The Big Question


By Aaron16
May 20, 2009
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The BBC 1 show 'Big Questions', recently held a very broad debate on the following quetion: Is Israel a racist state or a nation under threat. I bet you can all guess what part of that question took the majority, no sorry - all, of the air time. This though didn't bother me. Nor did the fact that the hapless audience (filled with the usual JFJFP suspects) applauded loudly and veremently every time strongly anti-Israel sentiment was used. In fact, the end comment by the pro-Israel rabbi that the 'occupation' should end didn't even bother me. What did though, was the terms of the debate; the very framework of the question. For me, this raised some pretty big questions myself.

The fact that the BBC, and the big questions team, will argue their neutrality given how they slapped the 'nation under threat' part at the end of the question says it all. In this country, the terms of the debate actually is 'is Israel racist'. I was sat watching the TV thinking to myself: the UK (supposedly, of course) has equality of the sexes. Yet, women are paid 17% less than men for the same job. Does that make the UK a sexist state? Of course it doesn't. The fact that this was aired in the aftermath of the bloody conflict with Hamas in Gaza earlier this year no doubt hanged over the shoulders of poor old Jonathan Hoffman, who had to defend Israel on very much an individual platform and received very little praise for the job that he did.

I listened to panel guests delivering the same old slogainsed rubbish like 'the right of return is racist', 'Israel displaced Palestinians and discriminates against them' and found it increasingly hard not to scream at the TV in fustration. In fact, to be fair, i did; only once the idea of Israel being aparthied came up. I heard two people in particular, whose names I cannot (and would quite frankly rather not) remember, arguing that Israel is the modern S. Africa of the 21st century. Do these people not no anything about Israel (or S. Africa for that matter)? The Palestinian people have the right to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, the right to pray, the right to practice religion (which is more than you can say for Jews in Arab countries but no-one labels them as racist), the right to an education, the right to protest, the right to strike...the list is endless. They enjoy the same democratic rights that Jews enjoy. In fact, they enjoy more rights in Israel than they do in Jordan-which is, lets not forget, the Palestinian state! In Arab countries, Palestinians REALLY do live in ghettoised conditions-put into camps and not allowed to be part of the normal day-to-day life of society. Not in Israel though. Everywhere you go, every street you take, every mosque you visit and quite rightly to. But howcome the terms of the debate are so skewed? How come the terms of the debate aren't to question the legitimacy of Hamas-a terrorist organisation. How come not ONE person managed to mention that the Palestinian government and Mahmoud Abbas only last month said that they categorically refuse to recognise Israel as a Jewish state? How come zionism is allowed to be seen as racist, when it is in fact about the wish of a people to end 2,000 years of racism and begin their right to govern over themselves?

Sadly, i've built up to a crescendo but don't have a great deal of answers. Why is this the case? Well, verment anti-zionists (which in my opinion breeds antisemitism as much as the other way around) like George Galloway don't help. I heard him on question time not long ago arguing the toss that Armadinejad didn't call for the destruction of Israel but for 'Zionism to be wiped from the pages of history', equating zionism to Russian communism to prove his point-saying that the UK's wish to destroy communism didn't mean they wanted to destroy Russia. He couldn't have demonstrated his ignorance more so. Commumism is a cross-border societal structure, Zionism is about the wish of a people to have the same right as everybody else (inc. Palestinians) to self determination. But that's the problem. Ignorance. People need a scapegoat and so they turn to those who they've always turned to: The Jews, except now it's covered up under the pretences of Israel and zionism.

I guess that all we can hope for, for now, is that the bigquestions programme raised some internal big questions in many people, about what the terms of the debate should be and why Israel should be respected for what it is; the truest democracy in the world; the only one in the middle east and the only country that stands between Islamofascism and the western world. Am Yisrael Chai.

COMMENTS

Jon_i_Cohen

Thu, 05/21/2009 - 13:24

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Well done Aaron - great blog.
BBC neutrality- what's that?
Let's hope the self- hating lefties who write under the pseudonyms of Shtekhler and Lord Reith on these blog pages read what you have written and take a moment to reflect.
The JC have also done a great job putting the video interview with Galloway on the front page of the web site, again the above mentioned need to watch this video and take it in.
Get your friends out voting on June 4th to stop the BNP who under the guise of Anti-Islam have an underlying agenda of Anti-Semitism.
Keep the bloggs coming - great work!


Lord Reith

Thu, 05/21/2009 - 17:54

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Self-hating? A meaningless concept thrown about by those for whom Israel is the be-all and end-all of their lives. Also, if I were a Zionist, I wouldn't be having ago at the BNP, since the Israeli government has an equally vicious fascist and racist party in Yisrael Beiteinu.


Aaron16

Fri, 05/22/2009 - 12:57

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'Lord Reith', please do not take this in any way other than the constructive way in which it is designed, but you evidently have very little understanding of what exactly zionism and a zionist is. If you are a zionist and therefore believe that Israel, like every country in the world including the to-be-state-of-Palestine, has a right to exist, that does not mean you agree with it's foreign policy. I criticise Israel as I have demonstrated in some of my other blogs, however, I do, as a believer in the Jewish right to self-determination believe in Israel's very legitimate claim to existence.

This is where the ignorance of British, left-of-centre views on Israel shines through. Zionists do not necessarily have to believe in the slightest way that all Israeli policy is good, just like patriotic men and women in this country don't necessarily believe that every ounce of British policy is correct and just.

I therefore, as a zionist or otherwise, have every right to criticise the BNP, since, zionist or not, my belief in the right of Israel do exist does not transpose itself into the belief that every Israeli policy is fair, equal and just.

Please, do not continue to revile the word zionism. It is about the right of a people to self-determination, not the belief in Israeli policy.


Lord Reith

Fri, 05/22/2009 - 13:41

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The question you have to ask yourself, Aaron16, is whether the Jews constitute a nation. The answer is at best murky. I suggest you wait for the English language translation of Shlomo Zand's excellent "How and When the Jewish Nation was invented" before trying to answer that.


Jon_i_Cohen

Fri, 05/22/2009 - 18:00

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oh dear oh dear!
Who is Lord Reith? it must be George Galloway, Tony Benn or one of the other left wing nutters. It'll be "The Protocols of The Elders Of Zion" next.
Zionism is simply the expression of the Jewish peoples right of return to their Biblical Homeland, nothing less and nothing more.
It is the fictiutious idea of a "Palestinan" People that needs to be questioned, no one had ever heard of a Palestinian People before Yasser Arafat, (an Egyptian) came on the scene in 1964.
Anyway, Lord Reith, (or whoever you are), rest assured in your and my lifetime there will never be a Country called Palestine, you might as well get used to the fact that Israel and the Jewish Nation are here to stay. Your misguided and ill informed propoganda is totally outdated.


Lord Reith

Fri, 05/22/2009 - 19:53

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Jon_i_Cohen, why is it the far right always have to resort to name calling? Have you no better argument?
It's simple: no Palestine means no Israel, because a Israel is unsustainable and unviable if it rules over a disenfranchised non-Jewish majority as it does now. It'll be the new South Africa.


Aaron16

Mon, 05/25/2009 - 13:53

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Lord Reith!

'Israel is unsustainable and unviable if it rules over a disenfranchised non-Jewish majority as it does now'

!!

So, you are telling me that the current state of Israel rules over a population that is not majority Jewish?

Dear oh dear, get your facts straight. In terms of name calling, you pretty much illustrate a self-defeating cause. The Palestinian people (leaving aside the issue of whether or not they are in fact a people), elected a terrorist government to power, whose very purpose and ideologoy is about antisemitic name calling and terror. Have THEY no better purpose is the real question here? If they did, then you might see the glimers of hope that resembles the to-be-state-of-Palestine. Until they do have a more productive purpose, don't expect a Palestinian state.

Furthermore, you illustrate such a narrow-minded view that in just your few small comments you demonstrate massive contradictions.

You said:

The question you have to ask yourself, Aaron16, is whether the Jews constitute a nation. The answer is at best murky

Yet you argue that the Palestinian cause is a just and unquestionable one.

I don't know whether you are Jewish or not, but you evidently have very little notion of Judaism-as both a culture and a religion. Judaism is a creed-a life structure more than a religion. Hense the reason that even in the most orthodox of rabbinical schools, the question 'do you believe in god' is never discussed. It is unnecessary. More than that though, you should also know that Judaism stems from the '12 tribes' of Israel; 12 cultures; 12 peoples; 12 groups that merged together to form a race of people whose right to rule over themselves should be equal to the right of any other people (inc. Palestinians) across time and across the world.

The issue with your argument, is that you believe everyone has a right to self-determination other than the Jews.

You don't need me to tell you what that transpires itself into.

The term 'racism' shall surfice I think.


Lord Reith

Mon, 05/25/2009 - 15:16

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So, you are telling me that the current state of Israel rules over a population that is not majority Jewish?

Yes. In Israel proper, there are 5.5 million Jews and 1.5 million non-Jews. In the area controlled by Israel there are 5 million non-Jews (3.5 million on the West Bank and 1.5 million in the Gaza Strip, which is still subject to Israeli control). That's 6.5 million non-Jews and 5.5 million Jews.

You copmplain about the Palestinians' electionn of Hamas, yet Israel also elected a group of fascists and racists to power. Do you know what the Likud, Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu stand for? They are at least as odious as Hamas.


Aaron16

Thu, 06/11/2009 - 12:18

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Hang on a second.

Firstly, it is a sad indicement on you and other left-wing radicals that you always incorporate Gaza into the equation when discussing the 'occupied territories'. It was people like you who said that the withdrawel from Gaza was both essential and key to peace. So, Israel did it. Yet, after the people of Gaza responded by electing terrorists to power, Israel did the only thing in it's power to minimise the ability of these terrorists without being called 'the occupier' or 'disproportionate' or 'indiscriminate'. It blockaded the de facto, talebinic and radical launch pad against Israel in such a way that it still provides elelctiricty to the people of Gaza, water to the people of Gaza, tax credits to the people of gaza, treats gazans in Israeli hospitals and allows huminitarian aid to go into the area. Have you seen the markets in Gaza city? Compare the fruitfullness to that of the market in Palestinian CAMPS in Lebanon, Jordan (the palestinian state) or Syria and you'll realise the bigoted, ignorant annd unfounded nature of your claims. I don't hear anyone calling the above countries racist states that use collective punishment, do you? Anti-semitic fueled isolation of Israel is not the answer and is not helpful. Furthermore to use the term 'collective punishment' soley against Israel when a) Hamas hide themselves amongst their own people and b) in the context of war (which in it's very sad nature removes the notion of 'the innocent'-as demonstrated with the British bombing of Dresden) is unfair and, again, a double standard soley inflicted on Israel. Is the same label applied to Iran, to Zimbabwe, to the Congo, to China, to Russia, to Niger? No. No it's not. I'll let you realise why.

Finally, to draw similarities between that of a government which recognises the rights of Arabs, recognises the need for a Palestinian state (if less so than the previous government), which has Arab and Muslim members in it, which upholds the Arab right to refuse conscription, which grants all the democratic benefits that Jews enjoy to Arabs in Israel, to that of a terrorist organisation which upholds anti-semitic scriptures like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, is just plain nonsense. In the words of Galloway, 'have a bit of intellectual rigor for pity's sake'.

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