First posted on my Yahoo 360 blog Wednesday July 25, 2007 - 12:20am (CDT)
I'm reading a few posts over on Liz Taken's blog, about things that are just sad and pathetic. Here are a few: "Jihad Bee replaces Terror Mouse", "A video sent from a friend", "NY times has selective memory", "Farfour Murdered in Season Finally", "Please sign this Petition (about the practice of 'honor killings'), "For anyone who thinks we can negotiate with Terrorists". "So, about what a menace the muslims are?", some will ask expectantly. No, but how interesting that this would be their take on this, especially in the case of the honor killings article because, as Ms.Taken points out, we're witnessing behavior that is in direct conflict with Islamic law. No, what we're witnessing in most of these posts is a hate movement sustained by people who are culturally Muslim; to oppose that isn't to be anti-Muslim any more than to oppose the (mostly Christian) Ku Klux Klan is to anti-Christian. What I find most interesting is not so much the existence of people like the ones Liz portrays - though they do represent a movement large and dangerous enough that they do need to be noticed - but how some supposedly compassionate Western liberals will counsel the Israelis to deal with this hate movement in their midst, basically telling them to drop their guard, give all that is asked of them and more, appeasing their enemies no matter what the cost. "Being anti-zionist is not the same thing as being anti-semitic", some will say. "We don't hate Jews, we just politely disagree with a few of them".
The thing is, I get to see a bunch of those people from a different point of view, in part because of what I am. People hear the name "Dunphy" and they instantly assume "Irish Catholic", for reasons that elude me assuming that I'm purebreed, even though one would think appearance alone would be enough to convince them otherwise. Some of these very same people seem to have a very definite, narrow image of what a Jew should look like and be like - usually either somebody looking like Woody Allen or that "Neumann" guy from Seinfeld. Short, maybe fat and bald, approaching life and its threats shaking with fear; such is the stereotype. I, on the other hand, am somewhere around 6'6", having grown considerably since I started posting, and my memory of the school bully involves me beating the living snot out of him. To these people, I didn't look the role, and that fact had consequences. I got to hear things that some might have otherwise been shy about letting me hear, and this has been enlightening.
I've heard "nice, liberal" people defending the Holocaust on the basis that "the Jews owned all of the banks". "You know what Jews are like", has been a popular one. That and more, and then, the moment that somebody who does fit the popular image of Yiddishness shows up, out has gone that rhetoric and in has come the forced openmindedness and false sweetness, generally from "nice" people politically leaning to the left of center. If you've ever wondered why I seem to feel insulted on those occasions when somebody has referred to me as being a "liberal", this is one of the reasons why. I respond to that movement, not on paper as a theoretical construct, but as a living reality, one that I've found to be hostile in a sneaky kind of way. I'll accept "Centrist" or "Conservative", depending on where the political pendulum has swung at the moment, maybe "Progressive" though our Politically Correct friends would probably feel ill at the suggestion, but not "Liberal". "Liberal" to me suggests an unwholesome blend of self-righteous hypocrisy and passive aggression, overlying well-established and weakly rationalised bigotries that are barely, if at all, concealed.
When Israeli soldiers are condemned for defending themselves against those who are "merely armed with rocks", as we're expected to be as cooperative in our forgetfulness as to exactly what the most popular means of execution has been in that region for the last few thousand years (stoning), this is not about somebody's love for the Muslims. Note the lack of general outrage among those same "sensitive" elements of the US population during the "Road of Death" incident toward the close of the First Gulf War, when all those being burned to death were guilty of was running for their lives away from a hostile army they knew they couldn't possibly defend themselves against; note how many of the victims were Muslim and note just how lonely an experience questioning that act was in the United States, at the time, not really so very long ago. No, this is about hatred of the Jewish soldiers. It is about an indirect route to homicide, as those offering the sermonettes try to get their intended target to essentially commit suicide by engaging in a course of action that he is very likely to be killed in the course of pursuing. On a larger scale, this is what is being asked of Israel, which is condemned on a regular basis merely for being somewhat diligent in her own self-defense, by a large number of "nice", generally upper class liberal people in the United States, and should the rest of us be surprised by this?
All you have to do to understand so many of them is listen, so when one hears the preaching, perhaps one ought to be willing to be "mean" enough to consider the source, remembering just how much of that "sweetness and light" is an illusion. There is, as I've said before, a hate-filled cultural movement underway, one whose supporters clearly long for a world in which everybody is exactly the same, places no value on the life or dignity of the individual and will stoop to anything to get its way, but it's not Islam. It's Modernism.