Monday, October 20, 2008

Pilar Rahola, Fighter

The other day Haaretz had an interview with Pilar Rahola. Unfortunately they never translated it to English, and didn't even put the Hebrew original up on their website. Freudian, perhaps, and too bad, because it was interesting.

Ms. Rahola, it appears, is a Spanish columnist. She comes from the political Left, and has an impressive pedigree of anti-establishment free thinking. A great uncle was executed for being against Franco, and the family hasn't become more docile since then.

The reason she's of interest is that one of her main themes and bones of contention with her environment in general and the Left in particular is their obsessive interest in Israel, which they see as the greatest of the world's evils, comparable perhaps only with the United States. This is not particularly novel; actually it's quite banal. Still, when it comes to her analysis, it is rather interesting, even if not new: The Left is obsessed with Israel's crimes. Admittedly, not everything Israel does is justifiable, but there is no rational proportion between Israel's actions and the criticism of them, and certainly nothing to lead to a blanket condemnation of Israel's right to exist. Nor is there any rational proportion between the bestialities of all sorts of other regimes and societies and the lack of the Left's interest in them. Most people of this sort think in shallow slogans, and know next to no facts.

When Rahola tells of personal experiences, it gets more interesting. She tells, for example, of the indoctrination in Jew hatred she imbibed in that free thinking family: think what must go on in the conformist families. She attributes the blanket rejection of Israel to this antisemitism (though this doesn't explain the parallel animosity to the USA). Most interesting, since she's a long-standing fighter, she's had scuffles with loads of people who disagree with her, but the only topic where differences of opinion have led to severing of friendships is... you guessed. Her insistence on defending Israel.

Her website is here, and some of it is in English.

Long time readers of Ruminations will have noticed that we have our own in-house example of what Rahola's talking about. We've got a self-described "progressive academic" from distant Rosario, home town of that murderer Che Guevara, who has nothing better to do with his time than to seek, and occasionally invent, Israeli misdemeanors, as justification for his theory that Israel shouldn't exist. Since even he knows there can be no rational explanation for his obsession, he has apparently even invented himself an Arab identity, to give his problems a veneer of plausibility. Yep, you guessed: our very own Ibrahim ibn Youssuf.


Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

The name is Rahola, not Rohala. Correct that.

Up to a few years ago, Rahola wouldn't describe herself as a Spaniard at all. She was a fiercely nationalistic Catalonian who founded a Party for Independence that aimed to sever all ties with Spain. Since Catalans don't like fundamentalisms, the party failed miserably. Her political career was ended, and she needed a fresh cause to devote her oversized ego to.

That's when she embraced Zionism. It was a smart move: she turned from having to struggle with real problems at home to doing lecture tours around the world before adoring Jewish audiences. That provided her with two things she can't live without: a handsome income (which she wouldn't earn either as a writer or as a noncorrupt politician) and the applause of the crowd.

Nor is there any rational proportion between the bestialities of all sorts of other regimes and societies and the lack of the Left's interest in them.

Humm, the same can be said about Palestinian terrorism. When a Palestinian killed 8 yeshiva students in March, it made headlines all over the world. When the Tamil Tigers blew up 2 buses killing 21 Sinhalese in June, no one ever learned about it because no relevant newspaper devoted a cover story to it. Discrimination against the Palestinians? No. It's simply that some conflicts draw more attention than others. And it cuts both ways.

Did a post on the subject on my English-language blog recently. Come on, don't be a fundamentalist and pay a look at it.

Anonymous said...

Ibn Yusuf shows itself despicable in two ways:

1. He argues not the substance either of Lozowick's or of Rahola's comments, but instead engages solely in character assassination.

2. I visited and read her website. She does not resemble ibn Yusuf's "protrait" at all. She sounds eminently reasonable in both Spanish and English - and makes anti-anti-Semitism only part of her views.

Anonymous said...

Well, I did look at Rahola's site, and the first thing I found was a speech called the Lunatic Left.

And what's this talk about? She recites a long list of views and actions she doesn't like about 'the left' and attributes them to a bunch of unnamed people called... 'the left'. Well to be fair, she does name a couple of live examples: the president of Spain, a mayor and a city council.

For starters, I can name some leftists who have criticized Arafat (one bone she has with 'the left' is they don't do this, you see): Norman Finkelstein, As'ad Abu Khalil, Ali Abunimah and Edward Said. And that right there is more effort in naming names than she put in that ten cent motivational speaking.

If the best she can do is caricature the left as a super-person embodying every view she doesn't like, it's safe to say I'm not picking her for the debate team.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

He argues not the substance either of Lozowick's or of Rahola's comments, but instead engages solely in character assassination.

Character assassination, like -- We've got a self-described "progressive academic" from distant Rosario, home town of that murderer Che Guevara?

Anonymous said...


All forms of "group think" rob people of their independent minds.

A very long time ago, Aristotle said that people, when they form communities, do so to "create good."

I don't agree. Groups, even those outside of religious organizations, are full of hatred. And, they literally don't allow anyone to have an opinion ... where you'd learn something ... because it wouldn't be hearing from those you like. But from those you dislike.

It's only within this negative environment that ou can even begin thinking for yourself.

But if you're tasked with having to think about groups? I don't care if they're Catholic; the premise is that somehow the "group" is special. And, outsiders are not.


Man, how long ago was it that they lost? Phillip, who was sure women shouldn't rule, spent (and wasted) his treasure on an armada. That Elizabeth's few "row boats" sunk. So, big floating things? They can go down. And, take a nation's wealth with it.

Spain? Once held the best territories in the New World. Didn't last long.

So, "over time" ... rather than worrying about one person's opinion ... is where you see great changes.

Where you might see that Spain, and her ilk, are at the bottom rung. Sharing space with the enriched arabs. But no longer creating much of anything. Seville? Now, it's a bitter orange.

What can you figure out? Beyond words, there's something called momentum. Where battles are either uphill or down hill.

But having to belong to a group? It doesn't help ya stay sane.

And, few groups even produce much in the way of a sense of humor.

I worry more about Israel's internal problems. Well? Wasn't Einstein smart enough to turn down the presidency of Israel? He knew who he was. (And, yes, he was a Zionist.) But like he said, everything eventually comes to pass. Even ideas.

Ah, except "relativity" ... that's been misused in the morals' sphere. Because? The core truth is there. It doesn't change.

I hope 1000 years from now what Baruch Spinoza wrote (back in the 1600's) ... which influenced Einstein's philosophy ... remains to be touched. It contains the core of truth ... Where "groups" haven't got an iota of an idea.

And, in time? In time even Aristotle in describing how "community" always seeks out to do good. Was wrong.

There's an equal measure of good and evil in this world. To be human is to seek this out within your own core.