Monday, November 5, 2007

Roadblocks - 2

Since the fine folks at NGO Monitor recently thought I was against them, it's time to link to them in an approving way. A good place to look would be at their recent report on Machsom Watch - that group of Israeli women who purportedly watch the IDF roadblocks so as to ensure that the IDF troops treat the Palestinian civilians correctly. Actually, as NGO Monitor correctly notes, Machsom Watch has a much broader agenda, which includes "ending the Israeli occupation".

I myself have had a number of interactions with them which indicate that this time, NGO Monitor is quite right in its criticism. A few years ago, for example, I participated in a series of op-eds in Haaretz about how bad Israel really is (predictably, I was claiming that it's not all that bad). Since I was out there in the public eye, I received various responses, one of them a thoughtful letter from one of the women of Machsom Watch. While her tone was civil and sincere, her thesis was that she has many Palestinian friends, and part of their common ground is their mutual agreement that the IDF is to blame for just about everything. What used to be called "a useful idiot" in a different historical context.

Then perhaps two years ago Achikam and I participated together in a lecture series set up by a far-left organization that wished to educate the Israeli public about the evils of the security barrier aka Apartheid Wall. Most of our co-students were, how to say this, of mildly different political persuasions than the two of us. One memorable afternoon Achikam and I sat quietly in our chairs before the beginning of the lecture, and listened as two women from Machsom Watch told one another about the efforts they had recently gone to to somehow stage a photo of an Israeli soldier with his gun pointed at a Palestinian woman or child, and their frustration that - angles of photography notwithstanding - they somehow hadn't been able to create the incriminating photo. Achikam quoted that story often in the following weeks.


Lydia McGrew said...

I can't help wondering what sort of view of truth such people as those women have. Does it not bother them that they are trying to deceive people?

Yaacov said...

I expect they feel that there is a greater, over-arching truth, and it is that truth they serve, not the mundane one with all its details and complexities. The Occupation is Evil, for example. Colonialism is a Bad Thing. Power is Malign, while Empathy is Benign. Those Poor People of Color, and Those Evil Rich Capitalistic Hegemonic Bastards. That sort of thing.

Lydia McGrew said...

Better not let 'em get hold of a copy of Photoshop, in that case. They'd "find" their picture right away!

These ladies should work for Reuters. :-)