Wednesday, June 11, 2003

I'd call this same old story, same old song-and-dance, but, (1) that's too jaded, even for me, and (2) it's disrespectful of the Israelis who died today.

Begin long rant... now:

Ok, I just said "of the Israelis who died today." (Emphasis added.) Golly, isn't that biased? You betcha. It's not because I think the Palestinians, or Arabs in general, are not human, not because I glory in the deaths of any group of humans (not even the Progressive Caucus), and not because I think that Palestinian civillians are more worthy of death than Israeli ones.

No, wait; actually, on that last point, I do. You see, here's the deal: Jews have been getting slaughtered for fifty years in Israel; Israeli reaction? Let's try to reason with them; if that fails, we'll beat the tar out of them. Then try to reason again. Palestinians are Jordanians (are Arabs) who lived in and near what is now Israel for fifty years. They get beat up by the Israelis and slaughtered by the Jordanians (who are still living in Jordan) for decades; their reaction? Let's kill as many Jews as possible. Then kill some more. (The Jordanians are our brother Arabs, and we love them.)

Y'see, 'round these parts, we take people at their word, and hold them accountable for their actions. I don't want to hear some screwball go on about how the Palestinians are so damned poor, so damned oppressed, that they have no choice but to spawn a society of bloodletting and pathological Jew-hatred. I'm a descendant of sharecroppers -- which is a nice way of saying "neo-slaves" in the South in Jim Crow (white and black this time!) -- and I'm a lawyer today. Wanna know why? Because my ancestors took a certain level of responsibility for their lives, pushed themselves into the ground, again and again, for their kids, and for their loved ones; that's what I'm doing today.

What that means is that they took responsibility for their lives and actions. And the Palestinians are avoiding doing exactly that. It's easier to live in a death-cult psychosis than to evict the tinpot little Egyptian who's running the place, and anyway, those damned Jews took my great-step-grandfather's shack when he ran off and joined the Jordanian army just before things got nasty in 1948. And they drink blood!

And I find deeply risible the idea that the Palestinians are blameless because their leaders (I refuse to use the word "government") have somehow poisoned their collective mind. Bull. Governments don't produce cultures, and they only marginally influence them. Governments reflect culture (they are, after all, made up of people who live in the culture). To treat the Palestinians as little, programmable robots into whom their wicked (but not as wicked as George W. Bush!!) leaders have inserted the Kill The Jews Now program is to treat those men and women as subhuman, and that, like I said, is risible at best. They are human beings, and when they choose Evil, they must be made to stand to account for it.

The whole of Palestinian society is in the grips of a psychosis. What Israel does in the Occupied Territories has sometimes crossed the line into brutality; what the Palestinians do in Israel left that line behind years ago. The Israelis agonize over what they do; the Palestinians glory in it.

It's not that Israel is perfect; manifestly, it is a small, socialist, left-wing, market-suspicious, socially-whee-liberal state engaged in what amounts to a mild colonial venture (even if it is a colonial venture born of a Hobson's choice (not a Hobbesian choice, dammit)). That the Labor party there is so damned competitive (er, was) makes my skin crawl. Likud would be the DLC here. They sometimes have racial issues that make ours look like a cakewalk.

But: Hey. No one's perfect. And there's a lot about Israel to love, not the least of which is that when badly outnumbered and outgunned, and hated by about 90+% of the world, they kick ass. Not only that: They believe in themselves, they believe that they exist for a purpose, and by G-d, they will meet that purpose. And they're not in the habit of taking shit from people, either.

And the Palestinians have... nothing of the sort going for them. (It's the JEWS!!!) But they kill a lot of folks. And cheer it on.

So I feel bad for the Israeli innocents who died, some of whom may very well have thought that occupation was a bad idea. And I find I have a hard time weeping for all (except the children -- they have no choice) the Palestinians killed today. Sorry.

End rant.

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