Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Blindness of Hatred

I've been having a discussion all day long with a man who lives in Holland. He is convinced that Israel is wrong. It actually doesn't matter about what. Israel was wrong to defend its borders last week. Of course, he doesn't call it defending its borders, he calls it attacking innocents. Israel was wrong in 1948, in 1956, in 1967, in 1973. In each war in which we were attacked, we were wrong. Always and forever, condemned by the man in Holland - for living. That really is the bottom line. If Israel exists, it is wrong.

I could have saved so much time today had I just ignored him. I should have. But every once in a while, we need this reminder of the darkness that prevails in the hearts and minds of too many.

The man from Holland is persistent - I'll give him that. He sends me a video of a Jerusalem Day celebration. Arabs and leftists took to the streets screaming against Israel and waving the Palestinian flag. What did the Israelis do? Our young men? No, they didn't throw firebombs and they didn't throw rocks. They didn't charge borders and cut fences. They sang and danced.

Yeah, they yelled too and some of what they yelled wasn't politically correct. The man from Holland sent post after post condemning Israel. I asked him about why he doesn't condemn Syria. After all, 19 Palestinians/Syrians died during clashes with the Israeli army while 120 Syrians died at the hands of their own government. The man fumbled at bit - told me I should count his posts. I did - zero.

"Any other nation would have had HUNDREDS dead - and again - WHERE are you tweets about SYRIAN BRUTALITY?" I wrote to him.

He responded by telling me that he posts in Dutch and English. I did a little Google translate of "Syria" and "Syrian" in Dutch and again searched his post (for both English and Dutch) - still zero.

I condemned him for his silence. He asked if I was hinting at the silence of Europe during the Holocaust. "I feel you want to put me on one line with all the people who were silent during the holocaust." The analogy works, I responded and so he accused me of pulling the "moral card."

When I point out that the protesters were actually mercenaries paid by the Syrian government (5 times the average monthly wage for showing up for one day of protests), his response was, "Whether they were paid is irrelevant. As are the motivations of the Syrian govt. They were unarmed, that is what matters."

When I point out that they were throwing rocks and firebombs, he excuses those as well. "Rocks against soldiers?"

Then he jumps to "if you have some time to spare, perhaps this story by an American/Israeli might be interesting" and cites a link to an American Jew who lived in Israel for a few years back in 1953 and the man from Holland uses this as proof that Israel is performing ethnic cleansing. I'm not sure where, but that's the claim.

He has decided on international borders, this man from Holland, and nothing, not fact, not international law will dissuade him. We moved to a discussion of the Israeli-Arab conflict and the Palestinians. He says Fatah wants peace. After I finished laughing a bit, I told him that he might want to listen to what they say in Arabic.

He told me to prove that what they said in Arabic was different than what was said in English. I did - citing this article by Khaled Abu Toameh
Israel's Partners for Peace: What They Say in English vs. What They Say in Arabic.

He ignored that one. People wrote to me on the side, "Don't know if u realize it but is a vicious antisemite and an enemy of Israel" Yeah, I was getting that feeling pretty fast.

There is blindness in hatred that will not listen to words and logic. The facts are there in the pictures. Did those protests on the Syrian border even resemble the colorful flag waving, dancing and singing of the Jerusalem Day celebrations? I actually didn't see Syrians standing arm in arm, singing, waving flags - not even while cursing Israel and the army.

What I saw was violence. Attempts to break through a border, throwing rocks and ignoring the warning shouts of the soldiers. What I saw was, in effect, the work of those paid to cause trouble - incited by the equivalent of five months pay ($1,000 - average Syrian salary is $200 per month).

And what I saw today from the man from Holland was a commitment to blindness. A hatred of Israel so strong it blinds him to the wrongs all over the world. All that matters is what Israel is doing. It is this blindness that allows the UN to condemn Israel easily for the deaths of 19 (10 of which apparently walked into a minefield and then get killed when another protester (or one of them) threw a firebomb that landed in the minefield and exploded.

Al Jazeera confirms the story of one young Palestinian who was shot in the waist. He says he was shot as he tried to cut the border fence. The Israeli soldiers that were shooting where snipers. If they had aimed to kill, many more would have died.

Point after point was made today - and the man from Holland returned to stories from 1953, ignored quotes on international law and continued, again and again, to blame Israel.

"Did you notice that up to now, you haven't called me antisemite yet? I however feel that you are urged to."

He's right, I am. Deep below the surface of many who hate Israel - perhaps even most, there is the ugliness that seems to be eternal. Yes, man from Holland, the blindness of hatred didn't begin in 1948 or 1967. It began in the darkest of ages and lives on in the hearts and minds of those who are not interested in international law and the legalities of the aggressor state.

Those posts that are ignored say it all. The goal is to hate, to condemn. In blindness, in anger, in stupidity, in darkness.

I'm so glad I live in a land of sunshine and light. May God bless the soldiers of Israel who fought with honor and restraint, who sleep whole and well tonight and each night because they know what they have done and what they need to do.

God bless the IDF, our most precious sons and daughters who defend our land.

3 comments:

Kaffir_Kanuck said...

You've got more patience than me, that's for sure. Thanks for sharing your argument with a Liberal, as I like to call it.

Anonymous said...

I have learned (and been taught) both as a docent at the Holocaust Museum, and as a particpant in many AIAPC Policy Conferences that it is futile to have any kind of conversation with people like this Dutch man. It is a waste of precious brain cells. They will never change, I'm sorry to say. I admire you for trying, but your time is too precious to devote one minute to someone that useless to the world...Jan

Love of the Land said...

This would be an apt description. From a piece by Barry Rubin yesterday, on "What I Have Learned In My Long Visit to America."

"...Recently, I have been involved in a number of exchanges in which I presented facts only to be told they are biased opinions. Interlocutors cited no evidence or even gave any specific examples of how what was said wasn’t accurate. They don’t have to do so any more since feeling has become truth and identity has become proof. To get them to understand that to make an argument one must have evidence, not just a personal feeling or can put a label on the person making the statement, is difficult."

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