Flotilla, Exodus, and WW2 analogies

Posted: June 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: In the News | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

In the days after the Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla, several articles evoked the famous Exodus incident from 1947, in which a ship with Holocaust survivors was stopped on its way to Palestine by British forces. Four passengers were killed after the soldiers who took over the ship were met with resistance and opened fire.

Maariv brought today the story of an Exodus passengers named Miriam Kleiman, who didn’t like this analogy at all:

No Comparison

Ma’ariv (p. B4) by Gali Ginat — “I don’t understand how anyone can compare the flotilla to Gaza with the Exodus,” says Miriam Kleiman, her eyes flashing. “Who but Holocaust deniers would compare it to the Exodus? There’s no comparison. We were people who had suffered loss, who had been killed and expelled from every place. All we wanted was to live. Those people don’t belong in this area at all. They came to offer help to people who they claim are poor even though according to the photographs that I saw, there’s no hunger in Gaza.”

Kleiman seems to be angry at the question itself. A person who, at the age of nine, sailed to Israel on the clandestine immigration ship Exodus after traveling throughout Europe on her own for a year and a half knows what she is talking about. She knows exactly what happens when attackers armed with live weapons board a ship whose passengers have nothing but canned food and potatoes, block the ship’s entry and force it to turn back.

But this comparison, which was made quite a few times over the past several weeks after the failed takeover of Marmara, which encountered trouble at sea and aroused the ire of the international community, infuriates her. “There’s not the slightest comparison,” she says firmly. “We came because there was no other way. We wanted to be citizens of Poland and Germany, but they killed us and gave us no other way out. We wanted to go from Poland to America and England. They wouldn’t let us. The United States closed its gates. They only wanted to bring us back to hell. We didn’t want to die. Where’s the comparison here?”

For almost fifty years, Miriam Kleiman has kept her story inside. Only several months ago did she decide to break her silence and tell her story in a book that she published, Taboo. “And it really was taboo,” Kleiman explains. “I didn’t let anyone get near me with questions about what happened then. I changed my name, Martha, to Miriam immediately upon arriving in Israel. When people asked me about the Exodus, I would go silent and run away. I didn’t want anyone to know about it. My children never felt anything except on Holocaust Memorial Day, when I would go to my room, close the door and cry.”

Miriam Kleiman, 72, was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1938. Her name at birth was Martha Elbinger. On the last day of 1947, she arrived at Kibbutz Ein Shemer. Her nine-year journey, which took her through countless countries, included sneaking across borders and stowing away on clandestine immigration ships—one little girl, the sole survivor of a large and well-known family, who had to grow up in a moment. From the moment that she arrived on the kibbutz and changed her name to Miriam, the past almost ceased to exist. Kleiman grew to adulthood and joined the army, was discharged and moved to Tel Aviv, married and had a son and daughter. Mainly, she tried to talk about what happened back there as little as possible.

“I was almost the only one left after the war,” she recalls. “My entire large family was killed except for one sister of my father and two sisters of my mother, who came to Israel before the war broke out because they were members of Hashomer Hatza’ir. My mother had six brothers and sisters. My father had three. An enormous family. Today, when I walk in Warsaw, I see entire lots that belonged to my family and that were nationalized by the Polish. When I came to Israel, I was nine years old and I didn’t remember much at first. My mother’s sisters told me about the family, showed me photographs and letters from before the war. That kept my memory alive, and all the time I had the feeling that there was a reason that I had stayed alive: I had to tell about the ones who were no longer there. It was like a last will and testament. I had heavy feelings of guilt over not writing those memoirs, and slowly I felt that they were becoming more and more vague. Also, my aunts were growing older, and their memories were not what they had been. I felt that in a little while, there would no longer be anyone who remembered, and then they died, and my husband told me that this was the time to write, but first I wanted to go and visit anywhere I could. I’m happy that I didn’t write then because I had more time to spend with him. When he died five years ago, I said: This is it. Now the time has come.”

Kleiman says that everyone who went through the war was damaged in one way or another. “There’s no way. No one can get through it without a scratch,” she says. “My daughter, Ruta (trumpet player Ruta Kleiman—G.G.), decided to get me out of it and told me that I had to start talking. It happened at the same time as the gates to Poland opened in around 1985. My friends succeeded in going there, and I asked them to call and search for the Polish family who had hidden me after I hadn’t seen them for fifty years. When that connection was made, I started to give talks in schools and tell my story, and the first time I did it, my whole body shook. Since then, I’ve been meeting with the Polish family every year. Either I go to them, or they come to me. Once I would go with my daughter, and then with my husband. Today, I go on my own.”

Kleiman’s story is in three parts. In the first part, she is a five-year-old girl, hidden for two years by a Polish family on the other side of the ghetto. “My aunt, Hanka, left the ghetto every day for her job as a nurse. One day, she heard about a Polish man by the name of Rogla who saved Jews. She went to him and asked whether he could save a Jewish boy. He said that he didn’t know about a Jewish boy, but he was willing to save a Jewish girl right away. Boys were more dangerous.” The Elbinger family did not think twice. The time that they were miraculously saved the moment before they boarded the train to Treblinka was enough for them, and they sent little Martha, the only girl in the house, to Rogla’s arms. Martha erased her Jewish identity and took a new, completely Polish name.

She almost forgot who she was, but the war ended and the Rogla family made contact with her aunts in Palestine. The rest of her family, except for one other sister, was completely annihilated. “They wrote that I was living with them and they asked my aunts whether they would give me up. If so, they would adopt me, and if not, they would send me immediately to a children’s home so as not to get even more attached to me.”

The aunts said that they were willing to have their niece come to live with them in Palestine, and even managed to get a certificate (an entry permit) to Israel issued for her and sent to her by mail. But then the pogroms began, and little Martha, together with the rest of the children in the children’s home, had to flee from one DP camp to another throughout Europe, as her possessions were stolen from her each time. “Because this was an illegal immigration, we had to sneak across borders from place to place,” she said. “All the time, we searched for ships sailing to Palestine. Most of the time, we were in Germany. After that, we were in France, and I think we were in Italy, too. We were a group of children with a nanny, a school principal and his wife, and I was the youngest. A girl of eight or nine on the roads, alone. I have a granddaughter who just turned eight, and she’s such a delicate creature. I can’t understand how anyone could take a girl like that and leave her alone. When my older grandchildren turned ten, they asked me to take them across the street and I didn’t say a thing, but I thought to myself many times that when I was eight years old, I crossed all of Europe. I’m glad that they don’t have to experience that.”

The longed-for certificate “found” Kleiman only after almost two years. After a year and a half of wandering in Europe, Kleiman and her group went on board the Exodus. “It was a gigantic American riverboat,” she recalls, “so they crammed 4,500 people on it. I don’t remember much because I suffered from terrible seasickness. There was nothing on board the ship, maybe some canned food, compared to the British, who came against us armed. We were so many people on board the Exodus that it took three British freighters to take us back to France. For a month, the ships were anchored in France, and nobody left them. I was nine years old then, and I understood what was happening. They wanted to give us passports only after we left the ships. After a month, they saw that no one was leaving, so they said, ‘All right, we’ll take them back to Germany,’ and took us to a camp that had served as a concentration camp in the past. Only then was there an outcry in the world, how the British were taking Jews who had gone through the concentration camps to another concentration camp.”

Kleiman recalls the trip back to Palestine as a terrible nightmare. “The voyage on the Exodus lasted seven days, and that was it. The return voyage took two months. These were freighters, and down below, in the belly of the ship, people lay down on the floor because there were no beds. Everybody was naked, in underwear and undershirts and bras. They did not know each other, but it was terribly hot because there were no windows, only tiny air vents. We washed in seawater and washed our hair in seawater, ate wormy biscuits and slept on hammocks, and had to keep our worldly possessions under our legs. Until that moment, there had always been someone to take care of me, and on the ship there was no one. Nothing. I was a little girl, completely alone.”

On some nights, she writes, she went to sleep away from the rest, on the deck. She is angry about that. She is furious over the comparison with the Exodus. “We just wanted to live. That was all,” she says, her voice rising. “We didn’t want to hurt anyone. We wanted a place where we could live in peace and quiet after everything we’d been through. How, how can anyone say that it’s the same thing?” The question hangs in the air of the room.

Today, she does not hide the past anymore. A medal given to those who were aboard the Exodus is in a prominent place. Her six grandchildren know their grandmother’s story well. “The books ends at the moment that my nightmares ended,” she says. “It happened during the first year that I arrived on the kibbutz and missed Poland. One day, I decided to put on a show in Polish, and I organized my whole class. The parents laughed and enjoyed it a lot, but our teacher, Tzvi, didn’t say a word. After the show was over, he went home in silence. The next morning, we had an English class with him. We were so busy with the show that we didn’t learn a thing, and he shouted at us: ‘You’re putting on a show in Polish! You’re not learning English! So—Polish?” From that moment, I cut off all connection to Polish, forgot the language, and my nightmares stopped, too. From then on, I was a regular girl.”

As you can see, Israelis are not very open to talks of Palestinian suffering these days, to say the least. But here is something different: Haaretz posted this weekend a provocative article by Henry Siegman, also a Holocaust survivor, that revokes Hitler’s days with regards to Gaza – violating the absolute taboo in Israel:

Israel’s Greatest Loss: Its Moral Imagination

By By Henry Siegman

Following Israel’s bloody interdiction of the Gaza Flotilla, I called a life-long friend in Israel to inquire about the mood of the country. My friend, an intellectual and a kind and generous man, has nevertheless long sided with Israeli hardliners. Still, I was entirely unprepared for his response. He told me—in a voice trembling with emotion—that the world’s outpouring of condemnation of Israel is reminiscent of the dark period of the Hitler era.

He told me most everyone in Israel felt that way, with the exception of Meretz, a small Israeli pro-peace party. “But for all practical purposes,” he said, “they are Arabs.”

Like me, my friend personally experienced those dark Hitler years, having lived under Nazi occupation, as did so many of Israel’s Jewish citizens. I was therefore stunned by the analogy. He went on to say that the so-called human rights activists on the Turkish ship were in fact terrorists and thugs paid to assault Israeli authorities to provoke an incident that would discredit the Jewish state. The evidence for this, he said, is that many of these activists were found by Israeli authorities to have on them ten thousand dollars, “exactly the same amount!” he exclaimed.

When I managed to get over the shock of that exchange, it struck me that the invocation of the Hitler era was actually a frighteningly apt and searing analogy, although not the one my friend intended. A million and a half civilians have been forced to live in an open-air prison in inhuman conditions for over three years now, but unlike the Hitler years, they are not Jews but Palestinians. Their jailers, incredibly, are survivors of the Holocaust, or their descendants. Of course, the inmates of Gaza are not destined for gas chambers, as the Jews were, but they have been reduced to a debased and hopeless existence.

Fully 80% of Gaza’s population lives on the edge of malnutrition, depending on international charities for their daily nourishment. According to the UN and World Health authorities, Gaza’s children suffer from dramatically increased morbidity that will affect and shorten the lives of many of them. This obscenity is a consequence of a deliberate and carefully calculated Israeli policy aimed at de-developing Gaza by destroying not only its economy but its physical and social infrastructure while sealing it hermitically from the outside world.

Particularly appalling is that this policy has been the source of amusement for some Israeli leaders, who according to Israeli press reports have jokingly described it as “putting Palestinians on a diet.” That, too, is reminiscent of the Hitler years, when Jewish suffering amused the Nazis.

Another feature of that dark era were absurd conspiracies attributed to the Jews by otherwise intelligent and cultured Germans. Sadly, even smart Jews are not immune to that disease. Is it really conceivable that Turkish activists who were supposedly paid ten thousand dollars each would bring that money with them on board the ship knowing they would be taken into custody by Israeli authorities?

That intelligent and moral people, whether German or Israeli, can convince themselves of such absurdities (a disease that also afflicts much of the Arab world) is the enigma that goes to the heart of the mystery of how even the most civilized societies can so quickly shed their most cherished values and regress to the most primitive impulses toward the Other, without even being aware they have done so. It must surely have something to do with a deliberate repression of the moral imagination that enables people to identify with the Other’s plight. Pirkey Avot, a collection of ethical admonitions that is part of the Talmud, urges: “Do not judge your fellow man until you are able to imagine standing in his place.”

Of course, even the most objectionable Israeli policies do not begin to compare with Hitler’s Germany. But the essential moral issues are the same. How would Jews have reacted to their tormentors had they been consigned to the kind of existence Israel has imposed on Gaza’s population? Would they not have seen human rights activists prepared to risk their lives to call their plight to the world’s attention as heroic, even if they had beaten up commandos trying to prevent their effort? Did Jews admire British commandos who boarded and diverted ships carrying illegal Jewish immigrants to Palestine in the aftermath of World War II, as most Israelis now admire Israel’s naval commandos?

Who would have believed that an Israeli government and its Jewish citizens would seek to demonize and shut down Israeli human rights organizations for their lack of “patriotism,” and dismiss fellow Jews who criticized the assault on the Gaza Flotilla as “Arabs,” pregnant with all the hateful connotations that word has acquired in Israel, not unlike Germans who branded fellow citizens who spoke up for Jews as “Juden”? The German White Rose activists, mostly students from the University of Munich, who dared to condemn the German persecution of the Jews (well before the concentration camp exterminations began) were also considered “traitors” by their fellow Germans, who did not mourn the beheading of these activists by the Gestapo.

So, yes, there is reason for Israelis, and for Jews generally, to think long and hard about the dark Hitler era at this particular time. For the significance of the Gaza Flotilla incident lies not in the questions raised about violations of international law on the high seas, or even about “who assaulted who” first on the Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara, but in the larger questions raised about our common human condition by Israel’s occupation policies and its devastation of Gaza’s civilian population.

If a people who so recently experienced on its own flesh such unspeakable inhumanities cannot muster the moral imagination to understand the injustice and suffering its territorial ambitions—and even its legitimate security concerns—are inflicting on another people, what hope is there for the rest of us?

Personally, I care much for WW2 analogies, as most of the time they tend to be counter-productive. Instead of talking about the issues, we get diverted into discussions on the legitimacy of arguments, ending up with  historical debates regarding all sorts of issues both sides don’t know much about.

Remember Godwin’s law.

6 Comments on “Flotilla, Exodus, and WW2 analogies”

  1. 1 Ifat said at 4:42 pm on June 13th, 2010:

    I get to follow your writing from Europe. I really appreciate your work. Thanks for keeping us updated.

  2. 2 Michael LeFavour said at 6:59 pm on June 13th, 2010:

    You just Godwined your readers, but who cares about double standards?

    What makes Siegman’s condemnation so grotesque is that he ignores all context when he should understand better than anyone that the Nazis were the aggressors and nothing the Jews trapped in Nazi Germany did could have changed that. There was no violence the Nazis were defending against. There were no German children found with their throats slit by Jews, there were no elderly Germans hacked to death by rampaging mobs of Jews wielding hatchets and knives, there were no grenades being tossed into the windows of simple German farmers, no shreds of human flesh to be scrapped off the twisted wreckage of destroyed buses, there were no German school children targeted by Jewish snipers, there were no Jews firing into the swollen wombs of expectant mothers, there were no German toddlers found strapped to their car seats with their brains blown out by a couple of Jews at point blank range, no hijackings, no bombings, no lynching of German police officers, no barbarity, NOTHING!

    CONTEXT is everything. We all understand that to herd frightened, naked children into a gas chamber and then pull a lever to release killing gas is horrific, but the context lacking in Siegman’s baloney assessment is that Jews are victims once again of a new type of Nazi every bit as vicious. This one shoots the tires out of a family sedan, walks up to the stranded car, executes the frantic mother they find inside, then place the barrel of a gun to the back of her huddled, terrified children’s heads and pulls the trigger over and over at point blank range. What separates this enemy from the old is power and resources. The new enemy serves a bloody handed God who smiles on the suicide martyr, the gunman and the rocket launcher. The new enemy raises his hands smeared in Jewish blood to a God that smiles on the face genocide. The new enemy leaves a loving video before mass murdering Jews content in the knowledge that his mother will pass out sweets in celebration, his face will adorn the walls of Gaza City as a heroic icon, and the neighbors will tell us he was a good boy.

    And all Noam wants is for the Arabs to have another piece of the Jewish ancestral homeland. If they get it we will have peace. Surely Hamas and Hezbollah and all the good people of Egypt, Syria, Libya, and Pakistan, along with the tolerant Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia and the peace loving fundamentalists in Iran will all end the hate speeches and anti-Semitic sermons, they will turn their missiles away from Tel Aviv and Haifa, and we will have peace, right Noam? Never mind the chants of ‘death to the Jews’, huh Noam?

    I have to ask, what is your problem? Don’t you care about free speech, human rights, personal liberty, and the rule of law? Should Jews just stand there waiting for a bullet to the back of the head? I don’t understand the millions of self righteous fakes that wish the tiny nation of Israel harm. You don’t see a better use of your time than to have them stumble in here one by one and congratulate you on your propaganda effort? Isn’t it enough for you that Israel treats its enemies in its hospitals, supplies its enemies with goods, fuel, and equipment, and offers part of its land to a people that do not want peace, rant about how much it wants to kill Jews, and trains its children to hate? I just don’t get it. Reading your blog one might believe that Israel is the one truly evil state in the world. Why is that, Noam?

  3. 3 Raphael said at 11:51 am on June 14th, 2010:

    The thing that you don’t understand, Michael LeFavrour, the thing that confuses you so much, is something called “common human decency”. When people see something very bad done by people to other people, some of them will have a problem with that. Weird, I know, but part of life. (Of course, bad things done by people to other people are usually justified by their supporters by invoking the context, but it’s hardly surprising that there are always some people who don’t agree with that defense.)

    If they get it we will have peace. Surely Hamas and Hezbollah and all the good people of Egypt, Syria, Libya, and Pakistan, along with the tolerant Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia and the peace loving fundamentalists in Iran will all end the hate speeches and anti-Semitic sermons, they will turn their missiles away from Tel Aviv and Haifa, and we will have peace, right Noam? Never mind the chants of ‘death to the Jews’, huh Noam?

    Completely irrelevant. Of course there won’t be peace and freedom all over the Middle East simply because the Palestinians are allowed to life under the rule of a state of which they are citizens, or to be safe in from losing their homes or farms. Thing is, a lot of the things that Israel is doing all the time are simply wrong, and should be stopped simply because of that. When you’ve got a habit of committing murders, robberies, and large-scale destructions of property, you’re supposed to drop that habit even though that won’t lead to world peace.

    Oh, and by the way, do you really think that someone who writes like you is in any position to accuse others of self-righteousness?

  4. 4 Michael LeFavour said at 7:32 pm on June 14th, 2010:

    Raphael, at least Noam makes sense. Israel is evil and must be stopped, so……any deception, any omission, any spin, any false logic presented is OK, because Israel is evil…and, therefor, must be stopped.

    But, I can’t make sense of what you just wrote. You say I don’t understand human decency, yet the only reason I am here is because I care about the barbaric indecency of the slit throats, the shredded flesh, the anti-Jewish rage, and the people like Noam that pretend all Israeli actions are dreamed up, initiated, and carried out inside the confines of a sterile vacuum.

    How many Jews are able to live safely in Gaza today, Raphael? Weird, I know, but I can’t think of any more relevant barometer of common human decency than accepting that those who are different have a right to live. Threatening Jews with death just because they are Jews and acting on that hatred by mass murdering them is a very bad thing the Arabs have done to other innocent people. And I do have a serious problem with that, hence my utter confusion over what you are criticizing me for? Your criticism should be addressed to Noam, since he is the one with the cold capacity to ignore the many vicious atrocities the Arabs do to other people. Do you understand what projection is? Because you are engaging in it right now.

    The global call for violent jihad against the Jews of Israel is irrelevant? How does the sand your head is buried in taste? Giving away more Jewish land to create a second Arab state will accomplish absolutely nothing but reward and encourage more violent behavior, Neville.

    Yes Israel does much that is wrong. Israel accepts the farce that there is such a thing as a Palestinian. Israel tolerates intolerance. Israel stops short of defeating its enemies every time. Israel listens to world opinion. Israel refuses to use the death penalty. Israel is willing to give away too much for too little in the false hope that peace may happen even as no evidence that it will exists.

    Only a perversion of morality allows an individual to make the claim that self defense is murder. Also, no Arab home is in jeopardy except by Arab actions. No Arab need die except due to Arab actions. You should tell your Arab friends that if they drop the murder and robbery you projected onto Israel they might have a little more respect from people like me. Until then they get none and neither do you for allowing them to get away with murder.

  5. 5 Raphael said at 11:28 pm on June 14th, 2010:

    at least Noam makes sense. Israel is evil and must be stopped, so……any deception, any omission, any spin, any false logic presented is OK, because Israel is evil…and, therefor, must be stopped.

    I’m not aware of any deceptions or major omissions by Noam. And as far as I can say Noam hasn’t even said that Israel is evil, only that a lot of things done by Israel are wrong.

    You say I don’t understand human decency, yet the only reason I am here is because I care about the barbaric indecency of the slit throats, the shredded flesh, the anti-Jewish rage,

    then why is it so difficult for you to understand that some people might have a problem with similarly horrific things done by Israel? Sure, you say Israel’s actions are ok because of the context, but what’s so surprising about the fact that some people don’t accept your context defense?

    Weird, I know, but I can’t think of any more relevant barometer of common human decency than accepting that those who are different have a right to live.

    I think you’ve made it very clear in some of your comments here that you don’t accept that those who are different have a right to live.

    Israel accepts the farce that there is such a thing as a Palestinian.

    So, Palestinians don’t exist, but “the Arabs” do? How does that work out?

    Also, no Arab home is in jeopardy except by Arab actions.

    That claim is simply wrong, period. Israel routinely throws Palestinian families out of their homes, routinely destroys parts of Palestinian houses and other property, routinely uses Palestinian farmland for its own purposes, and routinely destroys Palestinian crops. And individual Israelis in the West Bank do a lot of smaller actions along similar lines all the time.

    You should tell your Arab friends that if they drop the murder and robbery you projected onto Israel they might have a little more respect from people like me. Until then they get none and neither do you for allowing them to get away with murder.

    1. Why would anyone want to get respect from people like you?

    2. As far as I can tell, most Palestinians are not engaging in murders or robberies at the moment. As far as I can tell, that doesn’t somehow make them save from the danger of getting killed or humiliated, or having their homes or farms destroyed or taken away, by Israel.

  6. 6 Michael LeFavour said at 3:49 pm on June 15th, 2010:

    Raphael, has Noam mentioned testimony from any of the officers of the ship? Has he spent much time writing about Erdogan’s culpability? No. That part of the story would not suit the fiction he is creating. Instead he is too busy insinuating that Israelis are such liars that none can be trusted (except Noam and the ‘Israel is evil no matter what’ crowd he admires, of course) to investigate an act of self defense. And what about this deception…”Israelis are not very open to talks of Palestinian suffering these days”. Really? The Supreme Court of Israel talks constantly about the suffering of the Palestinians (whoever they are), so does Noam, so do the likes of Amira Hass, Gideon Levy, and Neve Gordon. There is an obsessional fixation by some very immoral intellectuals about the supposed suffering of the Arabs. The opposite of what Noam said is true. There is no voice being censured. The free press is alive and well and it is filled with ignorant drivel, hi and lo, about the faux suffering of the Arabs. That is a great big lie that anyone who can read can see. A better question is why should Israelis be open to talking about self inflicted suffering of an enemy like the Arabs calling themselves Palestinians at all? The statement is absurd, yet it is repeated by hundreds of chattering idiots every single day. To me it is like a Western educated Cambodian in 1975, under Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime, complaining that none of his fellow upper class countrymen care about the suffering of the Angka. WTF? The very fact that Noam is not a bleached white pile of bones on some sandy killing field in ‘Palestine’ is only due to the fact that the IDF have the upper hand for the moment and all you can do is condemn those protecting the innocent because they must harm their enemies who are trying to kill Jews for the vilest of all reasons.

    You ask me why I don’t condemn what you claim are “similarly horrific things done by Israel”. The very fact you have the nerve to ask this question is why I have a problem with you, Raphael. You see the simple truth is Israelis do not do anything similar on any scale near what the Arabs do. Baruch Goldstein opened fire on a mosque full of males. Israel banned the entire party he belonged to and made it a criminal offense to even discuss “transfer”. Israel’s enemies made Samir Gunter an honorary citizen and gave him a hero’s welcome for crushing a child’s head with his rifle until her brains oozed out. The Arabs calling themselves Palestinians idolize mass murderers. The Muslim authorities scream that killing Jews and suicide is a noble deed for God, yet you see similar acts.

    Tell you what, Raphael, I will give you a chance to show me that you are fair and impartial with the terms you use. Show me a Jew that has hijacked a ship and thrown a crippled Arab overboard (Leon Klinghoffer). Show me a couple of Jews that have shot the tires out of an Arab family car, walked up to it, fired into the swollen womb of an expectant mother, and then put bullets into the backs of the heads of her 4 screaming children (Tali Hatuel and her children, Hila, Hadar, Roni, and Meirav Hatuel) and then had a parade thrown in their honor where thousands of residents of Jerusalem (Gaza City) march into the streets. Show me a Jew that has not blown himself up, but even blown up a night club that caters to under aged Arabs (Dolphinarium). Show me a couple of Jews that have crushed the skulls of a couple of Arab teen aged back packers so badly that is was impossible to tell who they were (Kobi Mandel and Yosef Ishran). Show me a Jewish girl that has lured an Arab boy into an ambush where he had his head blown off by one of her accomplices (Ofir Rahum). Show me a Jew that has shot up an Arab town and broken into the home of a frightened mother and her handicapped daughter and shot them both dead (Miri and Yael Ohana). Show me a Jew that has attacked a random bus (too many to list), not even with suicide, but just destroyed it for no reason other than to instill terror. If you can show me with evidence atrocity “similar” to this then I will change my opinion. Notice I did not ask for victims of rocket attacks, those are a bit impersonal. I ask for victims of close range murder against civilians. You can’t understand me…now is your chance to show context and win me over to the way you see things with a just and fair eye.

    “I think you’ve made it very clear in some of your comments here that you don’t accept that those who are different have a right to live.”

    Then you will have no problem quoting one of my comments….just for clarity. Put up or shut up is how I have heard it.

    There has never been a political or cultural entity of Arabs calling themselves Palestinians. There has not even been a political or culturally unique Arab group defined by the geographical area mislabeled “Palestine” calling themselves something else. The Arabs have never defined themselves until the Jews came to power. Now the Arabs define themselves and what they want is what the Jews have. Between 1948 to 1967 they did not want Gaza, or Judea and Samaria…I can prove that if you dare challenge me. It was only AFTER 1967 that the Arabs suddenly discovered that their homeland was under occupation. When other Arab Muslims were occupying the land they were fine. If the conflict is not about Muslim bigotry and Arab racism why is that so?

    Israel throws Arabs out of their homes, routinely. Sure, they also throw Jews out of their homes, routinely as well. Your point? May I suggest not building without a permit? May I suggest not allowing your home to hide a smuggling tunnel? May I also suggest not raising a suicide bomber in your home? What is the reaction to the ‘a lot of other smaller stuff’ Israelis do by the Israeli authority and are they doing anything about the a lot of other smaller stuff like stealing farm equipment Arabs are doing to Jews?

    Why would anyone want my respect? I don’t know, but if you have to be given a reason to respect a fellow human being what hope do I have to convince you that you are on the wrong side of the human rights issue here?

    The majority of Arabs are not engaging in murder. Sure. Let’s examine that. Over half the residents of Gaza are minors, around 60% or so. Minors do not make policy or have the resources to commit mass murder (especially since the security barrier has cut down on the footpath to Islamic paradise). Of the remaining 40% half of them are women. Women traditionally do not set policy in a Muslim society (some are in government if they are exceptional liars and are good for propaganda purposes for a Western audience). That leaves 20% of the population to potentially murder. Not all of them do murder, but how many of them support and encourage murder? Of those that voted in the last election about 80% chose a violent jihadist organization known to condone murder of Jews. When given a choice, the Arabs chose terror, perpetual war, and Islamic bigotry. So when you paint a picture of the rest of them being peaceful and benign you are lying. The only people in danger of being killed just for being who they are is the Jews of Israel. If left alone they will not have to fight back and restrict the Arabs. It is called self defense. You should familiarize yourself with that concept before making a fool out of yourself in public.