Annals of Israeli Judicial Racism
James Joyce wrote A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Tonight I’m writing a portrait of a judge as an old racist.
Some readers develop an allergic reaction when I write posts like the one I’m about to. All I can say is if Israel’s highest professional leadership didn’t believe these things and Israeli journalists didn’t think they were worth publishing then I wouldn’t have a story to write myself. So rather than complain that I always write about such stories, I’d suggest that Israel’s judiciary develop an ethics code that disciplines judges who so clearly disqualify themselves from sitting on the bench and deciding cases fairly. While the judge in this case is retired you can be sure that the views expressed informed his attitudes and decisions when he was on the bench. He is still a respected public figure who served as chief judge of the military court of appeals and as a judge for the chief of staff. He also serves on the advisory committee of a far right wing Zionist “think tank,” the Institute for Zionist Strategies. Another key leader of the Institute is Max Singer, co-founder of the Hudson Institute, who I’ve written about here.
A website called Patriotic Israel, which appears to be a settler-supported media outlet profiles Judge Uri Shtruzman, who wants readers of this august publication to understand “the truth” as he sees it (doesn’t it remind you of Jack Nicholson in , when he says: “The truth? You want the truth? You can’t HANDLE the truth!”). I do so love it when right wing Israeli nationalists say emphatically that they want us to know “the truth” about Arabs or about the Israeli-Arab conflict. It’s always of course the truth as THEY see it. Which of course is their opinion, their reading of history and an amalgation of facts mixed with opinion–but definitely not the truth.
Judge Shtruzman, a Likud loyalist who, in a 2005 Haaretz article, called for IDF soldiers to refuse orders to evacuate settlements (imagine a judge in the military court system approves of behavior that in any other society would be called mutiny), inveighs in this interview against the “dangerous naivete” of some Israelis and recommends that Israel speak “the truth” to the nations of the world. That truth means among other things rejecting the notion that it is possible to make possible with the Arab nations. This notion is naive in the extreme, since the truth is that no peace can be made in “this generation or the next” because the Arab nation is “not ready to accept us.” That’s because the values of Muslims lag behind those of the rest of the peoples of the world. Apparently the good judge missed the memo about the Saudi peace initiative, now ten years old, which called for precisely what Shturzman says is impossible. What he really means is that peace is not possible on settlers’ terms, and therefore it’s not possible at all.
Part of the reason for this Arab intransigence lies in the fact that the Arab world is mired in “the same situation that held sway in Europe hundreds of years ago” in which religious wars were the rule of the day. Now, Europe has come to the point that it upholds the values of nationalism alongside other values [than religious fanaticism]. Today, Shturzman says:
Israel is destroying itself for the sake of European values of human rights the aspiration to democracy for all. According to such ideas, equality for all human beings is the order of the day, including a demand that we embrace even those seeking to prey upon us, because they too have a right to life and to eat [!].
The judge finds there are essential differences between Jews and Muslims. While Jews attempted to integrate into the societies in which they settled in the Diaspora (he seems to have missed the whole Zionism thing, which rejected precisely this notion that Jews could integrate as minorities within Diaspora lands), Muslims in the non-Muslim Diaspora seek to have their culture, laws and religion dominate [the societies in which they live]. He sees the same phenomenon occuring in the Knesset, with Muslim MKs acting in the interests of themeselves and against the interests of the State and the Jewish people.
The Muslim MKs are members of a people which seeks to destroy the State of Israel, and the idea that they seek the best for Israel because it seeks to do well by them is a dangerous notion that we must recognize as such. If we do not, Judge Shtruzman says, our end will be like that of Yugoslavia after Tito died. In other words, someone has to impose some order on this mess otherwise the ‘uppity niggers’ will get the notion that they’re equal to us and will destroy this country just like the Muslims did, Yugoslavia.
44 thoughts on “Annals of Israeli Judicial Racism – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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So let me get this straight: this man who thinks rights are an outdated European concept was a JUDGE. In military courts. Where he decided the cases of people who did not – in his opinion – actually have rights.
Someone page the folks from Guinness, we have a contender for world’s most hypocritical “justice” system since, uh…
“he seems to have missed the whole Zionism thing, which rejected precisely this notion that Jews could integrate as minorities within Diaspora lands”
Please correct me if I am mistaken, but Herzl was originally an assimilationist, was he not? Jews wanted badly to integrate within Diaspora lands but Herzl’s lesson from the Dreyfuss affair was that try as they may, Jews would not be accepted as equals by many elements within Europe.
Herzl was an anomaly. He died relatively soon after the First Congress & had little impact on later developments. If he was an assimilationist his approach did not become mainstream. And in case you hadn’t noticed Jews have done pretty damn well assimilating in many western democratic countries including my own. Score one for the Diaspora.
Jews assimilated well in the upper social class of the Weimar Republic, as a result of the Jewish Enlightenment movement of Jews integrated fully into the German Society. One name i can think of was Kurt Tcholsky who was one of the most important journalists of the Weimar Republic.
When the Nazi’s gained power they didn’t treat him that well.
There were many others, Herzl was far from being anomaly.
if you don’t think that under certain conditions (like a severe financial crisis, like the one the US is probably facing, if the debt ceiling would be increased) the Jews will be prosecuted and hunted in the USA your are delusional.
Not true. You never read Gershom Scholem’s memoirs & should. He, who grew up during Weimar, said that German Jews were never fully or even partially accepted in German society. There were some superficial forms of acceptance. Jews wished to assimilate, the rest of society didn’t wish them to. That’s how a Holocaust could happen afterward. Such a thing could never happen in this country because Jews have integrate & with only a few exceptions been fully accepted.
Under almost NO condition could a Holocaust happen here. None. Unless the Tea Party or New World Order overthrew the Republic & established a dictatorship. Chances of that happening: one in one trillion. I do understand that under yr Zionist perspective Jews MUST be vulnerable to a Holocaust everywhere outside Israel. And if that makes you comfortable, go for it. The fact that it bears no reflection on reality should not inconvenience you terribly.
Seems like you know about the Wiemar Republic as much as you know of nuclear weapons and uranium enrichment.
first the foreign minister of the Republic was Jewish – Walther Rathenau. are you looking for a grater assimilation then that ? was there ever a Jewish US president ? no and there will never be.
You should read a book called the Weimar Republic by Detlev J.K Peukert that deals with the Jewish assimilation in Germany. his conclusion is far different then yours.
Richard Jews in lived in Germany far longer then they live in the US, if it happened there, it can happen everywhere.
as for my Zionist perspective, you’ll be surprised i don’t wish anything bad, upon you or any other Jew living in the US, certainly not in the name of me being right, unfortunately history has a nasty habit of repeating itself.
Walter Rathenau was assassinated. Can u point to a single American Jewish political leader who’s been assaulted, let alone assassinated?
As for the level of Jewish integration into Germany, I’ve pointed u to the most distinguished scholar of the 20th century, someone who lived through the period in question & was an eyewitness to it. And u decide someone who wwasn’t an eyewitness & who writes a secondary source is more authoritative. Because it’s more convenient to yr idelogical prejudices.
I think Israelis who swear to me that something will or won’t happem in America are dunces, u included. People like u swore there’d never be an African American president. Giess what? They swear there’ll never be a woman president. They’ll be wrong as will u about a Jewish president. Wrong, dead wrong.
i may be a liar, but Hebrew is my first language obviously you cant follow nuances, so let me help you
השופט שטרוזמן חתם את דבריו בשאלה “בדבר אפשרות הפעולה המתחייבת, מחוסר ברירה, בפני אזרחי המדינה במסגרת של אי ציות אזרחי והאפשרות הניצבת בפני חייליה ושוטריה, שאף הם נמנים על אזרחי המדינה – לסירוב פקודה. המחשבה על כך מעלה בדעתי את דברי היועץ המשפטי הקודם, השופט בדימוס מיכאל בן יאיר, שהצדיק את הסירוב לשרת בשטחי הכיבוש בגלל עשיית מעשים בלתי מוסריים הנעשים שם לפי דעתו”.
Judge Shturzman finished with a question “what is the proper action, facing no other choice, for citizens of the state of Israel, among them soldiers and police officers do disobey an order.”
His reply was:” Thinking about it, it reminded me what the previous Attorney General of Israel, (Mikhal Ben-Yair) said, he justified the refusal (disobeying an order) of such personal (soldiers and police officers) to serve in the west bank due to what they see as immoral actions taking place”
from the above passage it’s clearly that he wasn’t calling anyone to disobey an order, just said he thinks it was similar to people on the left who refuse to disobey orders.
go brush your Hebrew skills instead of resorting to your usual personal attacks.
The headline clearly says Shturzman was calling for disobeying military orders. Go argue with the editors.
It’s clear from what you’ve quoted that Shturzman was justifying refusing orders. This is an act of mutiny as I said.
And the next time you add a single word of snark to your comments you’ll be moderated. You’re my guest. In my house I make the rules. You remember that.
You should know that editors gives headlines that will attract readers (you do that to)
do you think that those who are calling for soldiers not to server in the west bank (for what ever reason) are calling for mutiny ?
The Occupation is a violation of international law. Evacuating settlements is neither a violation of international or Israeli law. So refusing to enforce the Occupation is not mutiny since the Occupation itself is illegal. But refusing to evacuate settlements IS mutiny.
Richard, serving in the IDF has nothing to do with the International law, people go into service because that’s the law in israel, there is no international law forcing them to enlist.
So you need to answer the question using the Israeli perspective, not using your own. and the answer to that is that while to attorney general was not charged with mutiny, neither was this judge.
Both opinions are legitimate part of the Israeli discussion.
That’s precisely Israel’s problem isn’t it? Because of COURSE serving in any national military is subject to the laws of war & international law. Why else do you think the IDF is beginning to talk about having legal & human rights officers attached to military units? And any military order given which violates international law is null & void. That means an Israeli who refuses to serve the Occupation is following international law whether or not Israel recognizes this.
Israel actually needs to approach this matter from the perspective of international norms. It has little or nothing to do w me or my perspective.
” Because of COURSE serving in any national military is subject to the laws of war & international law. Why else do you think the IDF is beginning to talk about having legal & human rights officers attached to military units? And any military order given which violates international law is null & void”
Sorry, not exactly true. Commanders are subject to International law, but a conscript has no obligation to keep to IL or to even know the IL. The legal attaches will advise commanders not conscripts. “Serving” is not subject to IL.
A military order will not be null and void, it can at best be illegal. But the order will still stand.
Once again, on this and other progressive blogs a much greater weight is given to IL than actually exists. What is customary IL is subject to great debate between jurists, and conventional IL usually only obliges the signing parties.
For instance, Israel is not a signatory to the forth Geneva Convention, and even though one might argue as to its binding even to countries who did not sign, you could not, for instance, put up an Israeli leader to trial for not adhering to one of its sections (e.g. settlements)
Yoram, what’s the point you’re trying to make? That Jews are safer in Israel than in the US or Europe? Who is delusional here? Yes, anything can probably happening anywhere, but a chance of Jews being massacred in Israel are a lot higher than anywhere in the world. And yes, the Israel-Palestine conflict, potentially puts us, Jews in the diaspora, at risk, even if we have nothing to do with it.
Jews were massacred all over Europe, before Muhammad was even born, let alone the I-P conflict in it’s current form even began. so i do not understand your comment at all.
besides, if you are as assimilated as you think, why should anyone hold the Jews responsible for anything happening in another country ? Most Jews living in Europe, you included,do not even participate in the elections in Israel.
i find it very strange that you are willing to accept such a blame.
I am sorry, Yoram. I’ve completely lost your line of argument, if there is any. Please, repeat what is the point you’re trying to make in this thread.
Recently I visited the neologue synagogue which
stood next to Herzl’s birthplace. His was born in
Pest and grew up in multicultural Habsburg
Austrian empire, first Budapest, then Vienna.
Many of his ideas have their roots there…
At last……someone who’se not afraid to say in public what most of us Israelis already know.
Well, in a country where dozens of state employees sign a letter to forbid employing Arab citizens or renting them apartments, and some of them even write a so called “religious guidance” book that promote their killing, this guy almost seems moderate.
Of course, he’s just an example. You can just browse through Judge Einat Ron’s constant coropration with illegal arrests and warrents as another one.
I think you got mixed up a bit, he was never a military judge and certainly never sat on military appeals. You may have confused him with Uri Shoham or Amnon Strachnov who both were military judges
It would be nice for you to concede yr own error. Dena has conceded hers. And the conclusion is that he was a military judge, whether or not there are two types of military courts, he was a reservist judge in one of them. And Dena is correct that Israeli lawyers are reservist judges in military courts. In fact, a reader here told us that he was such a person.
And regardless of whether he was a civil or military judge, the notion that ANY judge or any sort would justify breaking military or any sort of law is beyond repugnant & he deserves impeachment if there is such a system in Israel. The fact that he would never be impeached even if there was such a provision speaks volumes about the level of impunity among the highest levels of Israeli political & judicial ranks.
First, clearly you didn’t understand what i stated about the differences between the two types of military courts.
Shmuel is right, he was never a military judge, he never set in a case involving a Palestinian as he was a Bit-Din judge (a total different animal)
he didn’t call anyone to disobey an order, you are simply twisting his statement, he argued that the command given was illegal because Arik Shaorn violated the unwritten contract he had with the voters, as stated that if the court system will not force sharon to go to new elections, the act is immoral, illegal and said that if facing no other choice we just like Prof. Michal Ben_Yair who understood soldiers who refused to serve in the west bank because of what they saw is the immoral actions would act the same.
But he sat for cases involving IDF soldiers hence he was a military judge.
As for what Shturzman said, you’re a liar. He called for disobeying a military order, which is mutiny. He can gussy this up any which way he likes but if u put lipstick on a pig it’s still a pig. Sharon may’ve promised a referendum & broken his promise. Politicians do it every day w/o governments toppling. No judge has a right to bring down a govt for someone’s idea that there’s an inviolable contract that no PM has the right to break. And no judge did.
If the Opposition didn’t like Sharon’s policy they had a right to file a no confidence motion. I presume Likud tried that & failed. Tant pis.
What is assassination has to do with anything ?
he wasn’t killed for being a Jew, he was killed because he signed an agreement seen as unfair and unjust by a group of army officers. two of them Fischer and Solomon were… Jewish.
and from wikipedia: Rathenau was fervently mourned in Germany, with flags officially at half mast.
and as for the scholar you provided, give me a brake, you ask a Jew who immigrated to Israel in 1923 write a book about Jewish assimilation in Germany ?
You claim Jews were integrated into German culture & used the example of a Jewish foreign minister. I responded that Jewish foreign ministers who are integrated & accepted into German society don’t get assassinated. Then you ask what assassination has to do with anything. Are you using your brain or just don’t want to be bothered?
I don’t care whether he was mourned or not. You don’t kill a high gov’t official unless there is significant support for the act among major elements of the populace.
Gershom Scholem knew more in his little finger about German Jewry than you have in that big empty brain of yours. And don’t insult the memory of one of the finest Jewish (& Israeli) minds of the 20th century. It only makes you look cheap & shabby by comparison.
so using your logic, i guess it would be safe to assume that JFK was assassinated due to his religion ? or that Rabin was assassinated due to his religion ? what about the attempt on Reagan ? What about the Lord Moyne ?
I didn’t say there was no support, all i’m arguing that at the time the support had nothing to do with his religion, but with what the Army saw as a humiliating agreement.
Now if you don’t want me to use snark, and you ask that i will be civilized please do not use terms such as empty brain and other pearls you throw at my direction.
If you remember i already pointed out to you that you violate your own rules, (after you first insulted me) be civilized Mr Silverstein, you are the one setting the tone for all the snark. not your readers.
Actually, Rabin WAS assassinated for religious & political reasons. Otherwise, the settler rabbis wouldn’t have convened a pulsa di nura & approved his killing, which led to Amir’s plot to kill him. Religion & politics are a nexus esp. in Israel.
In Germany, it was far too easy to murder Jews for political reasons even before the Holocaust as Rathenau & Rosa Luxembourg’s assassinations prove. That’s because Jews, even then, were viewed by many Germans as alien to Germany.
Germany went through a turmoil during that time, it was easy to murder anyone, you forgot to mention that both people you mentioned were in position of power (each with his own organization) and were murdered for what they presented not for their religion.
From both those murders one can’t conclude – logically – what you concluded, to come with your conclusion you would need to look at the number of murders of political figures in germany during that time, and see how many non jews were murdered for the same reason.
Why do you think Hitler targeted the Jews for extermination? It was a political decision based on his notion that we were all Bolsheviks & enemies of the State. Jews in particular were enemies of the State. Hitler & German rightists targeted no other religious group specifically in such a way. They singled us out. That’s why yr notion that German Jews were accepted or integrated is so patently false. Further, that’s why Rosa Luxembourg, Rathenau & prob. many others (I don’t know Weimar history as well as I know other eras) were murdered as well. You can’t separate the political views fr. religious issues. German rightists saw Jews as their enemy both because of their religion & their perceived leftism.
So again, your argument that Jews were integrated into Weimar & accepted by non-Jewish Germans is wrong. There is, I’m afraid no way to rescue your claim. It sinks of its own weight.
Take a look at his News1 profile: http://www.news1.co.il/Archive/006-D-144-00.html (Hebrew).
He absolutely was a military judge.
Such is the “justice” in Israel, that anti-Arab racists sit on courts designed to judge Arabs.
Shunra and Richard – you’ve both misunderstood the military court jargon, and come to far-reaching consequences as a result of this mistake.
Uri S was a reservist judge in the Bet Din Tzva’i which is the court martial for soldiers.
He was never part of the Bet Mishpat Tzva’i which is the court set up by the occupying party in accordance with the Geneva Convention (and which henceforth tries Palestinians)
There is no interchange between these two types of courts, thus even though Uri S’s views may be repugnant, they are irrelevant to his judicial activities, and your criticism on this particular point is unwarranted and unfair.
Au contraire, Shmuel – I’m afraid that you’ve misunderstood the military court system.
The bio reads as follows:
שוחרר משירות בצה”ל מסיבות רפואיות אך לימים גוייס ובמסגרת שירותו בצה”ל מכהן כשופט בית דין צבאי במטה הכללי ובבית הדין הצבאי המיוחד. כיהן בתפקיד שופט בבית הדין הצבאי לערעורים עד יציאתו לגימלאות.
This was indeed his position as a reservist. However, in his capacity as reserve soldier he served both in the chief-of-staff and the “special court” – which tries high ranking officers and cases that could incur capital punishment. (There’s a good explanation of this court in the Hebrew Wikipedia entry for military courts.)
As to the appointing of judges – I don’t have references for this, but I seem to recall that many attorneys do their “miluim” reserve-duty as participants in the military tribunal system.
And the man who sat in this position didn’t feel that Arabs and Muslims have rights.
Shunra – why do you keep arguing ?
As Shmuel said and as you correctly stated from news 1 Shtruzman, was a judge in “Bit-Din Zvai” which is an entirely different entity then “Bit-Mishpat Zvai”
the first deals with Israeli soldiers or employees of the IDF, the second deals with those who don’t live under the jurisdiction of the Israeli law such as Palastinians in the west bank or Gaza. Though both operated by the military, there is nothing in common between the two.
and from wikipedia : Bit-Mishpat Zvai: http://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%91%D7%99%D7%AA_%D7%9E%D7%A9%D7%A4%D7%98_%D7%A6%D7%91%D7%90%D7%99_(%D7%99%D7%A9%D7%A8%D7%90%D7%9C)
Bit-Din Zvai – http://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%91%D7%99%D7%AA_%D7%93%D7%99%D7%9F_%D7%A6%D7%91%D7%90%D7%99
Thanks for your explanation.
So Shtruzman only tries military personnel who have committed crimes under military code (say, committing a massacre, or pillaging a village, or some such) but not the population under occupation, which would be handled under a “beit mishpat zvai”.
Again, this is appalling – although indeed, differently than I had understood before. Shtruzman gets to let evil-doers off easily, if they’ve done evil to people he feels have less than full rights. He does not, though, get to punish over-harshly those unter-menschen.
Please feel free to correct any misperception I may still have about this.
first you understand correctly, Shtruzman will judge only crimes under the military code that apply to those who can be trailed by Israeli law.
Anyone who commits a massacre, or pillaging a village (or some such) will be brought in-front of a tribunal and if Shturzman will be a part of the said tribunal, he will have 30% of the total votes.
according to the article in news one he retired 16 years ago.
“However, in his capacity as reserve soldier he served both in the chief-of-staff and the “special court” – which tries high ranking officers and cases that could incur capital punishment.”
There are only a few cases that could incur a death sentence in this military special court according to Israeli law, and only during a declared state of war: treason, defection, assisting the enemy, and providing intelligence to the enemy. To my knowledge the only case meeting those terms was during the war of independence (before the law was formalized). No Israeli soldier was accused of these crimes since- hence your first claim is void.
As for your second claim, you have no proof, and so it too is irrelevant.
He’s right. The IDF maintains a separate judicial system for the Palestinians of the West Bank (i.e. Beit HaMishpat HaTzvai, with which Shtruzman had nothing to do). Alleged Palestinians terrorists can also be prosecuted in civilian court-rooms, but they rarely are. While Shtruzman had a career as a civilian judge, odds are he never presided over such a case.
[I am sorry that this comment turned out to be so long.]
The judge seems to be making sweeping generalizations. I don’t know if he’s lived in Europe and has an intimate knowledge of the situation here. This argument is something I hear a lot from my Israeli friends and relatives. Basically, what they say is: “Be afraid of Muslims, they seek to destroy you, they are going to get you. Look how many immigrants and how many problems, etc. Muslims are evil, and therefore we’re justified in fighting them by whatever means.”
I am seek and tired of this argument. It is mostly repeated by people who have never lived in Europe, who have no Muslim friends, who know next to nothing about the Muslim world, culture, etc. These people speak fear, ignorance and hate.
In the Netherlands, there are about 5% Muslims or people of Muslim background, a little less than 1 mln in a country of 17 mln. They are mostly Turks, Moroccans and Indonesians (some of whom are Christians). The Indonesians are very well integrated (they come from a former colony and speak the language).
As far as the other two groups are concerned, there are two major integration problems. Some of the first-generation (now mostly elderly) immigrants speak very little Dutch. They came here in the 1960s to do the work that no one else wanted to do. At the time, there were very few efforts to help them learn the language and integrate. As a result, they tend to rely a lot on family and friends and to group together, mostly in urban centers.
The second major problem is with certain groups of (especially Moroccan) youth, who do speak the language, but display anti-social behavior such as petty crime, bothering other people, shouting racist slogans, etc. In this they are not much different from certain groups of native youth. I think we are all familiar with this kind of behavior where we live. I think that this stems primarily from problems at home and at school, from the feeling of being discriminated or not being accepted. These problems are not due to their Muslim heritage, but rather to lack of culture or upbringing in certain families. Many immigrants, especially those coming from traditional societies, when “planted” on a totally different soil and being suddenly deprived of their familiar social structure, seem to find themselves confused, not knowing how to deal with a different society, how to bring up children, etc. This leads to social problems described above.
But, this being said, very many 2-nd and 3-rd generation Muslims are perfectly integrated. I live in a lower-middle- to middle-class neighborhood with many Dutch, Turk, Moroccan, Indian Surinamese neighbors. They are just like anybody else. They live in the same houses (some own their houses, others rent), drive the same kind of cars, their children go to the same schools as everybody else. They only stand out because they look differently, because some have an accent, because some women wear head covers.
There is a playground just outside our house, and I see all the time children of different backgrounds mixing and playing together perfectly. Dutch, Moroccan, Turkish, Indian girls are fond of my little daughter; they play with her and take care of her. There are some “problem” children around, but in many cases they are native Dutch children. Before, I used to live in a lower-class neighborhood with many 1st generation immigrants from Muslim countries and Eastern Europe. My experience of interacting with immigrants has generally been very positive (maybe because I myself am an immigrant?).
Despite the above mentioned integration problems, many Muslims have made it in Holland. The mayor of Rotterdam, the largest Dutch city and the largest port in Europe, is a first-generation Moroccan immigrant. There have been Muslims in the government. 14 of the 150 members of Parliament are of Muslim background, of whom 7 are practicing Muslims. They are members of the traditionally (center-)left Labor Party, but also of the (center) Christian Democrats and the (liberal left) Greens Party, etc.
The populist Geert Wilders and his Freedom Party are playing on the fear of Islam. They tremendously exaggerate Muslim fundamentalism and call the Koran a fascist book that must be banned. By doing so, they only antagonize the Muslim citizens. The fact is that Muslim fundamentalism and extremism is marginal and virtually non-existent in the Netherlands. The national Intelligence service, despite all their efforts, has managed to uncover a couple of extremist groups of youngsters, one of whom killed Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam in 2004.
My conclusion is that the more free, tolerant, just and prosperous a society is, the less fundamentalism and extremism is to be found. I don’t see anything naïve in this standpoint. To be sure, there is still discrimination, ignorance and fear, but the tendency is good, unless the likes of Geert Wilders manage to gain a lot of power. So let’s work for freedom, tolerance, understanding, social justice and prosperity for all!
As a side story, last summer a couple of friends (originally from Moldova) were visiting us from Israel with their kids. Their eldest son, about 10 years old, is very good at football. So he would play football with other boys on the playground outside our house. The football World Cup was in full swing, and there was a lot of football fever around. At a certain point, a group of a few Dutch, Moroccan and Turkish boys that he played with asked him in English where he came from. I happened to overhear their conversation. He said he was from Israel. I must say I was bracing myself for their reaction. Instead, they looked at him rather surprised – they probably never saw an Israeli before – and went on to play together with him as if it wasn’t a big deal.
Leonid, excellent comment.
A lot of the right wing, at least those who are Zionists are spectacular in their ignorance. It’s really astonishing. Being right wing, or even Kahanist is one thing, but to mix that up with ignorance really makes for some of the most mind boggling conclusions in politics that one can think of. The religious element further adds the comedy.
Fit for an oscar.
One of the biggest blunders, bloopers, call it what you will is the belief that Europe needs to be educated about what Israel’s needs are, and what the “truth” is. The mind boggles. I mean, how ignorant and stupid and sooooooo projectionist is this…THEY are the ones who need educating,
Poll after poll in Europe shows the Europeans (even those who whom are hostile to Islam) as seeing Israel as a terrorist entity. They are anti American, (at least till Obama voted in) and yet another fairy story they propogate is that European/US civilisation is the one and the same.
It is NOT
I’m not sure many Europeans see Israel as a terrorist entity, at least not yet. I’d say most don’t even care. The rest are probably more or less equally divided into supporters (of various degrees) of Israel and supporters of Palestinian rights. Europeans are NOT anti-American. I’d say there is a strong love-hate relationship with America. The “hate” part probably has to do with perceived American arrogance, ignorance and aggressiveness. The “love” part is about American achievements as pioneers of Western civilization. Although European and US civilizations are not the same, my feeling is that they are getting closer, as Europe has a hard time fighting off Americanization, championed mostly by big corporations and the media.
Speaking about those who do get involved and have an opinion or side to take, but you’re right in that most are apathetic. But then again the apathetic are not the ones directly involved.
I don’t know on what basis you speak about European feelings for the US, been living in almost every European country have you? I wouldn’t say if I didn’t “know”…