by Howard | August 14, 2014 5:25 am
Unlike John Lennon I’m no dreamer. I don’t imagine a world where we stand together as one, at least not yet. And given the latest media assault, counter assaults, petitions and counter petitions, statements and rebuttals, allegations and denials, I have tried to imagine something a little different. I have tried to picture how we would function if the required pretense of objectivity were to be eliminated.
As many times as John Robbie repeats his mantra that he is not anti-Semitic (after all Arabs are Semites too, he says), it’s as often that he refers to “Jewish money” and Jewish organizations and infers that these very organizations control and manipulate. All this is said as though he is reading directly out of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion for Dummies”. His claim of objectivity is as valuable as mine would be. I am simply not, and nor is anyone. We are hard wired to have a view, a perspective and an outlook, and we might as well, in the interest of integrity, own it and stand by it. Because when we don’t, we lose our way.
When Robbie tells us to be as objective as he is, and to look at history as he has done in order to understand the conflict, he quite simply sounds ridiculous. When he is not comfortable with Israel being a Jewish State but is silent on every other Middle Eastern country that flaunts their religious status and violently persecutes anyone who does not subscribe to that manifesto, he reveals his perspective whether he wishes to or not. When he ignores the rockets Hamas has been firing into Israel aimed at civilians as well as the terror tunnels which have been paid for with foreign aid and when he ignores that the Hamas charter calls for the eradication of Israel, we need to understand his objectivity for what it is. When he focuses on a few dissenting voices from within the community, when his guest is so happens to be a Professor who seems to feel intimidated by the community, by life and by the facts, then his credibility must surely be challenged. Of course he is entitled to his view and of course his view is subjective. Why are we wasting so much time pretending otherwise?
What if, instead, he simply said, that he has a deep rooted and inexplicable intolerance for Israel and for Jews and especially those who throw their weight around? Perhaps it comes from a poor experience in his youth, adulthood or current position but it is actually completely irrelevant. Maybe he simply had a bad experience at one of our Kosher restaurants (its possible he ordered the Tuna but they were just out, along with steak and sweetener). What is important is that the dialogue would cease to be “is he or is he not anti-us?” and he would no longer spend so much time having to deny it. If so there would be an honest starting point and one where those issues can be addressed. Maybe if he understood that there was no kosher slaughter of Tuna that week and that it’s easier to bring your own sweetener to a kosher restaurant, he would be more understanding. What if he said that in order to justify my stance I am going to look around to find a Jew who is critical of his people because that validates what I have thought all along ?
If we didn’t need to spend so much time trying to catch the BDS acting as the wicked Jew hating organization that they are, and spent that time dealing with their other fabrications, then we all would gain so much more – if nothing else, we would save so much time. How simple it would be if they agreed that they don’t give a flying fatwa or basic burqa about the plight of the 170,000 Syrians or anyone else who is suffering, as Israel is not part of that equation, because then we could indeed have a dialogue.
Can you imagine how simple it would be if Jesse Duarte owned her racial prejudice and if Malema acknowledged that he doesn’t know where is Israel is, but slating it seemed like a good idea at the time.
And what if we acknowledged that it is hard for us to hear or integrate any form of criticism of Israel? That it infuriates us to the point of distraction and that we want to boycott the hell out of anyone who criticizes? Even if its silly to do so.
South Africa is a phenomenal place. The transition from being one of the most legislated racially prejudiced countries in the world was done through dialogue and with honesty. It started with a leader who was prepared to forgive so long as you simply “came clean” at the TRC, and the spirit has continued even with all our flaws. It’s in our DNA as South Africans and it’s a commodity worth exporting. But the first element is acknowledging who we are, that we are indeed subjective, and that we blame the Jews when there is no tuna.
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