Wednesday, January 14, 2009

red zi der wand

A while ago one "Beth of use your brains for truth" left what she considered a provocative comment on one of my posts, and wondered if I'd allow it to remain there. I responded that of course I'd let it remain; indeed, I warned Ms. Brainsfortruth, I looked forward to her future comments which I might hold up to public scrutiny for their interesting patterns.

So she didn't walk into any trap unsuspecting. By continuing to comment, she accepted the terms of engagement.

In this post I claimed that Gideon Levy is a sick man, consumed with hatred. I don't think Ms. Brainsfortruth quite understood my thesis, and perhaps I didn't articulate it well enough. Then she goes on to say:
But surely the thought that "any attempt to disband it (Israel) would result in mass suffering of millions of people, and the disruptions of millions of lives." is alarmist and reveals an interesting aspect of your pathology. The Dissbanding of Israel is not a proposal in any UN resolution (nor was it in the minds of the majority of fellow humans across the globe - however recent untenable aggression by Israel (including Lebanon 2006) may be initializing the manifesting of this very paranoid fear).
Quick synopsis: The thought that anyone might want to disband the Jewish state is alarmist and pathological; no-one advocates it; Israeli's irrational fear of this possibility no-one is suggesting makes it unacceptably aggressive.

I don't have to answer her, do I? I'm beaming a light at her not to refute what, alas, needs no refuting, but to demonstrate that there are people out there who manage to have opinions with nary the slightest connections to the relevant facts. While this is not a surprising finding, it never-the-less is an important one which needs never to be forgotten: people don't set out to learn the facts of reality and then try to understand them; on the contrary, they often start out with the understanding and then blithely disregard any facts that don't fit.

Ms. Brainsfortruth also responded to this post, in which I noted that persecution need not necessarily call forth violent revenge, nor long-term hatred: victims make the decision to wallow in hatred, seek revenge, or get on with their lives. One thing she had to say was
A people oppressed are bound to resist. A people disscounted and bullied are bound to avenge their suffering. A people restored of their rightful dignity and sense of home are usually [...] less interested in violence and overblown rhetoric.
(I admit, I pruned her sentence a bit to make it clearer). This is a prefect example of deciding you know what the immutable laws of history are, and fitting reality into them (or not seeing reality at all).

Of course, there are no immutable laws of history, except perhaps that we'll all die and the taxman will help us on our way. History isn't physics, because history is the sum of the actions of people, and people make decisions. Sometimes they act rationally. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes it's impossible to know what rational is or isn't. I mean, look at Juan Cole and Ms. Brainsfortruth, and then look at me. We all live at the same time, but we see different realities and respond differently. How are you going to articulate a law that will explain all our decisions?

So Ms. Brainsfortruth has a weak grasp of historical (and contemporary) facts. She has a touching belief in neat explanations of human history that also serve as guideposts to a better world; behave as the laws indicate and the world will be all fixed. She also has a breathtaking lack of perception of human nature. I had mentioned how the survivors of the Shoah, the world's worst genocide, had jointly decided, hundreds of thousands of them simultaneously, to refrain from revenge and get on with their lives; within a few decades they and their children had even largely forged reasonable relations with the society of their tormentors. To which Ms. Brainsfortruth responded with
Do you think that perhaps the worldwide villification of the nazi regime (and their defeat and removal from power), plus the rightly conducted war crime trials at nuremberg had a hand in tempering the hate against the germans?

From 1945-49 those who had persecuted and inflicted great horrors on fellow human beings were arrested and charged as outrageous criminals, those who had supported them were made to see the error of their ways (and still are to this day), and the jewish people were dignified with the recognition of needing a homeland. (Tho admittedly the way in which this last item was achieved could have been handled much more intelligently)
Well, actually, Ms. Brainsfortruth, no, I don't think that. There are lots of reasons I'm in disagreement with you on this, all of them stemming from knowledge of the facts, but I'll only point out a few of the more obvious.
1. The trials at Nurenberg had nothing to do with the Nazi crimes against the Jews. No one was indicted for murdering Jews, nor was anyone convicted for that particular crime. Go read the historical record. The first Nazi criminal ever put on trial for the Holocaust was Adolf Eichmann, in 1961... in Israel. Much of the world was furious at the time that the Israelis had kidnapped him from Argentina (contrary to international law). Honest.
2. All in all, from 1945 till 2009, the number of Nazi war criminal convicted for murdering Jews in Western countries is lower than 750. Few of them spent much time in jail. The number of Nazis estimated to have participated directly in the Holocaust is well over 100,000.
3. The international recognition of the Jewish right to a homeland, in 1947, was a stingy offer, for a state truncated into three separate sections, surrounded by countries determined to destroy it at day one. Most observers at the time, expected the Arabs would destroy the Jewish State immediately. In other words, the "jewish people were dignified with the recognition of needing a homeland." as you put it, were being set up to be murdered. In the end they didn't allow that to happen, true, but not for lack of trying by the Arabs, and collusion by the rest of the world that embargoed arms shipments so the Jews wouldn't be able to defend themselves. The exception was the almost-Soviet-controlled Czechoslovakia.
4. Read your assertion again. Can your mind hold the thought that hundreds of thousands of people whose entire world had been murdered, and they themselves had been tortured for years, would find solace in "worldwide vilification of the Nazi regime"? Mine can't. I think this is because I have greater respect for human beings and their complexity than you do, which is why I took the time to point it out. Your positions regarding Israel, to get back to our original topic, are based on an extraordinary lack understanding of the human condition.

PS. red zi der wand means talk to the wall.


Anonymous said...


Is this the "truth prize?"

People carry opinions from all over the map. What I find much more interesting is how silence befell the Olmert/Rice/Bush spat. And, how easy it was for the lies to fly.

I also see that POLITICS has entered the fray. And, Livni and Ehud Barak, are going crazy trying to "appease" the peace camp.

What does this "peace camp" look like? Well, Jimmy Carter just came out and said "the tunnels in gaza are defensive." Here, in America, it was one of those things that gave people a laugh. And, then the picture came along to join this. He stands in a group of "5 living American Presidents." Off to the side. No one chatting him up. And, then? Bush thinks he has the last word. Obama, instead, speaks. And, so does Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton's remark is that he "just loves the carpet."

In other words? Jimmy Carter gets no serious traction.

I'd bet right now Olmert would give a lot to have Bibi working with him in the Defense Minister's chair. But alas was never able to attract him into government.

Democracy is "funny" that way.

You get to work with what you have, and not what you want.

And, on February 10th Israelis are going to have to sort all of this out.

You say you're concerned about Obama? Maybe, you're right.

But from history, where you can see both Lincoln and FDR were the surprises who came into office during America's toughest time ...

I can only wish you, ahead, a better government. No. I don't blame Olmert! But I do blame politics.

And, how quickly the truth is silenced.

Thank goodness I was taught life's not perfect.

We need to make the best of what we have.

And, one thing in the future that would be very nice is that those who come to comment ... come in larger numbers.

Here, just for fun. I said I started reading Jonathan Alter's THE DEFINING MOMENT. About FDR's first 100 Days. So, I'll quote from page 82 first.

"In 1932, fascism was socially acceptable and even a little trendy."

And, here I'll back-track to the beginning: Starting on the bottom of page 5:

"Within a few years, "ictator" would carry sinister tones, but -- hard as it is to believe now -- the word had a reasssuring ring that season.* (Following FDR's election in November 1932; and his swearing in that's coming up. March 1933.)

So did "storm troopers," used by one admiring author to describe foot soldiers of the early New Deal, and "concentration camps," a generic term routinely applied to the work camps of the Civilian Conservation Corps that would be established by the summer across the country. After all, the Italian Fascist Benito Mussolini, in power for a decade, had ginned up the Italian economy and was popular with everyone from Winston Churchill to Will Rogers to Lowell Thomas, America's most influential broadcaster. ""If ever this country needed a Mussolini, it needs one now," said David Reed of Pennsylvania, outgoing President Hoover's closet friend on Capitol Hill."

Personally, I bet the joys of being a historian is coming across these facts which time buries.

Up ahead? If you think what you say now will be registered, I'd beg to differ. In the future there will be people who will dig hard, to uncover what went on below. What the politicians were up against. And, what they also tried to do to stay politically viable.

Bush on his way out just disgraced himself! He thought Olmert made an easy target! While the UN is a bastardized organization which tries to swing its weight around ... but it doesn't have within it the personnel who can order guns to be fired. It doesn't have what it would need "to take over." It just has this crazy record; where power loses luster. (And, Condi, in her "voting present" instead of "no" ... reduced America's powers at this table.) She's lame. Bush walks away with a 34% approval rating, in a poll Drudge put up to view.

And, whatever else the hype, at least the saud's don't control Iraq, or syria. The sunnis haven't had to tell the truth. But if you learned it, you'd faint.

In other words? Saddam was no worse that Haniyeh. Or other arab potentates. There were no WMD's. And, Bush LIED. Plus, his dad did, too.

In other words? Back in 1991, the Kuwaitis instigated Saddam to respond. Because they had drilled in sideways into Iraq's oil supplies. STEALING WHAT THEY COULD!

All the BS of Gulf War I would astound you! But, instead? The military incursion was successful.

Bill Clinton's 8 years were successful.

And, Dubya wanted revenge. In 1998, he got Bandar's support. And, saudi money.

Then? The saud's were surprised at the 2000 outcome. It slowed things down a bit. So they gave us 9/11.

And, they've escaped all responsiblity.

If you think this is about some guy in a cave who is related ... fuhgetaboutit. It has much more to do with the hijacking of islam by the sauds.

And, try to guess for how long this stinkeroo remains hidden?

Sure. I'm curious.

But the truth comes out ahead. IN THE FUTURE. Even if it takes one hundred years.

Anonymous said...


I don't know how you come upon "new" information; but I love reading books.

By accident, I just found Daniel Levy's blog. And, his most current piece is a review of MARTIN INDYK's book, INNOCENT ABROAD. (His book came out in Hebrew last summer. So perhaps you're familiar with it?)

Indyk is very close to both Clinton's. He's close to both Clinton's. And, will be on Hillary's team as she assumes her Secretary of State duties.

Within Levy's review, he tells of Bill Clinton's FURY at Ehud Barak! (I've ordered the book from Amazon.) But this quote comes from his review:

"Indyk's recounting of Israel and Syria's attempts at a rapproachement makes for some compelling reading. The not inconsiderable (although not exclusive)blame Indyk assigns to then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak for the failure of those talks has already caused a stir in Israel, where the Hebrew version of Innocent Abroad was released last summer. His blowby-blow account of the Israeli-Syrian process, in particular from 1999 to 2000, of the summit at Shepherdstown, and of Clinton's fury at Barak for "gaming him" is riveting.

When Israelis go to vote on February 10th will Barak's behaviors lead to his staying behind in the polls? Labor was in such bad shape before Olmert chose to intervene in gaza ... that it makes me wonder how the Israeli public deals with all of this?

Those are the discussions I'd like to see popping up on blogs. Just in case anyone out there has an opinion to share.

Anonymous said...

I beg to correct:

The number of Nazis estimated to have participated directly in the Holocaust is well over 100,000.

It should read:

The number of GERMANS ...
I am sure you did not need to be a Nazi to participate - a lot of participants in for example the Wehrmacht certainly did so due to peer loyalty.