Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Arrogance of Ignorance

More from Wikileaks, via Haaretz: In November 2009 German diplomats were asking of the Americans for greater pressure on the Israelis to halt settlement activity in Jerusalem so as to bribe the Palestinians to negotiate a state for themselves (well, that's my way of putting it).
The German official is quoted in the telegram as saying that Germany believes that Netanyahu needed "to do more" to bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table. "With Palestinians in East Jerusalem getting notices from Israeli authorities that their houses will be destroyed, it would be 'suicide' for President Abbas to move under the current circumstances. Heusgen said he could not fathom why Netanyahu did not understand this," according to the telegram. (my emphasis).
Nice, isn't it. The man can't fathom, so he insists it's unfathomable, irrational, wrong, and dangerous. How typically arrogant. If the Israelis don't see the world the way we see it, they must be idiots, or worse. Never: If the Israelis see things differently from us, perhaps it might do us good to understand their perspective. Or, for that matter, the perspective of the Palestinians. Or the Iranians, North Koreans, Chinese, Salvadorians, or just about anyone in the world who may sooner or later see things differently than the way it's seen by the faraway observers who anyway have no skin in the game.

In the case of the Germans, I've been encountering this type of thought for decades: Can't you Jews see that our lessons from Nazism are that nationalism is dangerous, war is always evil and never justifiable, international law and human rights are the only tools for organizing international relations? Why don't you agree with us, you of all people? These are our lessons from the what our fathers did to yours; now that we've learned the lesson you're arguing with us about them? How can that be? What's wrong with you people?

I love it when Germans admit they can't figure us out, and then blame us for it. Though, truth be told, the Germans are not the only folks with the arrogance of ignorance syndrome.


Jon said...

I like to say "the less they know, the less they know it."

Silke said...

keep it up Yaacov!!!

this haloeing of Germany as the poster child of successful repentance has to stop

it makes us conceited, overbearing better knowers (Besserwisser)

shortly before Westerwelle came to Israel he announced in German media that he would teach Israelis what their security needs as to Gaza were.

Somehow the said diplomatically oh so clumsy Lieberman must have stopped him from doing it. At least at their mutual press conference the spin was technical problems which will be solved in the next few weeks.

Germans feeling the "wir sind wieder wer" (we are somebody again) aren't good for Israel and it isn't good for us also.


Barry Meislin said...

The Germans, for all their good intent (and one must, absolutely must give them the benefit of the doubt) seem to forget the role they played in those "unfortunate" contretemps(?) in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia in the 90s.

They also seem to exult in ignoring context (gosh, there's that word again). In other words, they seem to enjoy ignoring that the Palestinian intention is to suffer until they can erase the Jewish State. (Of course, so do most people.)

Still, it must be nice to be able to (once again) tell the Jews what they should be doing...., how they should be thinking...., how to be a moral and ethical people....

(Or maybe, just how to commit national suicide....)

One wonders if anyone in that country knows what "irony" means...

File under: "'Solace' at long last for the victims of WWII"(?)

Sérgio said...

I just can´t stomach this "you of all people" line thrown at jews, and it´s even more grotesque coming from germans. In fact, *they* (plus their european brothers) are the ones responsible for the greatest massacres ever, and have repeatedly screwed things up in their own egotist pursuits.

Now, that doesn´t mean they should self-flagellate and be hostages of the "tyranny of guilt". But neither should they try to avoid their past through schadenfreude or hectoring Israelis, embracing this most simplistic tactics as if it would solve europe´s deep troubles. They, of all people, are the ones that should try to learn something from their repeated blunders. Jews have contributed enourmously to europe and, sincerely, don´t need european good intentioned advice no more, which they can shove it up where deserved.

Anonymous said...


Joschka Fischer was the last German FM with backbone and moral integrity.

I really am ashamed of the arrogance/ignorance of Guido Westerwelle, "Gaza"-Niebel and Chrisoph Heusgen.

Highly intelligent people without a clue and a lot of unfounded arrogance an narcissm.

As the Elder of Ziyon says "morality is not an outdated concept".

Regards, André

Anonymous said...

I guess its like me being unable to understand why they wanted to reunify Germany ...

Barry Meislin said...

While one may have one complaints, whether justified or not.

(And let he/she who does not carry any emotional baggage be the first to throw stones.)

But let no one claim that the Germans do not understand compassion.

Silke said...

more on German compassion:

3 or 4 years ago during a lecture by a professor local unis send to enlighten us province bumpkins the lecturer got into a tirade how terribly his father suffered from the fear of getting detected all through his life

The local polites nodded their "how terribly we suffered".
On my interrupting him with "at least he is alive" he and they stopped but I think I became a bit of a persona non grata for the local polites.
This and my disgust combined sadly keeps me from conducting further anthropological studies.