Friday, November 7, 2008

Rashid Khalidi, Holocaust Victim

As regular readers will be aware, I hold a rather low opinion of Ms. Dianne Mason, author of the Lawrence of Cyberia blog. A while ago I spent some time reading her and posted my findings here, but since then I don't think I've gone by her blog even once. Life is too short.

Yesterday I wandered by again, accidentally, and found this. It's worth commenting on because of its neat sleight-of-hand.

Mason starts off by telling about how when she was a kid she enjoyed the documentary series "World at War" (So did I, as a teenager. It was magnificent. The BBC at its best, if I remember correctly). She goes on to tell of a Dutch factory foreman:

He recalled how the first test he faced came when he was presented with a form to fill in, requiring him to list how many of his colleagues were Jewish.

As the foreman looked at the paper and wondered what to do with it, it dawned on him that actually – as far as he knew – none of his colleagues were Jewish. You could tell what a relief that realization had been for him, and how glad he had been to be able to write “zero” in the “how many Jews” column and return the form without having gotten anybody into trouble. But at that point in the interview, the foreman suddenly stopped. He said “of course, I shouldn’t have done it…”. He was overcome with emotion, and struggled to get out the next words, “I shouldn’t have filled out the form at all”.

I remember that at that point in the program, I didn’t have a clue what was going on. As a child, this all seemed really odd; first, because it was unusual to see a grownup crying, and second because it seemed to me that he hadn’t harmed anybody because he hadn’t ratted anybody out. I think I understood that he was saying something important – otherwise why would the memory of that interview have stayed with me all this time – but it must have been years before I really understood what that something was.

That Dutch foreman was saying that the only principled answer when the occupation authorities asked him “How many Jews work here?” was: “It’s none of your business how many Jews work here.” To provide a number in answer to the question – even when that number was zero – was to accept the premise upon which the question was based, i.e. that it was legitimate to differentiate between his workers on ethnic/religious grounds. For someone who claimed he rejected the Nazis’ racial categories, writing “zero” in the “How many Jews?” column was no less a moral failure than writing “One”, or “Ten”, or “One hundred”.

So far, so good. Any reasonable person would have to agree with Ms. Mason on this, which is what she expected, and the power of her argument is that when she gets around to flipping it in an anti-Israeli direction, we'll either have to backtrack and disagree with what we agreed with just now, or we'll have to admit she's making a fine point:

And when Obama was accused of consorting with terrorists because of his acquaintance with Rashid Khalidi, people defended him by saying that "McCain does it too" or complained that the accusation was "guilt by association". And that's the worst answer of all, because it reinforces rather than challenges the underlying premise that there is some guilt in being associated with an Arab or a Muslim or a Palestinian.

I’m not going to go into the whole “Obama has the wrong friends” issue. Politicians have multitudes of “friends”, and the better politicians have large multitudes of them; I’m more interested in what Obama will do than the people he has known. But Martin Kramer has demonstrated that Khalid Rashidi was recognized as a PLO spokesman in Beirut in the mid-1970s, at a time when the PLO violently rejected Israel’s right to exist, and in the meantime engaged in mass killings of Lebanese Arabs.

So Mason is making the following comparison. The Nazis unilaterally defined the Jews as worthy of persecution, irrespective of anything the Jews were doing, had ever done, or might ever do; the only truly decent thing to do was to object to this Nazi way of seeing the world by refusing to attribute anything of the sort to the Jews, or to go along with any type of singling them out. So also with Khalidi: the fact that he’s an Arab or a Palestinian should never be a reason for our reproach or even for our accepting the reproach from others.

The problem with Khalidi of course isn’t his ethnic identity. It’s his actions.


Anonymous said...


To be a politician means you're going to be comingling with people who are worse than dogs.

Perhaps, it's better to remember FDR, here? I say this because Obama WON on his youth and his temperament. And, FDR had "good temperament" in spades. Now, for spades, we have the "real deal."

As to the Nazis, they just took advantage of the teachings that started with the Catholic Church. But didn't end there.

In every generation, while in Europe, Jews were attacked.

as to the arabs using nazi tactics, see if I care? You can usually find the bottom of the barrel at the bottom of the barrel. Scrape away if you want to. I think it's just a poisonous stink.

We're passed the Holocaust now.

But not past the point where Jews are still accused of "being different." Which is true! And, still causes plenty of christians to plotz.

Of course, Obama's election is also causing them heartburns. Again, see if I care.

What's the real deal?

Well, today, I saw Netanyahu "guaranteeing" to Obama "he's a man on a peaceful mission." New tune. Same old geezer.

How will Israel deal with her arabs? Where she increased the numbers of arabs by winning the Six-Day-War, and extending territory. Of course, some of it given back (to Eypgt) in the name of piss. Still pissing from that gyser, if you asked me.

Will Obama "concentrate on Israel?" If you think this, WHY? Our economy's in the shit hole. It's not as if you can "just fix this" ... and spread enough wealth (or funny money) around ... so that people who are now short of cash; get "spending money. And, then some."

So Obama is walking into big problems. CREATED BY DUBYA !

I suspect that Dubya's legacy is gonna get trashed. That's the nature of politics. Just as Joe Lieberman is finding out what a small man Harry Reid is, indeed.

Of course, there are republicans still seated in the senate. And, Lieberman is still there, WITH McCain. And, while the "force" looks weakened ... it's possible the democraps will follow the smallest path they can find. And, not change the way they do business.

In the past? The way the donks did business gave Americans a taste of the crazy right wing nutters, supplied by the GOP.

Just because you hear these tunes, doesn't mean today's kids PLAY these tunes. It could be a head trip for very old, and tired, people. Those on the way out the door?

By the way, Rahm Emanuel, who, with his family settled in the South Side of Chicago ... so he's been a good friend of Obama's, thoughout Obama's career trajectory ... is also "israeli" by birth. All this means is that it's being said Rahm Emanuel is a cross between "a hemmerhoid and a toothache."

Pretty typical behaviors from "in your face" Israelis. That also fits comfortably in politics.

Will Rice be dancing at Obama's ball, ahead? Only if the whole issue is a "throw away." And, like magicians, where you try to follow their hands; instead you see "magic."

Folks, there ain't no magic in this world!

As to name calling, it's a FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT! Do you know why? Well, early on, in America, our Founding Fathers discovered that if you just let speech "hang out" ... and people can and will say "anything." As long as people aren't punished ... you get safety valves.

It's odd. But with speech you don't get hurt.

With governments that attack innocent people? You get Darfur. The current Holocaust. So, it goes to show it can happen to anybody that's weak, if governments are designed by Karl Marx, and his ilk. THUGS ON PARADE.

Politics is such a pool ... that you can expect Mafia like behaviors coming from the inside. In America, however, we've shown that when democracy is as big as the ocean; all that spitting just dissolves.

Obama ahead? Well Dubya's making sure he "inherits the wind."

And, until the economy is fixed, all the other stuff is just a waste of time.

On the other hand? Up close and personal, the settlers can't lay claim to territory! One day? They can discover chalk lines drawn around their "outposts." And, then? They'll say "hello" to the new entity. It won't be part of Israel. Israel's borders will be secure, though!

All religious nutters can stay on the opposite side of common sense.

Anonymous said...


Yes, me, again.

Yesterday, I read a piece by Christopher Hitchens, defending Khalid Rashidi. And, pointing out for how many generations his family has lived IN THE SAME PLACE, in Jerusalem. But now "a bunch of guys from Brooklyn" are laying claim to his home.

As to the Dutch Foreman, I'm reminded of something Nancy Reagan once said about the press. She usually got very lousy press. And, she said "she didn't think of clever retorts until she was in her bath, afterwards." Most of us are like that.

I doubt very much that the Dutch Foreman wasn't in fear of his life. Given how little respect for life the nazi's had. So, in fear, he still came up with the perfect answer.

Later? He's got an imagination that raced away with common sense.

We're not called on, by the way, to "fight battles." Most humans do well to live in environments where it's safe to go outside. And, not fear the Huns.