Yesterday, someone subscribed to my blog, which is something that always cheers me. I have nearly 100 subscribers (please consider subscribing if you haven’t alrady done so) and it’s always nice to know that someone is interested enough in your writing and views that they want to be notified of anything new that you write.
Because I often get spam subscribers I always check out my new ones to ensure they are real. In doing so, I discovered my new subscriber, Dafna Tal has a wonderful photo gallery website about the Israeli Palestinian conflict, Israelis and Palestinians: Bridging the Ethnic Divide. She is an Israeli photographer who now lives in New York. But she has decided to return to Israel this coming October for a two year project to document efforts by Israeli and Palestinians to offer an alternative narrative to constant war and hatred:
I would like to dedicate the next two years to the documentation and distribution of stories that offer an alternative. Starting in October, 2007, I will use written articles, photography, and audio interviews to document and share the vision of 10 stories, involving positive relations and collaborations between Jews and Palestinians from Israel and from the territories. The first year will be dedicated to production. The second year will be dedicated to the processing and distribution of the presentation to local and international audiences.
Here she explains the purpose of her project in the context of the barrage of media coverage of the constant violence besetting the region:
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with its repeated pain and violence, receives an astounding amount of coverage from the media…[It] plays a considerable role in shaping the public discourse regarding the conflict and in framing the public’s spirit and emotional awareness during times of war.
Regrettably, despite a democratic attempt to report on the event with objectivity, the information presented by the media of both societies is far from representative of the reality as it is and as a whole.
The majority of violent events presented by the media – of both societies – tend to emphasize the acts that are coming from the “other side,” making these acts the cause of the vicious cycle of violence, and turning their own actions into “retaliation.” It also serves to increase and perpetuate the polarization against the other. It has gone so far that the majority in each society have come to see the “other side” in a dehumanized way, creating a numbness and lack of compassion to the suffering of the other side.
The coverage of terror and violence by the media is vital, and serves a necessary function for supplying information on events that transpire, and raising awareness of credible threats. Still, the view presented by the media of both societies, along with other influences, is assisting in intensifying these negative feelings and in the maintenance of past perceptions. It serves as a barrier to positive progress, creating mistrust in any new positivism for the future.
Of course, there are many worthy projects attempting to achieve results similar to Dafna’s. But the proof is in the pudding and Dafna has already produced one extraordinary image that makes her entire project worthwhile in my view.
The view of Ibtisam Mahmeed, a Muslim, and Dorit Lubrani, a Jew, at a meeting of the Jewish-Arab dialogue-group “Anwar” which they established in Nazareth is extraordinary. One could say a thousand words about it and still not exhaust its beauty. I first noticed the tender love and intimacy between the two subjects. Their comfort in each other’s company is so striking compared to the hatred and discomfort raging between their two respective peoples.
The pose of one woman cradling and comforting another reminded me too of the medieval Pietas and there is a love, passion and spirituality in Dafna’s picture that is reminiscent of the Christian images. Dafna’s image is so eloquent that I think comparing it to the great Pietas of Michelangelo and others is apt.
When I see images like this one I feel great hope. If two people can bridge the divide then perhaps two entire nations can do so as well.
But when I read trash like this my hope turns to ash:
“Little Dickie” Silverstein is a Vile Anti-Semite…he is a lying fould [sic] mouthed fulltime smearster who defames every Jew who is not (like him) a pro-terror anti-Semite.
Little Dickie Silverstein…cheer[s] Arab terrorists and call[s] for Israel’s destruction. He smears anyone who thinks Israel has the right to exist and collaborates with CAIR and similar fascists.
…The inane Israel-hating smearmongering obscene little web site run by Kapo Richard Little Dickie Silverstein…Unlike Little Dickie’s own scurrilous little anti-Israel pro-terror blog, I suspect Masada2000 will still be up and running long after Dickie Silverstein is rotting in prison for treason and slander.”
…He wants Israel to be annihilated. He is a full time cheerleader for Arab terrorism and Islamic fascism.
Why couldn’t Little Dickie’s Parents have been infertile? And save us from this lying anti-Israel pro-terror piece of bullcrap.
Silverstein,you’re a first class, top shelf, prize winning judenrat piece of shit. I hope righteous Jews cut your throat after arabs have raped your ass.
Most of the comments above came from Jewcy threads when I was guest blogging there last week (this one in particular). One of the first things you notice is that all these comments are made anonymously. The individual thrives on being faceless and nameless. When I criticize the Kahanists I put my name out there and stake my reputation on it. That’s what allows them to stalk me as they have at Jewcy. This person above, who may be Masada2000’s site owner himself, is too much a coward to do that.
As to why the stirring of the cesspool of hate…It appears the Kahanists are restless now that Masada2000 has been brought low due to the mendacity of its owner. They need someone to blame and its better to blame someone you hate than blame yourself for not properly following the rules everyone else has to follow in registering and hosting websites (that’s all I can say about how the site lost its groove).
Who will win in the end? The Dafnas or the Masada2000s?