Worth a read

Israel is not my favorite topic and Peter Beinart is certainly not my favorite writer, but this New York Review of Books piece is gutsy:

Morally, American Zionism is in a downward spiral. If the leaders of groups like AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations do not change course, they will wake up one day to find a younger, Orthodox-dominated, Zionist leadership whose naked hostility to Arabs and Palestinians scares even them, and a mass of secular American Jews who range from apathetic to appalled. Saving liberal Zionism in the United States—so that American Jews can help save liberal Zionism in Israel—is the great American Jewish challenge of our age. And it starts where Luntz’s students wanted it to start: by talking frankly about Israel’s current government, by no longer averting our eyes.

A good start would be to stop describing neoconservatism as “pro-Israel”. Facilitating irrational, suicidal behavior is not normally considered supportive.

95 replies
  1. 1
    mikey says:

    A good start would be to simply treat Israel as another in the pantheon of nations. A non-signatory to the NPT and the number one contributor to the Mid East arms race.

    A high energy, bustling democracy with much to recommend it, but no more get-out-of-jail-free cards. They are certainly entitled to defend their nation, but bombing civilians and starving children should not be accepted by ANY nation. Collective punishment IS a war crime.

    And it’s time for Israel to face it’s future squarely. What will you be? There are three choices.

    1. A cooperative neighbor in a community of nations that includes a viable, healthy Palestine.

    2. A democratic state that enfranchises all it’s citizens. This might very well lead to a healthy, thriving democratic Israel, but it won’t be an exclusively Jewish state for very much longer.

    3. A Jewish police state with an apartheid policy towards it’s non-jewish and arab peoples. If you have stateless people who are denied their basic rights and have no recourse, no vote, no voice, no hope, you have an apartheid state, no matter how viciously you rail at the designation. And that will be, ultimately, the end of Israel.

    Survival isn’t always predicated on aggressive, proactive violence. Sometimes, your best hope of survival is to embrace your enemies…

    mikey

  2. 2
    TR says:

    A good start would be to stop describing neoconservatism as “pro-Israel”. Facilitating irrational, suicidal behavior is not normally considered supportive.

    Yeah, they’re a good friend of Israel in the same way the guy who buys a case of scotch for an alcoholic is a good friend.

  3. 3
    DougJ says:

    @mikey:

    Survival isn’t always predicated on aggressive, proactive violence. Sometimes, your best hope of survival is to embrace your enemies…

    Hippie.

  4. 4

    A good start would be to stop describing neoconservatism as “pro-Israel” let go of the belief that several thousand Israelites have to bite the big one in order to fulfill a particularly bizarre and incomprehensible vision of the Apocalypse.

    You’re welcome.

  5. 5
    argo says:

    Much fap about nothing. AIPAC could give a rat’s ass. Sharon drove the pathetic PLO into the sea, and Israel has engineered every vacuum that created better enemies. Liberal American Jews will keep sending their money, and their kids will keep getting indoctrinated in summer camps.

  6. 6
    Mike in NC says:

    Ah, but what has Charles Krauthammer have to say about this?

  7. 7
    Punchy says:

    DougJ is an anti-semetic. I’m not sure how or why, but mearly writing about Israel makes him a Hitler fan.

    goodwin in 5 comments and hyperbole to boot. Job done.

  8. 8
    El Cid says:

    At least they kept Chomsky out, because, you know, freedom and democracy and all.

    Prof Chomsky said the officials were very polite but he was denied entry because “the government did not like the kinds of things I say and they did not like that I was only talking at Birzeit and not at an Israeli university too.”
    __
    He added: “I asked them if they could find any government in the world that likes the things I say.”

  9. 9
    Mark S. says:

    @mikey:

    They’ll pick 3. I’ve given up hope they’ll ever do anything else.

    That was a good article, and one of Peretz’s boys will undoubtedly have a smear job up tomorrow. I found it interesting how different American and Israeli Jewish youth see the situation. Israel is getting a helluva lot more orthodox, which doesn’t bode well for the future.

  10. 10
    Yutsano says:

    @Mark S.: Israel is getting more orthodox because of the crazy system in their elections. Basically, to get anywhere you have to agree to a certain set of principles that are more or less orthodox Zionism or you’re a marginal party at best. So in order to get any ideas enacted you sell your soul to the Devil and go along with whatever orthodox craziness is du jour that week. They really need another election, Likud really is only hanging on by a thread as it is and Kadima actually has the largest chunk in the Knesset. Although I’m scared if it happened now Shas would get the majority.

  11. 11

    I would not blame the Israelis if they held a cynical view of Americans in general. Israel’s most rabid defenders in the US want to use that country for their own ends.

    Some of the American Zionists plan to offer up the whole state as a sacrifice in order to bring about the Second Coming. Since God by definition is omnipotent, why can’t he come and go as he pleases? Why does He need the help of the Religious Right? And if he is goaded into action by human sacrifice, He isn’t much of a God, is He?

    Some of the US Zionists have been infected with Visions of Empire. Apparently this infection drives people nuts, like gold fever or something. They lose all perspective. More land! More land! More!

    Then there are Jewish Fundamentalists, who are so damned righteous that they don’t bother with doing what is right. How could anyone so pure be wrong about anything? As long as they wear their blue threads, they can do what they damn well please. And what they please to do is not live in reality.

    All of these groups [and probably others] want to use the country of Israel to chase after their favorite fantasies.

    With friends like that . . . . .

  12. 12
    ellaesther says:

    This, This, This, This, This!

    Yes, as a liberal American-Israeli Zionist, I most heartily agree.

  13. 13
    Violet says:

    From the article:

    The philanthropists wanted to know what Jewish students thought about Israel. Luntz found that they mostly didn’t. “Six times we have brought Jewish youth together as a group to talk about their Jewishness and connection to Israel,” he reported. “Six times the topic of Israel did not come up until it was prompted. Six times these Jewish youth used the word ‘they‘ rather than ‘us‘ to describe the situation.”

    Change out “Israel” with “Mexico” and “Jewish” with “Latino.” And then imagine how conservatives’ heads would explode if this kind of thing happened with the Mexico/Latino group.

    Why is it a good thing for American Jews to look at Israel and think “us” but it’s a terrible thing for American Latinos to look at Mexico (or another Latin American country) and think “us”?

    Is it really so bad that American youth look at another country and think “them”? Isn’t that what conservatives want?

  14. 14
    ellaesther says:

    @Punchy: Wow. I doff my Semitic cap.

  15. 15
    El Cid says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    Some of the American Zionists plan to offer up the whole state as a sacrifice in order to bring about the Second Coming. Since God by definition is omnipotent, why can’t he come and go as he pleases? Why does He need the help of the Religious Right? And if he is goaded into action by human sacrifice, He isn’t much of a God, is He?

    In American Talibangelicalism, there’s often a view that God must consider humans worth of His intervention, and therefore the Ultra-Christianists must demonstrate here on Earth their willingness to help prepare for God’s arrival, blah blah blah…

  16. 16
    ellaesther says:

    @El Cid: The one thing I like about the Chomsky nonsense is that it draws attention to the fact that Israel has the West Bank under lock and key, too.

    Compared to Gaza, the situation is less-awful, but it is still awful, and still insidious.

    Also, too, may I just add: I don’t personally like Chomsky much. I think that his ME scholarship is lazy, his conclusions too pat, largely because he is too certain that he’s right to apply the same kind of rigor to his own thinking that he demands of others.

    And yet he should be free to speak wherever the hell he damn well wants to. Good God.

  17. 17
    kay says:

    @mikey:

    The Right wing uber Zionists probably have to stop winning elections on this, both here and there, before there’s going to be any change. We keep telling them it’s not working, and it’s not, but in one really important way, maybe the only important way, it’s working just fine. They’re politicians, duly elected. They’re not defying the will of the people. They’re proudly running on this. When it stops winning elections, it stops, and not a moment sooner.

  18. 18
    Will says:

    Good on the American Jewish kids. One of the nice things about America is that it allows immigrants to leave the bullshit from the Old World behind.

  19. 19
    Mark S. says:

    @Violet:

    Good point. It’s weird how conservatives hate damn near every country in the world except Israel, which can’t do any wrong.

  20. 20
    Eric U. says:

    @El Cid: plus the Bible says that the war has to start by all the Israelis getting killed, and so the Christianists like to keep things boiling in the ME and the Israelis well armed. At least that’s the way I remember the story.

  21. 21
    El Cid says:

    @ellaesther: Lots of people don’t like Chomsky. I really do, for my part. But if I want actual scholarship on the Mideast, of course I don’t turn to him — he’s an essayist, a ‘public intellectual’, an astoundingly brilliant and well-researched one, but only occasionally is he claiming to produce a first-order study. He quotes many of those studies, and his selection of which ones seem relevant and how to interpret them often matched quite closely with real scholars in such fields. Many of whom couldn’t stand him, of course, in part because the use and debate of such works weren’t taking place within the field of academic discourse.

    The same was true when he wrote on the U.S.’ death squad campaign against Central American civilians in the 1980s, while sane liberal types such as Michael Kinsley were saying we just needed to keep paying Guatemalan and El Salvadoran death squadders to slaughter civilians until they got the message.

    He has deeply inspired my curiosity about many, many topics and often given a really worthwhile overview which endures long after seeing more particular and local interpretations.

    It’s a weird debate to have, because the worthless, lazy shit-heels hired to yammer on in our billion dollar media would rather scream about how Chomsky is some wild eyed radical extremist while their publication or show spends months helping cheerlead their nation into a murderous war of aggression, and then afterwards say ‘oops’ and keep complaining about how people like Chomsky are crazy paranoid radicals for suggesting that our major ‘news’ media could ever be succinctly described as a ‘propaganda model’, ’cause, that, that would be, you know, silly. Plus Bill Keller and all said they were sorry about that whole Iraq thing, and sort of about the fake ACORN story.

    Isaac Asimov wrote over 500 books, most of them nonfiction, including a lot of Shakespeare, and history, and science topics, but I never confused him with the people doing the actual research.

  22. 22
    Fern says:

    @mikey: Since it is way too late for a viable, healthy Palestine, the options are somewhat reduced.

    Given demographic trends I don’t understand how Israelis expect to have a Jewish state once they have finished their current tactic of annexing Palestinian land.

    Which pretty much leaves option three.

  23. 23
    New Yorker says:

    @Violet:

    Or to put it another way, why is it OK for much of Congress (GOP or Dem) to side with the leader of a foreign country over our own President (as many did with Netanyahu over Obama during the recent dust-up)? Do you think if a spat ever broke out with the Prime Minister of the UK (our oldest and closest ally) that anyone in Congress would dare side with the British?

  24. 24
    mikey says:

    @kay: Indeed, you speak the truth. The madness runs deep, just take a look at the unhinged and frightened screeds from Hillary. Why are we so desperately afraid of Iran?

    Why, because in order to implement policies your population doesn’t support you need an existential enemy. And it’s horrific that logic isn’t part of the calculation…

    mikey

  25. 25
    BethanyAnne says:

    @ellaesther: Yea, I liked Chomsky when I was younger. My path sorta went: Rand then Chomsky then “Hey simplistic on either side is annoying”.

    As for Israel, they deserve their shitty government about as much as we deserved the Bush years. But I can’t imagine it getting better.

    I don’t know the history in enough detail. Israel has a sizable Arab minority that are citizens, yes? Do any of them participate in politics? Have any Arab parties ever been a part of the governing coalition?

    I don’t know how to form this next thought right, I think. I’ma say it muddled, and hope it comes out vaguely clear. What little history I know has taught me that the nonsense about Jewish folk is just that, nonsense. Just another tribe of poor bastards that have been shit on at some points in history, and are willing to be the ones behaving shitty when they are on top. Neither more nor less than any other subdivision of humanity that we persuade ourselves is real. I don’t buy any notion that they are special, either in a negative or positive light. Both notions just strike me as damnfoolishness.

    Anywho, I gots to buy groceries.

  26. 26
    El Cid says:

    @New Yorker:

    Do you think if a spat ever broke out with the Prime Minister of the UK (our oldest and closest ally) that anyone in Congress would dare side with the British?

    If the spat were between Obama and Cameron, then, yes, every single Republican would side with Cameron.

    They might even put on their Revolutionary War cosplay outfits and hold up Obama=Hitler signs while they’re doing it.

  27. 27
    cmorenc says:

    Until someone caught in an addiction to self-destructively pathological behavior hits bottom hard enough to unavoidably confront the inescapable need to change or else die or at least face irretrievable ruin, they regard people who act as supportive enablers as friends and people who try to force them to take a healthier direction as enemies.

    When you firmly believe your most important enabler is God himself, whose word says that your behavior is only following the righteous will of God, you suffer from a near-unbreakable delusion, especially when to your view, God himself is helping make your behavior successful. If it’s God helping you, who is it that’s behind your sharp critics who would have you act counter to the will of God?

    This ultra-orthodox Zionism thing is going to be a tough nut to crack, so long as the proportionatley modest Jewish voting population in the US can successfully exact enormously disproportionate impact in elections, whether through voters in key states like Florida or wrt wealthy donors to candidates.

    As the mice discovered, it’s a splendid idea if someone would bell that cat, the catch is, just who is going to undertake to bell that cat? The last US President who arguably took on Israel and AIPAC was George Bush, Sr, and see how well that worked out for him. Of course, he lost to Clinton in 92 due to numerous other important factors, but the loss of some key Jewish support was nonetheless an important contributor toward that loss.

  28. 28
    de stijl says:

    Israel stared into the abyss. The abyss looked back.

    I hope that Israel looks away.

  29. 29

    @New Yorker:

    I blame it on Commentary, whose existence distorts the debate quite a bit I think.

  30. 30
    SGEW says:

    If it wasn’t for Chomsky, I might have taken Ayn Rand seriously when I was thirteen. Chomsky saved a lot of adolescents from evil unethical philosophical choices.

  31. 31

    @cmorenc:

    The last US President who arguably took on Israel and AIPAC was George Bush, Sr, and see how well that worked out for him. Of course, he lost to Clinton in 92 due to numerous other important factors, but the loss of some key Jewish support was nonetheless an important contributor toward that loss.

    Considering, among other things, that American Jews have been heavily Democratic voters for some time, is there any actual evidence for this proposition?

  32. 32
    New Yorker says:

    @El Cid:

    I dunno. Cameron is a defender of the NHS in Britain and thus is worse than Pol Pot to the wingnuts.

    Now, if Obama got into a spat with the gay-burning government of Uganda, then maybe the GOP would side with Uganda.

  33. 33
    kay says:

    @mikey:

    Yeah. It’s depressing. I loved your comment, but it’s not happening, is it? Because as a practical matter, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between Democrats or Republicans, liberals or conservatives, on this. I hardly ever say that, I’m not a “pox on both their houses” person, and I’m a political partisan and ideologically liberal.
    But, here, what’s the difference? Democrats phrase it slightly differently, less religious, more “strategic”, an occasional liberal objects on humanitarian grounds, and the occasional conservative objects on non-interventionist grounds, but the vast majority in Congress do nothing and say nothing that might possibly, conceivably, offend. Quite the opposite. Congress rushed to slap the President’s hand 3 months ago, when he showed the slightest reluctance. Bi partisan.

  34. 34
    ellaesther says:

    @El Cid: Angry prophets play an important role, and I agree with Chomsky’s ME reading more often than not — which is all the more reason for my frustration, because sloppy work doesn’t serve the cause! But he has yet to ask me, so I’ll have to fume at a distance, I suppose!

    @BethanyAnne: Here’s the thing: The Holocaust really was different. Really. Someone set out to kill each and every Jewish person on earth, from the babies to the grandmothers, and continued in his efforts to do so even after he was losing a war and his resources could have been better spent elsewhere — in the process killing six million people. Which is to say: The equivalent of the population of a small nation.

    I don’t believe in comparing troubles, and certainly not genocides, but the Jewish people’s lot leading up to the Holocaust was pretty damn rough, probably rougher than most, and then the Holocaust kind of clinched it, in my mind. And I do believe the Holocaust to be beyond comparison (unless, maybe, if you’re of the Roma [Gypsy] peoples. But while the Nazis targeted them for who they were, babies to old folks, the efforts to demonize and capture each and every one that could be caught did not rise to the level of the efforts against the Jews).

    HAVING SAID ALL OF THAT, Zionism, contrary to the belief of far too many, is not a result of the Holocaust. Zionism was one of many national liberation movements that arose in the late 19th century — Tel Aviv, for instance, was founded in 1909 and Hebrew University in Jerusalem opened its doors in 1925.

    And regardless of when Zionism began, what its roots are, and what the enormity of the Holocaust means for the Jewish people, none of it justifies what we Israelis are doing to the Palestinian people today. The war between us is an ongoing war between two nationalisms. One side has pretty much won, but the skirmishes continue. The only way to make Israel truly secure is to come to a two-state resolution with the Palestinian people.

    And in answer to the Arab-Israelis question: The Arab- (or, more correctly, Palestinian-) Israelis make up about 20% of the population, and they are citizens. They are second-class citizens, but they are citizens, and have a long history in the Israeli political process. Only once (if memory serves, and I’m pretty sure it does) has an Arab party taken part in a coalition and that was under Yitzhak Rabin. Once we achieve peace (fingers ever crossed!), we’ll have to deal with the mess we’ve made for the Palestinian-Israelis.

  35. 35
    ellaesther says:

    @ellaesther: Crap that’s long. Sorry about that!

  36. 36
    Yutsano says:

    @ellaesther: If anyone says tl;dr on it though I wouldn’t take them seriously on anything else in this thread. You state your points well.

  37. 37
    Mark S. says:

    @ellaesther:

    That’s fine. I always appreciate your comments on this subject.

    Could I ask a question? What is the make up of the settlers on the West Bank? Is it mostly ultra-orthodox, or is it people looking for cheap land? I personally wouldn’t want to live some place where my neighbors hated me and there was a possibility (however remote it seems now) that I’d have to abandon if there was a peace deal.

  38. 38
    New Yorker says:

    Having now read the entire Beinart article, I think he missed one more crucial thing that makes liberal American Jews of my generation (I’m 30) detached from Israel by-and-large. He doesn’t mention that the existential justification for the State of Israel: that Jews can never find a safe home in any nation and are always in danger of expulsion and/or extermination and thus need a homeland.

    Such an idea is ludicrous to any liberal Jew of my generation who grew up in the US. When was the last time an act of anti-semitic incitement was part of the cultural mainstream in this country? “The Passion of the Christ” was the only one I can think of, and many of its defenders twisted themselves into knots to defend the film from charges of anti-semitism. Regardless, I don’t think anyone was inspired to burn synagogues or beat up old men in the streets because of the film.

    When you have Jewish friends who half-jokingly talk about moving to Germany because the US is too messed up, you know the zeitgeist of the 19th and 20th centuries that inspired liberal, secular zionism is dead.

  39. 39
    Delia says:

    @ellaesther:

    Well, it’s not all that long considering it’s one of the most rational things I’ve ever read about the topic.

  40. 40
    Yutsano says:

    @New Yorker: It’s funny you should say that. I went to Germany back when I was still a practicing Jew (eating was a challenge but I didn’t starve to death, plus German bakeries were fantastic!) and they treated me with a respect that bordered on deference. It’s like their collective sin as a nation still stained their souls and they never feel as if that scar will ever heal. Anti-Semitism is starting to poke up among far-right parties in France, but for the most part Europe is a pretty safe place to be a Jew these days. Israel is NOT helping this condition however.

  41. 41
    BR says:

    OT – The 60 minutes piece on Deepwater Horizon is the sort of thing every person needs to see.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/w.....38;tag=api

    And every member of congress needs to see.

  42. 42
    t jasper parnell says:

    @New Yorker:

    Do you think if a spat ever broke out with the Prime Minister of the UK (our oldest and closest ally) that anyone in Congress would dare side with the British? Our oldest

    Our oldest ally is France, who aided us in our war against Britain. Is the UK our closest ally? Anyone remember the our reaction to the UK’s and Israel’s attack on Egypt?

  43. 43

    I want to like Beinart’s article — I agree with him throughout — but he never mentions nor alludes to J Street. This makes me uneasy: why would he not talk about this extant, relatively high-profile organization directed at the very issues he’s discussing? It’s almost as though he’s trying to hide something, but I can’t tell what.

  44. 44
    ellaesther says:

    @Mark S.: Thank you! I tend to go on, but it’s kind of an occupational hazard of sorts….

    As you say, the settlement population consists largely of two groups: economic settlers, and Orthodox settlers (not ultra-Orthodox — those are the folks whose men dress in a version of 16th century Polish gear: Black coat, black hat, etc. I think there’s only one settlement that’s ultra-Orthodox). The settlements are largely divided along those lines (ie: the Orthodox together, the economic opportunists together) but not entirely — and there is certainly a third group, people who went to the settlements for reasons of nationalist sentiment, rather than religious conviction.

    I don’t know that any good statistics exist on how many there are of one type or another, though. I do think that there is room for hope that the people who just wanted a cheap house with a big yard can be bought out — but that will still leave a lot of folks who are there out of very genuine principle. I don’t agree with that principle, but as a purely pragmatic matter, I do believe we had better factor its genuine nature into our thoughts about how we might establish a two-state solution. At the very least, we’ll have to accept from the get go that we will be fighting our own, at some stage.

    If you want to learn more about the settlements, this is a great place to start: http://southjerusalem.com/sett.....documents/ (Note particularly the finding issued three months after the 1967 Six Day War by the Israeli Foreign Minister’s legal counsel, establishing that civilian settlement of the occupied territories was illegal).

  45. 45
    Delia says:

    @BR:

    Absolutely. The story was gripping. Deepwater Horizon looks to be the new Titanic.

  46. 46
    ellaesther says:

    @Yutsano: and @Delia: Thank you!

    And this may seem odd, Delia but thank you in particular for using the word rational. I really try hard to stay within rational boundaries, and neither is it always easy, nor is it always perceived! So thank you.

  47. 47
    SGEW says:

    @ellaesther:

    The Holocaust really was different.

    In a way, yes. The European Holocaust is particularly important to many of us: it was recent, directly related to significant cultural populations in the United States (on both sides: e.g., I, personally, have both Germanic and Jewish roots in Europe (or, rather, I did)), uniquely monstrous, in its fashion (the first fully industrialized genocide), and tremendously politically and historically significant.

    However, one should be wary about tangentially and/or accidentally belittling other genocides and comparable atrocities by implication; the Tutsis, the Armenians, the Kurds, the Roma, the Native Americans, the Aboriginal Australians, etc. etc, throughout the entire horrid bloody shitstorm of history. They are all distinguishable, of course (through scale and scope, geography and circumstance, duration and intensity, motive and “success,” etc.), and all are uniquely important in their own way. At the same time, it’s probably best not to describe any of them as the “worst” (that would probably be the Neanderthals anyway, maybe).

    I’m not saying you’re making a bad argument, or are belittling the tragedies of others, mind you! I’m just saying that there’s a lot of rhetoric about the Holocaust being infinitely worse than all other occurrences of human evil throughout all of history; rhetoric that is both incorrect and counter-productive to the discussion. (Again: not saying that you’re saying; just sayin’).

    [ETA: I feel I should add that I love your writing on Israel, and that I, too, think it very very reasonable.]

  48. 48
    soonergrunt says:

    OT, I have another job interview tomorrow. The job looks perfect for me, and I was referred by an employee of the company, with whom I have worked before. The job will be doing the kind of IT that I love, and paying above market.
    It seems perfect for me.

    Why do I get the feeling that the universe is cocking the fuck-with-me gun?

  49. 49
    Yutsano says:

    @soonergrunt: Because you’re a natural pessimist?

    Seriously, WOOT!!

  50. 50
    Roger Moore says:

    @Violet:

    Why is it a good thing for American Jews to look at Israel and think “us” but it’s a terrible thing for American Latinos to look at Mexico (or another Latin American country) and think “us”?

    Because Israel is special in a way that Mexico isn’t. They don’t like coming out and saying it, but most of the extremist “pro Israel” folk think that Israel’s interests trump America’s. For Jewish Americans to suggest that they care much more about what happens here than there is to suggest that maybe, just maybe, that isn’t true.

  51. 51
    Turbulence says:

    @ellaesther: The Holocaust really was different. Really. Someone set out to kill each and every Jewish person on earth, from the babies to the grandmothers, and continued in his efforts to do so even after he was losing a war and his resources could have been better spent elsewhere—in the process killing six million people. Which is to say: The equivalent of the population of a small nation.

    Which is to say: a genocide. Was the genocide pointless and absurd? Yes. As all genocides are.

    Look, there have been many groups of human beings that have been systematically exterminated by other humans throughout history. Some were small and some were enormous. Each and every one of those groups probably believed that their extermination “really was different,” that they were suffering a unique trauma hitherto unknown to humanity. But that’s bullshit. This belief that the Holocaust was somehow worse or more significant than the genocides in Rwanda or Cambodia or of Native Americans has its root in the fundamental problem that plagues Israelis: an inability to empathize with other human beings.

    I don’t believe in comparing troubles, and certainly not genocides,

    Yes, you do. When you write that “The Holocaust really was different” or “I do believe the Holocaust to be beyond comparison”, you are in fact comparing genocides. You have to be honest with yourself about what you’re doing.

  52. 52
    ellaesther says:

    @SGEW: I know that I am unusual in my circle of progressive minded peacenik American-Israeli Jewish Democrats — but I think it was different. I think that the decision made, entirely aforethought, to go out and kill each.and.every.Jew.on.earth. makes the Holocaust a different kind of horror. I won’t say “worse,” because once you start into handing out small-pox infested blankets or slaughtering Bosnian Muslims, we leave the realm in which words like “worse” even play a role. Each was horrific, each a stain on all of us, full-stop.

    But I do believe (and with this I’m going to say that I’m going to stop, because a conversation about the nature of the Holocaust never goes anywhere good) that the nature of the Holocaust was different. The point was to exterminate each and every Jew, wheresoever they might be found, whatsoever they might be able to offer society, regardless of age, gender, physical ability, mental agility. The point was to eliminate the Jewish scourge from the earth, for all time. I think that’s different.

    (And in a very real way, it matters not in the least if it was “different” or not, because I truly believe there’s no takeaway from that difference. Just: This is how I see it).

  53. 53
    BethanyAnne says:

    I didn’t find it too long, Emily. I like your writing and your perspective :)

    Break a leg, Sooner!

  54. 54
    ellaesther says:

    @Turbulence: I just said that I’m not going to discuss this anymore, and I’m not (which is unfair of me, I know, but there it is) — but I will say this about one specific thing you said about my thinking: I am being honest with myself. You just happen to disagree with me.

  55. 55
    BethanyAnne says:

    The problem with the ME is that there’s approximately 3.895 times enough blame to go around.

  56. 56
    Turbulence says:

    @ellaesther:

    How on Earth can you know that no genocide besides the Holocaust was predicated on a desire to exterminate every single member of group?

  57. 57
    DougJ says:

    @soonergrunt:

    Good luck!

  58. 58
    scarshapedstar says:

    Facilitating irrational, suicidal behavior is not normally considered supportive.

    9/11 changed everything.

  59. 59
    suzanne says:

    @Yutsano:

    It’s like their collective sin as a nation still stained their souls and they never feel as if that scar will ever heal.

    I was in Munich last September for two weeks, and I think I was apologized to for the Holocaust at least five times, or assured that, “Of course I don’t hate Jewish people!”. I’m Protestant, so I don’t know why I merited any personal apology, but it was very clear to me how that sin is still very, very raw. I went to Dachau, and our tour guide said that their law dictates that every schoolchild must go to one of the concentration camps at least once during their education, so it seems they are quite serious about confronting it.

  60. 60
    DougJ says:

    @New Yorker:

    You make an excellent point. And it’s the same point I hear a lot of Jewish friends from New York my age (I’m a bit older, 40) make. I think it’s an important point.

  61. 61
    SGEW says:

    @ellaesther: In a way, I agree and disagree. I heard it best from someone else, quite a few years ago, who basically said “Evil tyrants have dreamed of exterminating the ‘other’ for all of human history; Hitler was the first guy who could actually try it.” There’s also the argument that the Industrial Age removed the need for a slave economy (see, also, the American Civil War), and, not having need of slave labor, Hitler was free to carry his ideological schemes to their logical end (tho’ he did want to keep the Slavs as slaves. Too etymologically appropriate, I suppose.) I, personally, think that human beings went absolutely nutso in the middle of the 20th Century, and that it was kind of a particularly batshit historical period, and that we shouldn’t take too many lessons from it.

    Anyway, an historical debate over the unique qualities of certain time periods is a discussion that earnest people can have in good faith. However, because we’re talking about the ultimate Godwin, it doesn’t take place in a vacuum, as I’m sure you’re aware. [BTW very very weird to be having an internet conversation and literally writing about Hitler and the Nazis without being ironic.]

    More to the point: the opinion that the genocide of European Jewry was “different” is totally unobjectionable, of course. Hitler was unbelievably weird! But this kind of privileging can lead to exceptionalism (again; not saying, just sayin’), and exceptionalism leads to, well, not-so-good stuff.

    [Zounds, it got late, suddenly.]

  62. 62
    Garrigus Carraig says:

    Although there have been other genocides, and other situations (Stalin, Mao) where many more people have been killed, the difference about the Holocaust is that it was planned & planned to be total. IIRC, the reasoning for it was set out clearly in Mein Kampf in 1925. I imagine Hitler believed he would eventually conquer the Americas & exterminate our Jews as well. In contrast, the Turks didn’t have a policy to kill all Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, let alone those in Russia & the US. This is what makes it unique, no?

    I go back and forth about Israel, dig it & despise it. And I wouldn’t have to care if we weren’t shipping $3 billion over there every year. If they didn’t have our cash & weapons propping them up, maybe they would craft different policies.

  63. 63
    Fern says:

    @Garrigus Carraig: Maybe the holocaust was more for ideological reasons rather than strictly to hold and expand power or as a result of longstanding history of conflict between two peoples? The conflict in the Balkans, for example, seems to be to be very much based on historical grievances. Exterminations that resulted from colonialism in Australia and the Americas seem to have largely arisen out of desire to claim and extend power in the “new” worlds. But the holocaust? Something else again, I think.

    Initially Ellaesther’s statement that the holocaust was different kinda got my back up, but on thinking about it, maybe she has a point.

  64. 64
    robertdsc says:

    What the Germans did in the 30s has almost no bearing whatsoever on the illegal settlements and collective punishment the Israelis are exacting on the Palestinian people.

    If anything, it should serve as a role model and impetus for inclusion and integration of differing peoples in Israeli society. Instead, we get apartheid. Brilliant takeaway.

    Frankly, I’m goddamned fucking sick of hearing about the Holocaust whenever Israel is mentioned. It’s like a ready-made excuse to cover any and all Israeli atrocities.

  65. 65
    Roger Moore says:

    @ellaesther:

    But I do believe (and with this I’m going to say that I’m going to stop, because a conversation about the nature of the Holocaust never goes anywhere good) that the nature of the Holocaust was different.

    Even if you accept the historical uniqueness of the Holocaust, though, you don’t have to accept that Israel should be treated differently. It seems to me that points your making speak more about the unique nature of the perpetrators rather than the victims. There’s no particular reason to think that the next crazy guy who tries to kill and entire people will target the Jews rather than some other historically persecuted group.

  66. 66
    burnspbesq says:

    @ellaesther:

    none of it justifies what we Israelis are doing to the Palestinian people today

    Don’t let Lieberman – theirs or ours – hear you say that. You’ll hurt his fee-fees.

  67. 67
    Yutsano says:

    @burnspbesq: I suppose he could just throw a fit and start another political party of one, but it would be old news at this point. I just wish folks had thrown in his face that Israel has had universal health care since the 80’s.

  68. 68
    fasteddie9318 says:

    Does Petey ever deign to explain why “saving liberal Zionism,” here or in Israel, would be a worthwhile goal? That “younger, Orthodox-dominated, Zionist leadership” he’s talking about wouldn’t get very far if America’s Jewish population really did range from “apathetic to appalled.” “Liberal Zionism” seems a little like “religious moderation” to me: perfectly reasonable and fine taken in a vacuum, but in the real world it’s what gives social and political cover to the crazies.

  69. 69
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @mikey:

    Supporters of Israel’s current policies will always throw in a fourth option, ethnic cleansing, just so they can point to the apartheid option and say “SEE? LOOK HOW REASONABLE WE’RE BEING! IT’S NOT LIKE WE’RE SLAUGHTERING THEM!”

  70. 70
    Mnemosyne says:

    It’s difficult to tease out, but I do think there is something that was different about the Holocaust as opposed to other (often more severe) genocides. This is my first try at articulating it, but I think the difference is that it was very specifically a modern and technological genocide. It wasn’t just marching into villages and massacring everyone. It was specifically cataloging the victims (thanks, IBM!) in order to kill them in the most efficient manner possible. It was the claims of scientific truth and objectivity used to rationalize the murders.

    In, say, Rwanda, as far as I know the Hutus didn’t try to claim that the Tutsis were literally a human virus that was infecting healthy people and that the necessity of exterminating them was simply a scientific fact that was indisputable.

    I think that’s the particular horror of the Holocaust — it was the first modern, scientifically justified, and systematic attempt to wipe out an entire race of people.

  71. 71
    Sly says:

    @New Yorker:

    I think the fact that the U.S. now has a larger Jewish population than Israel defeats that entire premise, myself. That a greater number of Jews live in country other than an explicitly Zionist state speaks to the necessity of said state for protection against threats to Jews rather well. Especially when you consider that the U.S. is generally the one helping Israel out with its security rather than the other way around.

    For my own part, I’m not a big fan of nationalism in any form. The kinds of political identities that nationalist movements rely upon (ethnic, religious, linguistic, whatever) are invariably constructed from the top down and are foisted upon larger populations, and Zionism is no exception (neither was American nationalism, for that matter). And few subjects entail such rigorous debate within Jewish studies than over what characteristics, religious or otherwise, constitute “Jewishness”. Precisely because, I think, it has become a political question more than anything else.

    @Garrigus Carraig:

    I think the only relevant distinction to be made is scale, which is related to the ability to carry out genocide. The Third Reich eventually had the industrial capacity to make their stated genocidal aims (a “Jew-Free” Europe) a reality. I say eventually, because SS Commanders were regularly having local Jewish populations exterminated by firing squad and dumped into mass graves before the Wannsee Conference and the creation of the Death Camps. If the Reich had been limited to those methods, it likely would have been comparable in scale to Armenia (or Rwanda). The intent was there in both places, and the Ottomans had even adopted the same brand of pseudo-scientific race theories to justify their nationalist aims.

  72. 72
    Yutsano says:

    @Sly:

    And few subjects entail such rigorous debate within Jewish studies than over what characteristics, religious or otherwise, constitute “Jewishness”. Precisely because, I think, it has become a political question more than anything else.

    Considering this question is settled by the tightest restrictions in Israel itself (mother must be demonstrated to be Jewish or else conversion must be Orthodox), the question is still very open-ended. If you asked a Reform and even some Conservative rabbis, you’re Jewish if you choose to identify and live as one. Considering also Israel wasn’t willing for decades to accept the Ethiopian Jews when they applied for Israeli citizenship (it was only settled after a large international pressure campaign plus a genetic test), I doubt this question is one that should be settled by Israel alone. Being Israeli is not the epitome of being Jewish, in fact the notion is an amazingly diverse answer.

  73. 73
    Cain says:

    @suzanne:

    I was in Munich last September for two weeks, and I think I was apologized to for the Holocaust at least five times, or assured that, “Of course I don’t hate Jewish people!”. I’m Protestant, so I don’t know why I merited any personal apology, but it was very clear to me how that sin is still very, very raw. I went to Dachau, and our tour guide said that their law dictates that every schoolchild must go to one of the concentration camps at least once during their education, so it seems they are quite serious about confronting it.

    I have a friend of mine who is german (very german, blond and blue eyed) and he looks at the holocaust as a personal shame. Unequivocally says that it was an evil act and condemns all Germans at that time to allow it to happen.

    cain

  74. 74
    Yutsano says:

    @Cain: To be fair, there was a small resistance movement active in Germany, and there were some Germans who refused to comply with the German purity laws. It was unfortunately wasn’t enough. Germany was too absorbed in the shame of the defeat after WWI and the failure that was the Weimar Republic. The fact that a nationalist movement was rising as a counterpoint to the sociaIism and Communism that was rising among the lower classes (a lot of the most ardent Nazi supporters were well-to-do Germans who harbored resentment towards Jews who did as well or better than them) only strengthened Hitler’s hand. It was truly a perfect storm, and it’s one of the reasons why the far right taking over the Republican Party gain so much traction scares me to no end.

  75. 75
    Cain says:

    @Yutsano:

    Yeah, it scares me as well. I can’t believe those fools would try to harness all that hate. They won’t be able to ride the lightening that’s for sure. It can’t be controlled. In the end you’ll just destroy the country and everything it stands for. These people have no principles, it’s wherever their hate takes them. And in teh end they’ll still be fucked. At least we’ll still have our 2nd amendnent! :)

    cain

  76. 76
    bob h says:

    younger, Orthodox-dominated, Zionist leadership whose naked hostility to Arabs and Palestinians scares even them,

    In other words, a leadership that resembles that of the American Republican Party.

  77. 77

    The philanthropists wanted to know what Jewish students thought about Israel. Luntz found that they mostly didn’t.

    Unless these students are Israeli or (maybe) descendants of Israelis, why should they?

  78. 78
    debbie says:

    Speaking as a liberal American Jew, this argument always aggravates the hell out of me:

    But I do believe…that the nature of the Holocaust was different. The point was to exterminate each and every Jew, wheresoever they might be found, whatsoever they might be able to offer society, regardless of age, gender, physical ability, mental agility. The point was to eliminate the Jewish scourge from the earth, for all time. I think that’s different.

    Tell this to the Tutsis. Tell them that the Hutus didn’t plan to butcher each and every one of them. Hutus may not have had the technology that was at the N***s’ disposal, but they definitely had the very same intent. The murder rate was similar to that of the Holocaust too: 800,000 in 100 days!

    This canard that the Jewish Holocaust was different, or even worse, the argument that “my holocaust was worse than your holocaust” does nothing to advance the hard work needed to get this species past this barbarity.

  79. 79

    See, this is why I read BJ. I’ve enjoyed reading this entire thread, and the 60 Minutes link reminds me why the so-called MSM still can do good work.

  80. 80
    New Yorker says:

    I’m going to add my $.02 about why the Holocaust is seen as “different” than other genocides in recent history. I think it has to do with who carried it out.

    I think many people would like to believe that it would be relatively easy to get illiterate peasants to pick up machetes and hack their neighbors to bits (as happened in Rwanda) and much harder for a society of the enlightenment to do such a thing. Germany gave us Kant and Beethoven and Planck and Einstein. It was among the most advanced nations on earth in 1933, and yet it still lost its collective mind and started exterminating people with assembly-line efficiency.

    I think that’s where the extra horror at the Holocaust comes from: it explodes the theory that “civilized” people could never do this, and it makes clear that the murderous barbarian lurks not too far beneath the surface of all nations. I think Americans like to pretend that we could never do such a thing, but the Holocaust suggests otherwise, and that we need to remain ever vigilant.

  81. 81
    Knecht Ruprecht says:

    one of Peretz’s boys will undoubtedly have a smear job up tomorrow

    Uhhh, Beinart is one of Peretz’s boys — former editor and still “contributing editor”. That’s what’s so remarkable about it.

  82. 82
    Knecht Ruprecht says:

    [He] never mentions nor alludes to J Street. This makes me uneasy: why would he not talk about this extant, relatively high-profile organization directed at the very issues he’s discussing? It’s almost as though he’s trying to hide something, but I can’t tell what.

    Didn’t Beinart have a high-profile dust-up with J-Street over something? Maybe you’re alluding to this and you’re just too subtle for me. Or maybe I’m misremembering it.

  83. 83
    Jay C says:

    @Doctor Science:

    —but he never mentions nor alludes to J Street. This makes me uneasy: why would he not talk about this extant, relatively high-profile organization directed at the very issues he’s discussing? It’s almost as though he’s trying to hide something, but I can’t tell what.

    It IS curious, given the thrust of Beinert’s piece, since trying to pretend that J Street doesn’t exist, or is, at most, a tiny fringe-nut organization, is usually the hallmark of stridently “pro-Israel” (i.e. “Israel can do no wrong”) “Mainstream” commentators. Those that don’t positively assert that J Street are little more than self-hating-Jew Holocaust-enablers, that is…

  84. 84
    Barry says:

    @TR: this assumes that the acoholic friend wants to quit drinking, and doesn’t want to be a miserable wreck. In the case of Israel, it’s quite likely that a sufficient portion of the population [given the political system] desires that Israel be exactly such a nasty apartheid state. And the neoconmen would welcome this, because it’d help keep the Middle East destabilized.

  85. 85
    debbie says:

    @ New Yorker:

    It was among the most advanced nations on earth in 1933, and yet it still lost its collective mind and started exterminating people with assembly-line efficiency.

    Germany (if not all of Europe) gave the Jewish community plenty of warning that something like this could happen. Similarly, Belgium exploited Hutu anger at the way Tutsis were favored and after they abandoned Rawanda, the Tutsis also had plenty of warning. (And besides, I’m not sure Germany had recovered from its post-WWI depression by 1933.)

    African society is every bit as “civilized” as European society — unless you consider The Blue Danube Waltz to be evidence of advanced thought. In fact, the Aryan experience taught us that we’re all tribal, at some level.

  86. 86

    @Knecht Ruprecht:

    Didn’t Beinart have a high-profile dust-up with J-Street over something? Maybe you’re alluding to this and you’re just too subtle for me.

    No, I wasn’t aware of that, and I can’t find any references to it in a quick google (results are overwhelmed by links to this piece).

    J Street loves this article, not surprisingly. In scanning the many many hits, I see some suggestion that he might have not mentioned J Street to avoid being dismissed out of hand by the sort of people (his friends) who dismiss J Street out of hand.

    The only direct reference I can find that Beinart has made to J Street is “Debating J Street and the Jewish vote at the Hudson Institute” from Oct 9 ’09 (I’m leaving out the link to avoid moderation land):

    many of those secular Jews aren’t involved in the organized community, Beinart said. There’s a large base that can support J Street, he said, but the question is: “Do they care enough?”

    I don’t think he really “gets” Reform Judaism, frankly, much less Reconstructionism/Jewish Renewal.

  87. 87
  88. 88
    CalD says:

    Interesting. First I’ve ever heard of the Luntz study but I’ve often wondered what would happen if the good doctor ever chose to use his considerable talents for good, not evil. Thanks for the link, Doug. I’ll definitely give this one a read.

  89. 89
    ciotog says:

    @Cain:

    I was in Dublin once and saw a German traveller wearing a backpack with a swastika on it. A swastika with the red “no” sign imposed on it, at second glance. But at first glance it wasn’t so obvious. I understand what he was trying to do, but it was easily-misinterpreted overkill.

  90. 90
    Anne Laurie says:

    @New Yorker:

    I think many people would like to believe that it would be relatively easy to get illiterate peasants to pick up machetes and hack their neighbors to bits (as happened in Rwanda) and much harder for a society of the enlightenment to do such a thing. Germany gave us Kant and Beethoven and Planck and Einstein. It was among the most advanced nations on earth in 1933, and yet it still lost its collective mind and started exterminating people with assembly-line efficiency.
    __
    I think that’s where the extra horror at the Holocaust comes from: it explodes the theory that “civilized” people could never do this, and it makes clear that the murderous barbarian lurks not too far beneath the surface of all nations. I think Americans like to pretend that we could never do such a thing, but the Holocaust suggests otherwise, and that we need to remain ever vigilant.

    Excellent point. I would take it one step further… the success of the National Socialists proved that even the whitest of “White” people (those who proclaimed themselves the pinnacle of all evolution!) were just as susceptible to the joys of mass extermination as any “lesser” tribe. A significant part of the racist underpinnings of the Enlightenment was the theory that younger, paler, more rational societies would outgrow the violent tribalism natural to the young & primitive. The Holocaust proved that no amount of selective inbreeding, physical or political, could “improve” Mankind by bleaching the bloodlust out of “our” progeny along with the melanin.

  91. 91
    mclaren says:

    Will everyone flame me if I say I don’t care about Israel?

    The big structural problems in the Middle East are demographic and sociological. If Israel didn’t exist, and had never existed, the same problems that are destroying most of the Middle Eastern countries today would still exist.

    The Middle Eastern countries have got horrible problems with their birthrate. It’s ridiculously too high. It’s totally unsustainable. The Gaza Strip wouldn’t be plunging into doom and nightmare right now if they hadn’t been having ridiculously larger numbers of children per family than most of the rest of the world.

    Ditto for Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, all the other countries in the region. Their population growth is unsustainable.

    At the same time, all the Middle Eastern countries have cultures which discourage science and engineering and the kind of property laws and civil society that typify successful cultures not only in Europe/North America, but also throughout most of Asia and much of South America.

    When there’s no separation twixt church and state, property belongs to Allah and any line of scientific or intellectual investigation can be squelched by some imam issuing a fatwa. That’s not a recipe for developing the kind of scientific and technological mindset that drives a modern economy.

    None of that has a damn thing to do with Israel.

    Cue the insane flamewar aimed at me in…3…2…1…

  92. 92
    Turbulence says:

    @mclaren: At the same time, all the Middle Eastern countries have cultures which discourage science and engineering and the kind of property laws and civil society that typify successful cultures not only in Europe/North America, but also throughout most of Asia and much of South America.

    Um, have you ever visited a hospital in the US? Or an engineering firm? Ever notice how many people from the middle east are doctors or engineers? When I was growing up, we used to joke that the problem with white people in the US is that they had this broken culture that undervalued academic achievement in math and science and that’s why so many white people refused to enter science and engineering. Ha ha! Its funny because it is totally true.

    Seriously, if middle eastern “culture” is such a huge problem, why do so many scientists and doctors and engineers from the middle east come to the US?

    When there’s no separation twixt church and state, property belongs to Allah and any line of scientific or intellectual investigation can be squelched by some imam issuing a fatwa. That’s not a recipe for developing the kind of scientific and technological mindset that drives a modern economy.

    What ignorant tripe. Check out Egypt. The problem with the Egyptian government has nothing to do with Islam (since the government is technically secular) but with the fact that its a dictatorship run by crooks. And Egyptian authorities don’t give a frack about squelching scientific innovation: they want cash-money and they know that science and engineering are good ways of getting it.

    Weren’t you the guy who was claiming in another thread that there are currently no universities in the middle east that admit women?

  93. 93
    mclaren says:

    And we have a winner! The ignorant incompetent kook Turbulence brainfarts out the incoherent gibberish:

    Um, have you ever visited a hospital in the US? Or an engineering firm? Ever notice how many people from the middle east are doctors or engineers?

    Um, have you ever wondered why all those middle easterners were studying medicine and engineering the united states (or Europe) instead of staying at home in Saudi Arabia or Iran or Iraq or Yemen or the UAE or Qatar or Egypt?

    It’s because the countries in the middle east have shitty engineering schools and medical schools.

    Hey! Spit-for-brains! Wake up and read what the scholars in the middle east are saying about themselves, you ignorant twit:

    In a widely quoted phrase, the Report finds that the Arab world is “richer than it is developed.” Arab countries have greater resources than some developing countries that rank above them in various indices of human development, particularly those that measure women’s status. For example, the maternal mortality rate is double that of Latin America. Despite huge positive strides in the post-independence era, women’s literacy still stands at a regional average of 50 percent. As a group, Arab countries score lower than any other region on the Report’s index of freedoms — political and civil rights, independent media and accountability of rulers to the ruled.

    Source: The UN Arab human development report.

    The countries of the middle east are falling far behind the other countries of the world by almost every measure in the UN Human Development index, except hard cash.

    And the brightest minds in the middle east and well aware of this, and they’re publicly debating it, and it’s a serious
    crisis.

    But ignorant incompetent kooks like you are too clueless to realize this…because, of course, like the other ignorant incomptent kooks who run their mouths without having a clue, you haven’t bothered to study the statistics or read the reports or even skim what the scholars in the middle east have written about their own countries.

    If you weren’t such a hopelessly ignorant crank, you’d be well aware that article like “Why Does the Muslim World Lag In Science?” have been a staple of economics and sociology research for nearly a hundred years now.

    “Why muslim countries lag in modernization and democracy?”

    Google “muslim countries lag science engineering” and you’ll find hundreds of thousands of entries. It’s a problem so well-known among middle east experts that it’s known as “the middle eastern problem” for shorthand.

    The other problem, why ignorant incompetent commenters spew mindless insults based on total cluelessness about the subject they purport to discuss, could be called “The Balloon Juice problem.”

  94. 94
    liberal says:

    @mclaren:

    None of that has a damn thing to do with Israel.

    So? What does have a damn thing to do with Israel is the US’s involvement in the region, and the animosity of the people there for the actions of our government.

  95. 95
    Turbulence says:

    @mclaren:

    mclaren, I won’t be lectured by someone who is such an ignorant tool that he believes there are no universities that admit women in the middle east.

    And speaking as the son of engineers who emigrated to the US from the middle east, I can tell you that it is not a lack of good technical schools that motivates a lot of people: it is a matter of escaping from corruption and having an opportunity to excel.

    Finally, if you’re too ignorant to distinguish between resource-cursed countries like Saudi Arabia and non-resource-cursed countries like Egypt, all your racist bullshit about the culture of the middle east and church-state separation are even more ignorant than I originally guessed.

    PS: way to resort to childish insults the instant someone calls you on your ignorance. I guess you’ve got nothing serious to add to the discussion.

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