Monday, December 04, 2006

Wishing the Palestinians out of existence

Bradley Burston, the Haaretz blogger, explains why on the comment section of his blog commenters are prohibited from using the phrase "there are no Palestinians". I've added some emphasis and a couple of notes.

The denial of the existence of the Palestinian people is particularly rife among American far right supporters of Israel and ties in with that other myth: the "empty Palestine croc", a hoax at least partly endorsed by Daniel Pipes. But Bradley doesn't stand for it...

By Bradley Burston

A number of readers have written to suggest that the guidelines for talkback responses listed below - in particular the prohibition on use of the phrase "There are no Palestinians" - are fascistic, capricious, anti-democratic, a blatant curb on free speech.

That is not true. The guidelines are not capricious.

The fact is, that you are free to say almost anywhere else that

there are no Palestinians
, that the whole idea is a fabrication, a myth, that they don't exist because the name is Roman is origin, that they don't exist because Palestine was never a country, that they don't exist because they share language, culture and diet with other Arabs, that they don't exist because it was they themselves who decided, on their own, that they do.

[Note: the second hyperlink links to what must be one of the most offensive articles ever published, on David Horowitz's site, Consider e.g. the end of the article and it's rather impossible to see how even Horriblewitz can allow publication of such a piece on his site.]

You can even say, as one radical religious thinker did, that not only is there no such thing as a Palestinian, there are
no Israelis, either.

You can say this in talkbacks on every other article in this entire newspaper Website. As many ways as you like. As many times as you can stand.

But the prohibition applying to this column is not going anywhere. The reason is this:

I believe that it is a form of racism to tell an entire people, millions upon millions all over the world, that their culture is not a true culture, that their identity is not an identity, that they do not, in fact, exist.

I believe that the reason for denying their existence is to deny the legitimacy of their pain, their aspirations, their longing, the facts of their history, none of which make for a comfortable fit with the history that Zionism originally wrote for itself.

The very idea of the Palestinian Arab represents competition for limited resources of land, the moral high ground, and the self-esteem of long-oppressed peoples.

You can't just wish away the Palestinians. Any more than you can decide, as did one member of the radical religious, that there are no Israelis, either.

How very elegant the solution to the whole of the complexities that Zionism poses: Just decide that there are no Palestinians, and the problem magically disappears. Instant transfer.

The proponents of the idea that there is no such thing as a Palestinian people, and therefore, there are, in fact, no Palestinians, often view their arguments as morally neutral fact, verifiable by a body of morally neutral evidence.

It seems simplicity itself. If only the world would open its eyes to the truth, they say.

Fine. They can say it somewhere else.

The foregoing was written because I believe the reader is owed, at least this once, an explanation for the exercise of the writer's discretion over talkbacks, that is to say, his personal brand of bolshevism.

But it was also written as an introduction to an experiment.

Readers have also complained of the writer's failure to respond to their rhetorical challenges, as expressed in talkbacks. The reader is therefore invited to ask the writer to respond to questions regarding any of the pieces listed below in blue. A response is assured.

One more thing:

MK Yisrael Hasson said this week that he was drafting a bill that would require the writers of talkbacks to identify themselves by their real names. Hasson said that he believed the requirement would cause the respondents to take greater responsibility for their comments, thus raising the level of the responses, and curtailing the "culture of intolerance" that he said typified many of them.

Your response is welcome.

Well Bradley, here's my response. There's no question that the anonymity and private use of talkbacks and comment sections on the Internet seems to encourage people to be on their worst and most offensive behaviour. After all, nobody can put your nose out of joint for grossly offensive conduct, when that conduct takes place in the confines between a person and his/her computer. Requiring commenters to use their real name is unlikely to change this by very much but it would be a start. What say you?


At 9:34 PM, Blogger Darweesh Qaimari said...

Freedom of Palestine is a must, On Friday where the population of all parts of Palestine meet in al aqsa mosque despite the difficulties they face, but since the receipt of the Sharon government of Israel preventing worshipers from the West Bank and Gaza Strip to attend to perform Friday prayers, diminishing numbers of worshipers, and in some days to prevent the congregation who are under the age of forty praying in alqsa mosque and forcing them to pray at the entrances to the Old City of Jerusalem.

On the 15th of December, the preacher of Al-Aqsa Mosque warned that, there are cracks in the southern wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque result of the excavations carried out by Israeli authorities under the Aqsa Mosque the building of the Islamic Waqf, despite warning of the danger of these excavations, the Israeli authorities preventing the Islamic Waqf from reconstruction of the southern wall.

Free Palestine shirts


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