Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Thursday, August 10, 2006

An alternate view
The majority of our South African media is firmly entrenched in the Lebanese/Palestinian camp in terms of their reporting, and it comes as being quite refreshing to see an alternative view. One such comes from an op-ed piece in the M&G (of all places!), which asks the question why it is too much to even acknowledge Israeli suffering during this conflict. It also raises some interesting positions:
We all know that one-person-one-vote in the greater Palestine of 1947 cannot happen in our lifetime. The reality is that the Knesset will not be dismantled and shipped back to Poland. Israel as a state will not be eliminated. We are compelled to find a way forward lest this struggle should grow and spread like a cancer into every tissue of our world. This struggle is the key international political issue in the modern era.

But the crux of the article surrounds the antagonism against Israel:
Why is it a step too far for you to acknowledge Jewish suffering and legitimate Jewish national aspirations? While this part of the debate usually degenerates into a futile historical tit-for-tat, I just can'?t abide the '?oh please, don'?t evoke the holocaust again' argument, when the irony of Nazi collective punishment is evoked at the same time.

I cannot tolerate the ignorant and belittling equation of Israel and apartheid. I have also heard your '?echoes of silence' after Ahmadinejad's holocaust comments, and after Hamas's and Islamic Jihad's outrages on school buses and in restaurants. I note you have nothing to say of Syria'?s rape of Lebanon, and of the 1,3-million Israeli refugees -- or the fact that the faceless militia of Hizbullah has concentrated more rockets and missiles in southern Lebanon than any other army in the world -- and is using them without regard for civilians, while the IDF tries to warn civilians in advance.

But what irks me most is that thereÂ?s nothing like an Israeli atrocity to the latent South African Jewish lefties of their seders with zeder. It simply doesnÂ?t wash with me that bashing Israel is the only expression of their Jewishness, and that they count themselves in when they have an opportunity to bolster their local political legitimacy and try to dodge the Jewish = Zionist tar-brush. I guess we have an uncomfortable place in South Africa. Like all those who benefited from apartheid, the Jews have a lot to be ashamed of, but also a lot to be proud of.

Worth a read, if only for most people as an alternative view.