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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Birth of Civility?

There is a debate going on in the pages of the Detroit Jewish News on "civility in our Jewish dialogue". OK, I can be civil. But if you don't like what I have to say, don't accuse me of being "divisive". Rather, offer a substantive argument showing me the error of my ways. There always has been and always will be a diversity of opinion in the Jewish community, civil or otherwise. So, Sharon Lipton and the JCRC will have to excuse me if don't attend their civility seminars. (I'd have to attend in my Purim costume anyway to maintain my anonymity.) Here at Talking Tachlis, we offer a fine platform for community members to air their grievances and engage in spirited debate. We are adults. We don't need to be told how to debate. If you don't like our position on the issues, don't avoid answering our charges by hiding behind "civility".

Civility, believe it or not, can be taken too far. Take for example, this letter by Robert Cohen, JCRC president, in January second's Detroit Free Press:
Although Terry Ahwal's guest commentary of Dec. 27 conveyed a one-sided picture of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it was encouraging to see it conclude with support for a two-state solution ("Gingrich's claim that Palestinians are 'invented' displays a pandering style of foreign policy").

Jews and Arabs often strongly disagree about where to lay blame for their conflict, but we can agree that both Israelis and Palestinians have suffered greatly. We cannot forget past events that brought Israelis and Palestinians to where they are today. But peace can only be realized if both peoples move forward toward a settlement they negotiate directly with each other based on a shared vision of a better future.
Lovely, isn't it? The very model of civility. It is even-handed, forgiving, non-confrontational, walking on the sunny side of the street with both hands outstretched in friendship.

The problem is that Terry Ahwal took the opposite stance. Read his column here.

Pretty nasty, isn't it? It's not only divisive (to the Metropolitan Detroit community) and confrontational, but it's a pack of lies, which anyone who knows anything about the history of the Middle East can easily expose. Unfortunately, as we know, when it comes to slandering Israel in the mainstream press, the slanderers are allowed to create their own facts; fact-checking be damned. The ultimate lie, sitting atop a stinking pile of defamation and dishonesty, is the final paragraph:
Gingrich should know that we Palestinian people live and exist and are the indigenous population of Palestine. For the interest of peace, Palestinians are willing to live side by side by Israel as equal and no amount of denial will eradicate us.
Do I really have to explain the unabashed mendacity of those fallacious claims? I don't think I do, but I think Mr. Cohen should have shown some support for the Jewish community and exposed Ahwal's lies in the Free Press. I'm sorry Mr. Cohen, but "one-sided" is quite a limp-wristed attack on a piece that demanded a strong response. But what's worse is the morally equivalent tone of what follows.

You credit Ahwal for his support of the "two state solution"? Palestinian leadership is interested in a one state solution, and guess which state that solution doesn't include.

Yes, Palestinians and Israelis have both suffered . . . at the hands of the Palestinians.

Anyone who has been paying attention knows that Palestinians and Israelis don't share the same vision. The Palestinian vision is a land without Israel and without Jews. That's more than strong disagreement. That has to be acknowledged when answering libels against Israel and against Jews. You want to compromise with evil? Move over, and let those of us who are willing to raise our voices speak.

Recall what Golda Meir had to say about compromising with our enemies:
I guess we have no choice. Either we do everything that is possible, and may seem to others as impossible, and just give up. Or we do everything that is really impossible and we remain alive. There’s one more basic thing that I think that people outside of Israel must realize, and if they understand and accept that, maybe other things will fall into place.

For instance, we’re not the only people in the world who’ve had difficulties with neighbors; that has happened to many. We are the only country in the world whose neighbors do not say, “We are going to war because we want a certain piece of land from Israel,” or waterways or anything of that kind. We’re the only people in the world where our neighbors openly announce they just won’t have us here. And they will not give up fighting and they will not give up war as long as we remain alive. Here.

So this is the crux of the problem: it isn’t anything concrete that they want from us. That’s why it doesn’t make sense when people say, “Give up this and give up the other place. Give up the Golan Heights,” for instance. What happened when we were not on the Golan Heights? We were not on the Golan Heights before ’67, and for 19 years, Syria had guns up there and shot at our agricultural settlements below. We were not on the Golan Heights! So what, if we give up the Golan Heights, they will stop shooting? We were not in the Suez Canal when the war started.

It’s because Egypt and Syria and the other Arab countries refuse to acquiesce to our existence. Therefore there can be no compromise. They say we must be dead. And we say we want to be alive. Between life and death, I don’t know of a compromise. And that’s why we have no choice.
I await a response. But please be civil. I'm very sensitive.


  1. Cohen is a limp-dick idiot that loves to see his pointless words in print. Realistically & factually there are 1.5 billion Muslims in the world & they are a majority in 56 countries, most of which they are not citizens, however they have forcefully & collectively pushed their agenda on every society outside the middle east, their goal is global Islam, even the quiet ones believe Islam will be the world religion, infidels will have a choice of converting or being sold on open slave markets, Jews will not have a choice but will all be killed as soon as islam rules according to their koran. Christians are 2.5 billion worldwide, but only a majority population in 42 countries, Jews are 14 million worldwide with a majority population in 1 country. Muslims, 1.5 billion worldwide, multiple wives, many children (Osama was one of 65 siblings), inbreeding, shaariah law, and now the majority in 56 countries; you do the math.

  2. Uh oh sherrygilman, you will now be branded as "uncivil" and as "islamophobic" for daring to tell the truth about Islam. It doesn't matter that you've just connected Islam's history, which is written in blood, with Islam's present, also being written in blood. It doesn't matter that one can read the Qu'ran and other Islamic texts and get the skinny on Islam, the calls to violence, the attacks on Jews and Christians. It doesn't matter that you can watch Islamic leaders on YouTube openly inciting jihad and Jew-hatred. What matters is that you remain civil and engage in dialogue with the "other" so we can all live happily ever after. Or so our Jewish community leaders want us to believe.

    1. http://www.hvcn.org/info/feh/

      The above website is FYI and is based in Ann Arbor where a particularly small but relentlessly nasty cadre of BDS bigots has harassed a local synagogue for nearly 9 years ( with scant pushback from most of the synagogue members or officials).

      One of them, Blaine Coleman ( see the " who are the herskovites" page) has even received ACLU backing for a truly vile antisemitic ad he wants run on ann arbor busses and which the transportation authority initially rejected out of hand (to their credit).

      The case is pending.