Going Overboard

Living in the West, one is hard-pressed to find extreme pro-Palestinians. There exist nuts like Noam Chomsky, and anti-Semites like Pat Buchanan, but they’re outside the political mainstream. In this climate, anyone who thinks killing innocent civilians is unconditionally wrong and the majority of Israelis and Palestinians would have no trouble accepting a peace agreement that didn’t shaft either side.

However, the blogosphere is hardly representative of the mainstream. It’s not left or right of mainstream, but just has a higher standard deviation from the mean; hence nuts who think either side is composed of genocidal maniacs. Now that Majikthise is being trolled by a commenter who sounds like a Little Green Football regular in reverse, I’d like to make some clarifications about the issue.

Palestine is under occupation. It doesn’t matter who the land originally belonged to; what matters is that it has 3 million people without citizenship and with very limited autonomy. The occupation is illegal and, more importantly, immoral. The same applies to settlements, many of which were created with the explicit purpose of splintering Palestinian land.

Whatever historical injustice may have been done to the Palestinians in 1948-9 is a red herring. It delegitimizes Israel to the same extent that post-WW2 ethnic cleansing means that Germany has a right to annex Posen and East Prussia. And it says nothing about Israel’s demographic future, considering that only 10% of refugees would go to Israel if given the choice.

But the most idiotic thing I’ve seen is the assertion that Israel is committing genocide, and anyone who says otherwise is a Holocaust denier. I’ve seen the word “holocaust” used for four acts: the Jewish holocaust, in which Hitler killed 6 million Jews out of a population of 11 million in Europe over 4 years; the Ukrainian holocaust, in which Stalin engineered a famine that killed 8 million Ukrainians out of a population of 30 million over 9 months; the Cambodian holocaust, in which Pol Pot murdered 1.5-2 million Cambodians out of a population of 8 million over 4 years; and the Armenian holocaust, in which the Ottoman Empire killed 1 million Armenians out of a population of 2 million over 3 years.

Since the beginning of the second Intifada, a little over 4,000 Palestinians have been killed, out of a population of 3 million. It’s bad, but calling it a Holocaust is going overboard by three orders of magnitude. A school shooting that kills 5 people is closer in orders of magnitude to that than the Jewish holocaust.

I still maintain that the best solution to the conflict is to round up the extremists in Israel who believe in ethnically cleansing all Palestinians into Jordan and the extremists in Palestine who want an Islamic state in the entire Cisjordan, and throw them into a desert island where they can kill each other over historical grudges all they like without involving 10 million civilians in the process.


6 Responses to Going Overboard

  1. SLC says:

    1. I don’t think Chomsky is really pro-Palestinian. He’s just anti-American, which translates into anti-Israel. He’s for anybody who the US Government doesn’t like and against anybody who the US Government does like (regardless of the political slant of the US government). The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    2. I would also add such Israel haters as Norman Finkelstein and Alfred Lilienthal to the list of pseudo pro-Palestinian whackjobs. (I think you got a missive from a Finkelstein relative on an earlier thread).

    3. Let us once and for all put to rest the notion that Jews from Europe invaded Palestine and ousted Arabs who had been living there for centuries. This is total bulls***. The American author Mark Twain visited Palestine in the 1850s’ and found it to be almost depopulated. TelAviv did not exist and the neighboring town of Jaffa had only a few hundred inhabitants. Jerusalem had a population smaller then his hometown of Hannibal, Mo. The overwhelming majority of the current inhabitants of Palestine, both Arabs and Jews, are decendent from settlers who arrived there in the late 125 years.

    4. One should also add the Sudetenland in the Czech Republic as an area from which ethnic Germans were booted out after WW2.

    5. To the list of holocausts, one should add the mass murder of native Americans in both North and South America by European settlers after 1492.

    6. On the issue of compensation for so-called Palestinians who exited what is now the State of Israel during and after 1948, this should be contingent on the Jews who left Arab countries during the same time period also receiving compensation.

  2. Alon Levy says:

    I’ve never seen the Native American genocide referred to as a holocaust. At any rate, most Natives who died didn’t die because of a slaughter or because of problems associated with poverty, but because of European germs. I think it was in Guns, Germs, and Steel that I read that 95% of the Americas’ native population succumbed to European diseases it had no acquired immunity against.

    I don’t view the refugee problem as one of compensation. Paying refugees who were alive in 1948 reparations will achieve exactly nothing. Given that with the partial exception of Jordan, the countries they’ve settled in have gone to great lengths to keep them poor, it’s up to Palestine and Israel, in that order, to help them, in much the same way Israel helped Mizrahi Jews after 1948 (but without anything like the subsequent Ashkenazi racism, preferably).

  3. Gil Lapidus says:

    It’s Jewish _H_oly Caust, capital haytch. The precious.

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