Tuesday, December 03, 2013

3-Dec-13: Rock-throwing tips people over the edge. Canadian diplomat/academic shows how.

Some aspects of the bitter debate generated by the generations-long conflict between Arabs and Jews over the land our side calls its ancestral home is based on deep division over cultural, legal, philosophical and other weighty matters.

And some of it is based on foolish silliness, much of it unforgivably ignorant.

Over at the Elder of Ziyon blog, there's a post today that provides a clear-as-day exemplification of the second. We'll tell it our way since it also touches on some issues about which we have written here and which are on our minds a lot.
  • Element one: there's a war going on here, the reporting of which is almost entirely suppressed by the people who edit the news that most of us get from mainstream sources. It involves the hurling of cement blocks and often-massive rocks. It's done by Arabs, almost without exception. And it's part of a campaign of violence directed at Jews, almost without exception (except when the victims look like Jews but are not, as reported here). People have been killed, and very seriously injured. But to the extent that this reported in the mainstream media, it's often minimized via the use of such dismissive, inaccurate terms as "stone-throwing youths" and "non-violent protests".
  • Element two: as we wrote here this past Thursday night, a child - actually a toddler of two years old - was badly hurt to the point of suffering life-threatening head injuries while a passenger safely strapped into a baby-seat in the back of her parents' carFour alleged perpetrators have been arrested (see "1-Dec-13: Living with stone-age neighbors"). They come from an Arab village on Jerusalem's southern flank called Tsur Baher. The place has a long tradition of injuring passers-by of the non-Arab persuasion.
  • Element threea veteran political activist, Daniel Seidemann, was attacked last week and injured pretty badly by what he called a "well-aimed rock" to the head. And not for the first time, he says. As he writes (here), this deed was done to him in Tsur Baher. He says "I was a sitting duck. The rock was probably thrown at point blank range..." but adds "I don’t find it particularly important if he is or is not apprehended... It ends when occupation ends." [This is not the silliness on which we are focused in this post. That comes next.]
  • Element four: A Canadian called Michael Dougall Bell wrote about the attack on Seidemann in a Canadian paper, The Globe and Mail, yesterday [link but it's behind a paywall]. Hardly a mere uninformed onlooker, he teaches international diplomacy, law and politics at Canada's University of Windsor and served, in the eighties and nineties, as Canada's ambassador in Egypt, Jordan and Israel. Elder of Ziyon's report quotes Bell - against whom some serious criticism was directed in the past by advocates for Israel - saying about the vicious attack on Seidemann that "No suspects have been identified. Given established patterns, however, the likely perpetrators are ultra-nationalist members of the settler movement, the fulfillment of whose goals would be the displacement of Palestinians and the incorporation of the entire West Bank Into a greater Israel."
Image Source: Wikipedia
Bell's allegations and speculations would be serious if he had backed them with shreds of factual evidence or a modicum of logic. (Or even checked in with his friend Seidmann, which he likely he did notm just to validate before going public.)

But they're neither serious nor factual, and the logic they represent is the logic of demonizing Israel to achieve political advantage for your cause. Those "established patterns" of rock throwing by Jews exist in Bell's head, not elsewhere. (Yes, some rock-throwing is done by Jews, and is comprehensively dealt with by law enforcement agencies.) But rock-throwing by Palestinian Arabs? That's a hideous daily reality that exacts a heavy toll and the occasional successful conviction (for murder) of the rock-hurling, child-seeking cowards.

Besides, Bell's head-injured friend Seidemann makes clear in his first-person testimony that it was Arabs who sought him out (though he understands them).

Bell is likely to get more than the usual portion of vituperative criticism for his malicious column, along with claims that he acts more out of bias than anything academic or diplomatic. For us, though, the take-away message here is not how did this guy make the mistake (judgment, facts, something else) but how much harm is done daily by this kind of deadly combination of ignorance and arrogance. 

It's an ugly thing to see the fruits of a mind-set that brings a person to make hateful allegations (and not for the first time), not only without evidence but against the evidence, driven by a zeal that seems almost religious in nature. When the person happens to be a seasoned diplomat who represented his country in one of the world's most politically-sensitive regions as well as an academic of some standing and a commentator whose views get wide media exposure, that's beyond baffling. It's incomprehensible, and so is the uncritical way the major Canadian paper picked it up and published it. 

The same can be said of much of the factually-deficient commentary served up daily to people living far from here who swallow it whole without even realizing what is being done to them. Lethal journalism works that way.


YMedad said...

I mentioned your blog in my JPost blog.

This Ongoing War said...

"Together we can change the world". Thank you.