Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Racism, Again

Racism. It has been on my mind, Bush, as you know. I have been writing about Daniel Mendelsohn's "The Lost." I was disturbed by the Michael Richards rant and the response to it. I wrote about his apology on the David Letterman show and have taken note of the many dismissive reactions I have heard to that apology. I heard a report last night about his session with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and was pleased that Jackson himself saw in it an opportunity for national self-examination and discussion. I frankly see little chance of that happening, but I do agree that it's way past time for us to acknowledge the systemic racism that persists in America to this day, and to begin to find ways to heal. The first step of those famous twelve is to come out of denial.

As I've said only recently, Bush, I do acknowledge the racism in myself. I know that it's buried deep in the unconscious mind, that that it surfaces only rarely. I try to be watchful, and take note when it does. And I try to at least be attentive to the racism in others. And I have to say that I'm not a little dismayed--no, angered--when I see the state of Israel compared to Nazi Germany in the comment section of these pages. I censor no one, but there are times when the comments are so wildly out of whack with my own thinking that I almost wish I could. This one reader--and I do welcome him and thank him for his loyalty to The Bush Diaires--has recently contributed such vitriolic comments that I simply can't let them pass without some response.

First, I do not by any means believe that the state of Israel should receive a free pass. No nation is above criticism, and Israel surely comes in for its share. But to label an entire nation "Zionist" and to lay the blame for virtually every tension with its neighbors at its door is to ignore the history even of the recent past. Since the Oslo agreement, every effort toward peace on the part of Israel, every concession offered or made has been met only with increased hostility and violence. What are you to do when your small piece of territory is bombarded daily by a hail of rockets? When children and, most recently, old women are used to carry bombs into your populated areas and blow your innocent citizens to kingdom come? When most of your neighbors loudly proclaim their belief that you should be wiped from the face of the earth? When governments embrace this as thier policy?

If my reader who is so insensed about Israel that he compares it with the Nazi state in Germany, let him read "The Lost." Let him understand what institutionalized racism looks like. Let him experience from the other side, the victims' side, the meaning of discrimination, what the life of an ordinary citizen might be in a state whose official policy is their extermination. When not only the Germans but the Poles and Ukrainians who had for centuries been their neighbors, turn suddenly cruel and hateful when given the opportunity to unleash the basest of their racist instincts. I anticipate that his response will be to draw attention to the plight of the Palestinians, and certainly there is much work to be done--and, yes, by Israel as well as by their own leadership--to address the very real issues that plague them.

Of course there is a racist element in Israeli society. How could it be otherwise? They are human beings, and all human beings, I would argue, do harbor these ignoble feelings. But institutional racism? I don't see it. The national policy has more to do with self-defense, survival, preservation of the state, its protection from attack and eventual destruction than with any racial prejudice against their neighbors and their own non-Jewish population. The racial hatred, as I see it, spouts from the mouths of the Ahmedinejad's of this world, from the leaders of organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah who preach it as the policy they embrace.

Beyond my disagreements with him, though, I am bothered almost as much by the tone of my reader's comments. I love passion, and I believe he is passionate in his opinions. But the line is thin between passion and vitriol, and my reader crosses that line to his own detriment. His arguments are offered in the guise of rational discussion, but they would carry more weight with me if they came less freighted in their tone with an anger and narrowness of vision whose source, I suspect, is unconscious and unintended racism. I acknowledge my own prejudices, and am willing to be called on them when they appear. My hope is that my readers would do the same.

And given that latest fatal shooting in New York, Bush, The Rev. Jesse Jackson has it right. It's time for a national dialogue on the reality of racism in our own society.

4 comments:

Carly said...

P: Bill Maher made an interesting point when he said, the world berated Jews when they docilely and pacificistically went to the gas chambers, now people are ragging on them for fighting back.

PK said...

Rather like our American Indians. When the white man could kill them off, and steal their land, and call it theirs, they were happy as clams at high tide. Now that the Indian Nation have casinos on their pittance of lands that they couldn't grow anything on to live, and are making money to help thier people, the white man is enraged that the Indian would take their money, that they are dumping into the casinos, to buy their own land back. And fight for that right! I hope they can get as much back as possible! The Mexicans are coming over our borders too, they were also killed, chased out and land stolen from them. Now they are working for our money to buy their land back too...LOL ... Ahhh, life... It would be funny if it all weren't so pathetic.

GringoWithoutBorders said...

Intellectual Honesty is all I ask for. Please if any of my facts or figures are wrong please, please correct me, although I do usually have sources behind all knowledge. Also, not sure where you will find one instance of me supporting racism.

I beg you to inform yourself regarding RACISM (Wikipedia Definition).
1.) Racism is commonly defined as a belief or doctrine where inherent biological differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, with a corollary that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
2.) Racism is sometimes used to refer to preference for one's own ethnic group (ethnocentrism), fear of foreigners (xenophobia), views or preferences against interbreeding of the races (miscegenation), and nationalism, and/or a generalization of a specific group of people (stereotype); regardless of any explicit belief in superiority or inferiority embedded within such views or preferences. Racism has been used in attempts to justify social discrimination, racial segregation and violence, including genocide. Politicians are known to practice race-baiting in an effort to win constituents.

With that defined, in no instance will you ever hear me support Racism of any kind. However, Zionist Israeli goals and policies have the EXACT beliefs of racism, as defined above. In addition, the ultimate goal of Nazis, Zionists and KKK ideologies all seek to create a largely homogenous and self-sufficient ethnic state dominated by their given race. Furthermore, both Zionism and Nazism used invasion and occupation to further their racist goals to acuire land. They have many more similarities then differences, they just hate and love different races. Even right now Israel has stolen Palestinian monies and is trying to starve the Palestinians into changing their domocatically elected government.

I believe ALL jews, muslims and christians who live in Palestine/Israel should live in one democratic state called “Semite Land”, just joking name it whatever. I could care less what race or religion has a majority of the population. Ironically, it is the Racist and bigoted humans who wish to separate the races and retain a majority. Do not ask me to support this, intellectual honesty and all.

The only countries I have any hope of impacting is America and Israel since neither could do anything without my tax money. That is why much of my thinking is directed at the 2.

In regards to Zionism in Israel, here is a survey that is taken each year in Israel of ALL Israeli citizens; in addition, I can provide sourcing for any previous statements or numbers.

The 2006 Israeli Democracy Index found that 62% of respondents want the government to pursue policies in order to persuade the 1.3 million Arabs, who account for about one-fifth of the population, to leave Israel. (Remember, that 62% is really equal to appox. 82% of Israeli “JEWS” who feel Israel should be a pure race state after taking into consideration the population statistics whereby I sincerely doubt the 15-20% of Israeli Arabs who were polled want to be kicked out of their homes).

Many do not see the institutionalized racism because many have a bias and live in America where only pro-Zionist propaganda is allowed or written and anything else is called anti-Semitic, which hopefully you know by now is an ignorant term. How about the institutionalized racism regarding military service, marriage, property ownership, political leadership criteria, citizenship criteria ect.... How about the intellectual dishonesty of labeling Hamas and Hezbollah as evil, when their origins/ current purpose of healthcare and defense is in response to the criminal invasion, occupation and murder of their fellow humans. What came first, the chicken or the egg? In this case, we do know what came first, the occupation and invasion, not the childish small rockets, more like powerful firecrackers then anything if one knows ANYTHING about bombs/rockets. Please tell me, what did Israel do before the rockets? Yea, invade, occupy, build settlements, kill, maim, break bones ect…. There was NO respect for anyone but Zionist Jews, until the Palestinians and Lebanese started defending themselves.

I understand your words and can certainly try to empathize with the reasons behind them. To bad there are not more Palestinians in this country for people to love, marry and support their cause of life and health.

Ironically, Carly seems to make the exact case of the Palestinians, Should they roll over and let a people invade, occupy, steal their land and kill them or should they fight back? It is not the Palestinians who invaded and occupied their Semite Jewish brethren under forced submission.

What I have no patience for, is placing one human above another no matter what. If I saw a Jew, Muslim, Christian or Atheist drowning, I would save the closest one regardless of race/religion. As I live in Laguna Beach, my best friend is a gay Jew and out of the maybe 10 people I talk to or visit on a weekly basis (I’m a homebody) a full 7 of them are Jewish Americans, 1 is Muslim and the other 2 are a Gay Catholic and no religion. Out of the 4 roommates I had during my first several years in Laguna, 3 were Jewish whereby I attended ones wedding and still keep in monthly contact with the all 3. Yes, I do have strong views on Zionism, KKK or Nazi ideology; really ANY viewpoint that uses RACE to separate people.

As a modern civilized American of a different generation who has never lived in a racist state and has always been taught humans are humans, I will continue to be against all racist policies or states where ever they are, especially if my tax monies support those policies. I will also attempt see all human death the same, including ALL 48 million humans who died in WWII. I really wonder how one can simply dismiss the statements made by Hitler towards Poland, they were all to be exterminated, why not cry for all? Why stop with one human or race group? Why not tell the story of the 850,000 Polish soldiers who died trying to defend ALL Polish people or the Polish that saved Jews when their own family was at deaths door. Why not ask, what Polish Jews helped their fellow Polish Christian neighbors escape and survive?

Hopefully we can at least agree on these 3 FACTS of life. No disputing these, honesty and all:

1.) Per international law all refugees on Earth have a right to return to their homes. It is illegal to conquer land and kick out the native inhabitants.

2.) Per international law all Israeli settlements are illegal. 40% of all Israeli settlements are on individual PRIVATE Palestinian land, per Israeli Gov. Statistics.

3.) Zionism is the founding basis of Israel and given the recent 2006 poll most Israelis want a pure race state.

I have read many books on WWII and the Holocaust. Might I recommend a book called the “Holocaust Industry” written by Norman Finkelstein and factually supported by Raul Hilberg, the most famous and distinguished historian on the Nazi holocaust and member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Heck, maybe try reading a book about the Palestinians and the horrors they are living through right now. Death is death unless one favors one race over another.

In the end, it is very important, as Cardozo said, to have a national dialogue on our interference in the Middle East and considering that more US foreign aid/ missles go to Israel then anywhere else, this is where the dialouge should start and it should not be the same ignorant discussion whereby anything against Israel or Zionism is considered wrong. Without that, you have no discussion but maybe that is what some want.

GringoWithoutBorders said...

PK, I agree with much of what you said!

However, please let me just add something VERY IMPORTANT to it:

California and the entire SW USA was ceded to USA after the Mexican-American war in Texas. 99.99999% of Mexican Natives were not killed and chased out of America, only the "Mexican Government" was removed from controlling the territory we stole. The invading and occupying Americans were required to assimilate/adopt these native Mexicans as Americans and they must keep all rights to any land or property they own.

Furthermore, NO WHERE in modern day history will you EVER find an occupier that has forcibly removed or chased out the native population from that territory, except in genocides (or 1 other place some refuse to open their eyes to). Pretty frustrating!!

All invaders/occupiers want the native population to continue to work the land and live so they pay taxes to the state and help the state grow. Only in genocides do the invaders wish to replace or kill the native population in order to place THEIR race on the land!

PLEASE NAME ONE STATE THAT HAS REMOVED A NATIVE POPULATION WHICH IS NOT CONSIDERED GENOCIDE. YOU WONT FIND IT. Well, 1 you will.