Saturday, February 10, 2007

Telling People Things They Don't Want To Hear

Fellow Canuck Irshad Manji fiercely condemns Israel's illegal settlements in the West Bank and other crimes against the long-suffering Palestinians, but she is also capable of defending Israel, especially against ridiculous charges that it is "an apartheid state." She points out that Arabs in Israel can vote, and are eligible for election, and in fact Israel granted voting rights to women and the poor for the first time in Palestinian history. Manji suggests that there's an important question that's extremely helpful in navigating through the weird mire of arguments about Israel: Who's willing to hear what they don't want to hear?

Elsewhere, philosopher Stephen Gimbel asks impertinent questions about how it came to pass that the Left ended up nearly incapacitated by its own contradictions in the challenge posed by the corporate-evangelical alliance in the great global-warming debates. Looking for answers, he's onto something: "Whether it was the rise of McCarthyism or a sense of displacement in their adopted home, the European scientific left stopped being overtly political. But the humanistic side, with the arrival of Herbert Marcuse, Max Horkheimer, and Theodor Adorno, continued to wage their side of the battle. With the scientific left quiet, the anti-scientific contingent won the day, largely shaping the character of the intellectual left after the first half of the 20th century."

More on the embattled "pro-science" Left in these exchanges; other stuff people don't want to hear can be readily found via Butterflies and Wheels, and in the Globe and Mail, Nigel Fisher, president of Unicef Canada, reports:

"In 2001, an estimated 30,000 Afghans (mostly children) died of measles. Thanks to an enormous increase in immunization efforts, supported by the Canadian government, measles deaths have markedly declined. More than 43,000 women are enrolled in literacy centres around the country, including almost 1,000 Kandahar-area women who recently graduated and are now able to apply for employment that was formerly beyond their reach. In 1999, under Taliban rule that banned girls from school, just 3 per cent to 6 per cent of girls were receiving an education, mostly in secret home-based schools. Enrolment increased by 30 per cent thanks to heightened efforts in 2002 and 2003, including public education, teacher training and the provision of school supplies. Despite recent security threats, enrolment levels now stand at 66 per cent for boys and 40 per cent for girls. Millions of girls and boys are now in school."

But it's an uphill grind, the CBC reports:

"Canada's military says it only has half the doctors it needs to serve in Afghanistan — 40 instead of 80. To fill the gaps, the military has been hiring local civilian doctors. In Canada, the military needs 150 family physicians, but only has 120. "There is a critical need for specialists right now, in particular in areas of general surgery and orthopedics," Lt.-Col. Randy Russell, who is in charge of recruiting physicians, told CBC News."


Blogger Steve said...

Call it an occupation or a brutal occupation if you like, but to call it Apartheid is just stupid, and changes the debate to something completly different.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Dirk Buchholz said...

Well on "Apartheid",here is the former Education Minister Of Israel,Shulamit Aloni...
" the government of Israel practises a brutal form of Apartheid in the territory it occupies. Its army has turned every Palestinian village and town into a fenced-in, or blocked-in, detention camp. All this is done in order to keep an eye on the population’s movements and to make its life difficult. Israel even imposes a total curfew whenever the settlers, who have illegally usurped the Palestinians’ land, celebrate their holidays or conduct their parades.

If that were not enough, the generals commanding the region frequently issue further orders, regulations, instructions and rules (let us not forget: they are the lords of the land). By now they have requisitioned further lands for the purpose of constructing “Jewish only” roads. Wonderful roads, wide roads, well-paved roads, brightly lit at night–all that on stolen land. When a Palestinian drives on such a road, his vehicle is confiscated and he is sent on his way.

On one occasion I witnessed such an encounter between a driver and a soldier who was taking down the details before confiscating the vehicle and sending its owner away. “Why?” I asked the soldier. “It’s an order–this is a Jews-only road”, he replied. I inquired as to where was the sign indicating this fact and instructing [other] drivers not to use it. His answer was nothing short of amazing. “It is his responsibility to know it, and besides, what do you want us to do, put up a sign here and let some antisemitic reporter or journalist take a photo so he that can show the world that Apartheid exists here?”
...Then there was Carter who spent years on the Middle East trying to build peace etc...
...then there are certain laws of the Israeli State that if they were laws of any other country but that of Israel the MSM and governments of the "West "would denounce as apartheid/'racist
...another source worth check out"independent Jewish Voices" they would beg to differ

12:05 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Again that is not Apartheid just brutal occupation if you wish, and if you insist on calling Israel an Apartheid state, then you will have to extend the courtesy to most Muslim countries which limit rights in many cases to non-Muslims, (and of course women, but that is another story).

7:27 AM  
Blogger tglavin said...

"There are certain laws of the Israeli State that if they were laws of any other country but that of Israel the MSM and governments of the "West "would denounce as apartheid/'racist."

Name one.

The fact is that Arabs, especially Arab women, enjoy far more democratic rights in Israel than in almost all Arab countries. Funny thing is I can't recall the "MSM" ever criticizing all those countries that discriminate against non-Muslims for their "apartheid" laws. Ever.

And the marriage rights you keep banging on about - if you're referring to a recently passed law prohibiting Palestinians from gaining Israeli citizenship through marriage (and I'm not offering an opinion on it either way here), it refers to Palestinians who marry Israeli Arabs, Druze, Christians and Jews.

Nothing wrong with criticizing Israel. Just get your facts right.

4:03 PM  
Blogger Dirk Buchholz said...

My claims are not based on a figment of my imagination nor on opinion.
I provided you with a couple of links,in hopes you might explore this issue a bit deeper.
Your comments and assertions puts the onus on you to back up such claims.
I am debating in good faith,any source you provide I read,at least do the same...
I am not here to convince you of anything,I am attempting to provide a perspective based on facts and real events,in a non confrontational manner in hopes that you or some of the other readers might check out the rational etc behind my "argument".
Its not about ego or trying to prove I know more than you...
If you want links to actual info on Israeli laws both in Israel and the occupied terr that back up Apartheid assertion and claims that Arabs inside Israel are second class citizens or that in the occupied terr,the indigenous pop is treated brutally indeed live in a concentration camp.Any very cursory examination of Israel will throw up reams of info.If one wants to know what in fact the true reality is one must explore all sides of the debate...

5:58 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

See what happens if a non-muslim tries to marry a Muslim in a Muslim country,? Regardless Israel is still freer than any of its neighbouring countries, Whatever Carter says, or people moaning in the Guardian.
The Palestinians could make peace with Israel anytime if they want, but instead they insist on not only fighting Israel but fighting themselves.!
Did Dirk Buchholz read Irshad Manji's piece, or is that something he does not want to hear.

6:06 PM  
Blogger tglavin said...

"Criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic and saying so is vile. But singling out Israel for opprobrium and international sanction -- out of all proportion to any other party in the Middle East -- is anti-Semitic, and not saying so is dishonest." - Alan Dershowitz.

I'm not so sure that singling out Israel for opprobrium out of all proportion to other countries in the Middle East is always anti-semitic. I suspect that in Dirk's case it's simply because the narrow band of sources he usually consults has led him to believe that singling out Israel for opprobrium is warranted.

But it is unfair and wrong, regardless.

6:52 PM  

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