really hard to keep from cluttering the band-width
with my attempts at pearls of wisdom concerning the effects of the
Persian Gulf war on the nation and people of Israel, responding to
individual postings by E-mail, rather than posting them on the list, but
Malcolm Hayward's diatribe needs to be answered publicly.

Mr. Hayward, I share your obvious pain at the destruction and death we
are hearing and reading about daily. However, this anguish does not
excuse your using the occasion, and this newslist, for a round on
unjustified Israel bashing, so common among us "humanists" and
intellectuals. First, your attempt to use the U.N. racist liabel
concerning the Israeli government is a cheap shot, at best. In 1990,
nearly 3,700 Ethiopian Jews immigrated to Israel. 1,300 additional
Ethiopians have immigrated there since the beginning of this year, with
224 arriving in one day two weeks ago. These immigrants were brought to
Israel at the expense of the government and will be housed, educated,
and trained at government expense until they are prepared to make their
own way into the population. At the present time, more than 20,000 Jews
from Ethiopia live in Israel, with only 22,000 left in Ethiopia. Do you
seriously believe that the absorption of 20,000 black Africans into a
country only slightly larger than New Jersey, even while the country is
being attacked by Scud missles, is the act of a "racist" government? Do
you know (does anyone out there know) what the U.S. immigration quota
from subsaharan Africa is for this year?

You indicate that Israel is not as concerned about its Arab citizens as
it is for its Jewish citizens and use the fact that gas masks were not
distributed to residents of the occupied territories as a case in point.
What you seem to be unaware of is that all Jewish AND Arab citizens of
Israel WERE issued gas masks before the coallition bombing of Iraq began.
Arab residents of the occupied territories are NOT citizens of Israel.
This distinction is not merely playing with words, nor is it trivial.
Palestinian Arab residents of the territories, in the main, do not WISH
to be citizens of Israel (nor, to be perfectly candid, do I believe that
most Israelis wish them to be citizens. Not being an Israeli, I can't
be certain about this, but this is the sentiment I hear). Most, if not
all, of these people want their own state. In fact, I'd wager that you
would be quite indignant (as would be most of the international
community) if Israel were to annex Judeah, Sumaria, and Gaza. You need
to understand the Israeli political a lot better than you do before you
post denunciations of it. Arab citizens of the State have the same
civil rights as Jewish citizens. They are free to vote for members of
the Knesset which has Arab members. They are free to form their own
political parties, which they do, and members of these parties run for
(and win) Knesset seats. Arabs are protected from discrimmination in
housing, employment, and education. This is where the Israeli
government and people too often fall short. Discrimination DOES exist,
where Arab villages often receive less than their share of housing and
education funds, but because Israel is a democracy Arab citizens have
peaceful avenues of redress and use them successfully. You might try
reading the International Edition of The Jerusalem Post. If you can't
get a hold of this paper out your way, I'll be glad to send you some of
my back issues. In any case, the issue of civil rights within Israel is
one I have confidence is being dealt with, even under these trying
conditions. But I have wandered from the topic. The reasons that gas
masks were not issued to residents of the territories are complex. To
dismiss it as racism is the attempt a simple answer to a complex
problem. Security was the primary issue. Tear gas is the method of
choice for quelling civil unrest (riots!) in the territories. Supplying
intifada participants with gas masks not only hides their faces, but
makes tear gas ineffective. The result of this is that the military and
police would be required to use greater force in putting down the riots
and protecting themselves and this would result in more injury and death
to the rioters. The Israeli Defense Forces has been criticized in the
past for using TOO MUCH force in riot control. Gas masked rioters would
increase the amount of force necessary to keep order. Most significant
however is the fact that the occupied territories are simply not targets
of Iraqi missles! The Iraqi government has no interest in bombing
Palestinian villages and camps (the Palestinians support Iraq in the
war). The purpose of missile attacks on Israel are to terrorize the
population and cause Israel to retaliate (as well as to show the Arab
world that Iraq can strike Israel). Why would they want to attack the
Arabs in the territories. We can see the result of this reasoning in
the fact that just about all the attacks were on Tel Aviv and Haifa with
a single Scud (or perhaps it was two) landing, most likely by accident,
on the west bank of the Jordan. You will note that an Israeli court has
ordered the distribution of masks to the territories and the government
is complying. It is sad that it is taking time to obtain masks for
small children, but it is hardly fair (or scholarly) to attribute this
to a purposeful government policy without any evidence.

On the issue of curfews: Israel, a noncombatant, is having her chief
cities bombarded by missiles while the population of the occupied
territories are calling for its destruction and standing on roofs to
cheer the missiles on. I suggest that confining that hostile population
to its homes is probably the most humane way of dealing with the
situation. The other choices are probably putting down violent
demonstrations with further violence or using the time honored,
internationally accepted methods of dealing with enemy aliens: interning
or deporting them. I can just imagine your reaction to that!

Finally, your attempt to use the intifada to discredit Israeli democracy
is an interesting, but old ploy. The intifada is an uprising BY
Palestinian Arabs. The Israelis did not start the intifada. IDF forces
did not force Palestinian Arabs to riot and throw rocks at Israelis
(including innocent men, women and children) driving automobiles on
public roads. Blaming the victims for the problem is an old trick, but
it doesn't work, anymore.

Let me suggest that you do what a lot of American and European
celebrities and statesmen are doing right now. Before you criticize the
Israeli government or people, get your facts straight! The best way to
do this is join the many folks who are now starting to visit. You will
not find Israel and Israelis to be perfect, but you will find them to be
a warm and caring people who are doing more than we have any right to
expect of them in a really tough situation.

Oh yes, I think I understand what "Arabian nationality". Let me
operationally define it for you. Just as a student of Israeli
nationality is a student who is a citizen of the State of Israel and is
studying in the U.S. under an Israeli passport with a student visa, so
is a student or "Arabian" nationality one who is a citizen of an Arab
country (the State Department has defined such countries very clearly)
who has a passport from said country with a student visa to study in the
U.S. Like you, I find the collecting of this information by the
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, repugnant.

Leonard Bliss
Department of Educational Foundations
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608