Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ghajar: AP Misses the Heart of the Story

The Associated Press tells that Israel's government is poised to make a decision about the town of Ghajar, and the New York Times (and others) have published AP's item.

Predictably, the story totally misses the crux of the matter: that the people who live in the town are all Arabs who have acquired Israeli citizenship, and they don't want to be in Lebanon. They want to be in Israel, at least until Israel and Syria reach peace between them (and arguably, also thereafter).

That part wouldn't fit into the meta-narrative, so it doesn't get told.

Israel Nurse wrote about this recently at length, with photos, and Michael Totten wrote some interesting background here, but between you and me: who reads blogs? AP reaches more people in a day than all the political blogs together in five years, even including Andrew Sullivan.


AKUS said...

Perhaps nothing illustrates the lunacy that is the UN more than this issue.

Now it appears that the Israeli cabinet has decided to wash its hands of the issue, perhaps wisely, and just pull out of the northern part of the town. So we have the almost comic spectacle of Arabs demanding to be incorporated in Israel - at least until, in their minds, their town is given back to Syria.

The statement said Ghajar residents reject an Israeli decision to withdraw from the northern part of the town, adding that the town's division was "just like separating the son from his father or the daughter from her mother."

Notice they are not demanding that the Southern part of the town be given to Lebanon!!

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to defend the AP article, but it seems to me that Yaakov is just as interested in enlisting this story as part of an ideological agenda as the purveyors of the "meta-narrative." In other words, while I'm not opposed to the "complicating" of the meta-narrative by including stories of Israeli Arabs who want to stay Israel or of other Arabs who admire Israel, I don't think stories like this really support the "let's-pat ourselves-on the-back-because--look!--some-Arabs-really-do-like-us" storyline that I see Yaakov and other commenters as trying to sell.

If some of the residents of Ghajar don't want to become part of Lebanon, that doesn't negate the opinions of other residents of the Golan who want to be returned to Syria. Further, as Yaakov notes, the Ghajaris ostensibly claim to want to be returned Syria as well (where is the claim that they "arguably" might want to remain part of Israel coming from?). And while the ardent desire to avoid becoming part of Lebanon might be an indictment of Lebanon, an indictment of Lebanon isn't ipso facto an homage to Israel. Moreover, the Ghajaris opinions about the fate of their own town don't, I imagine, tell us much about their opinions regarding the Palestinians or Zionism.

So yes, let's make the meta-narrative more nuanced. But don't expect me to see the focus on stories like this as anything more than a psychological palliative that is used by Israelis and ardent supporters of Israel to assuage any doubts they may have had that they may be treating other Arabs like crap.

Anonymous said...

if I got it right, then Israeli citizenship includes a kind of social health care system?

Now let's say one day I'd get a real choice to decide whether I want to remain Israeli or become Syrian.
Real choice means I can make a living equally well under both regimes and family matters don't pull me one way or another.

thus, I, as a member of the mercenary class would opt for Israel if only because I'd be smart enough to know what a difference a well functioning public health care system makes when things get tight.


Yaacov said...

Annon -

Well, that was a nice little rant. Did you get it out of your system? I ask because if you were a regular reader you'd know that I don't subscribe to the manipulations you ascribe to me. That's you talking to yourself, not you talking to me.

As for the "arguably", it comes from the fact that in past elections many of the voters in Ghajar voted Likud, which might plausibly indicate that they're voting for a party they expect won't send them back to Syria.

Which doesn't make them Zionists, of course.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't call it a rant. I admit the tone sharpened a little bit in the last sentence, perhaps unnecessarily, but ranting...?

I've read every post you've written over the past 3-4 months, so I believe I have at least a passing acquaintance with your views. And I've learned a lot in that time. As for your subscribing to "manipulations," well, I wouldn't describe them as manipulations. The mental gymnastics we all engage in when trying to grapple with a complex world full of uncomfortable truths, maybe. And while you obviously disagree, I do see in your constant criticism of the meta-narrative and attempt to show the "other side of the story" not just a commitment to truth (whose sincerity on your part I don't doubt or intend to impugn), but a--perhaps unwitting--over-correction.

Anonymous said...

would you mind to say it again with a bit less poetry mixed in?
thank you


Anonymous said...

Anon, I suspect the reason you see it as an "overcorrection", is because you are a fully paid up member of the Israel oppresses Arabs meta-narrative.


Barry Meislin said... assuage any doubts they may have had that they may be treating other Arabs like crap.

Sigh. What is it about the ignorant that they (so proudly)enjoy being the arbiters of morality?

File under: Elephants, blind people (?)