Every morning, I religiously sit with the news and tea. To many, this might seem as though I drink a cup of tea whilst reading the morning news, such is not the case. I am a woman of the Southern United States, meaning my English derives from the vast idioms available in my Southern dialect, affording me the opportunity to riposte in such a manner as to go undetected by the individual being derided. Therefore, when I say that I read the news with tea, I really mean that I read the news articles in addition to the comments written under them for their scandalous chatter (which happen to make engaging conversation starters).
I’m not able to conclude if my following morning tea analysis is an all-encompassing trend, but in terms of well-argued articles establishing pro-Israel/Zionist views, I can’t help but notice a void of astute commentary responding to said articles. Rather than rebutting the work of the author, commentators respond with a slew of denunciations targeting either Israel/Zionists/Jews or the author her/himself. An example of the previous, being an article I read recently on the topic of anti-semitism vis-a-vis freedom of speech laws in Europe.
Essentially, the author argues that many anti-semitic arguments are made under the guise of freedom of speech. I found the thoughts of the author to be intriguing and thought provoking. Nonetheless, when I read the comments, supposedly analysing the argument presented by the author, I find: “Israel is racist for its treatment of Palestinians and people of colour”, “Israel is corrupt”, “You’re a hypocrite”, and my favourite, “We are not allowed to question the details of the holocaust or the widely disproportionate Jewish influence over western culture”. All of this from an article that didn’t even mention Israel! In the south, one might respond to obvious folly as such, “G-d bless your heart, you should be a debating world champion”.
Cleary, I am regularly disappointed by my morning tea, finding that it has an absence of the discerning commentary I crave. I highly regard stimulating debate that leaves me pondering my own conclusions. What my morning tea disappointingly gives me, are contradicting accusations from the following type of individuals: no Hebrew skills; no experience living in Israel; and a lack of intensive education in direct relation to the topics of conflict, security, or Middle Eastern studies.
Essentially, the warrant of the commentator is founded on a “because I know so” attitude; a complete disregard for ethos. Further, these individuals dogmatically comment with anti-Israel rhetoric on articles non-related to Israeli politics. Anti-Israel being a term I utilise to denote individuals whom assert the illegitimacy of the State of Israel, this is not to be confused with being aligned with the concept of a two-state solution. The common variable of said articles, to return to the topic, is that they are written about or by Jews. Take again the example provided above, the article is written regarding anti-semitism in Europe, yet the comments on said article are anti-Israel motivated. Unfortunately, the sole utilisation of pathos to formulate an “argument” by those labelling themselves anti-Israel, is sadly not exclusive to my morning tea. These objectionable impassioned pleas to eradicate the only state for Jews, on the basis of creating a 22nd Arab state, are on university campuses, TV and within the daily context of life for many individuals. Jews from a range of political ideologies, globally voice their discomfort with the aggressive tactics of the anti-Israel movement are promptly scorned. Supporters of this belligerent ideology (anti-Israel) nonetheless, demand their humanistic concern for the “mistreatment” of the “Arab minority” by the Jews, in a region compromising roughly 424 million Arabs and 6.3 million Jews.
To discuss further, as a student in the U.K., for my first masters, I attended a university meeting discussing boycotting Israel. During said meeting, those representing the yes vote, made a speech attempting to persuade in favour of the boycott Israel platform. Said speech contained the following statement, “Israel is an apartheid state of white colonialists that MUST be destroyed, we do this by boycotting them”. I don’t deny the use of pathos in the previous argument, but I find the complete lack of logos to undermine the argument altogether. How is Israel an apartheid state? What are the demographics of Israel? What is the historical motivation of the Israelis in residing in Israel and how does said motivation correlate with the definition of colonialism? To call Israel an apartheid state is to make an accusation, to tell me how Israel is an apartheid, by stating the definition of apartheid and connecting that definition to Israeli governmental policies and societal structure, is to make an argument. By definition, arguments are a process of reasoning, accusations are the process of imputation – it is the latter which better defines my morning tea and experiences with those defining themselves as anti-Israel.
Why is my tea important? Because my morning tea is more than a mere reflection of poor marketing efforts and fatuity, it denotes the effectiveness, as we say in the south, of “giving a man enough rope to hang himself”; a failing trend. An example of said fail, is the recent apology by KaDaWe in Germany, which due to public pressure, had to restock the Israeli wine they removed from their shelves. Another example being the rejection of the BDS movement in several U.S. States and the call of preventing boycotting Israel by EU states in the U.S. ‘Trans-Pacific Partnership’ bill on trade between the U.S. and EU. Yet another example, persons of the arts (music, culinary, literature etc), like Bon Jovi, are maintaining their travel plans to Israel despite social media pressure to boycott Israel. The examples are numerous, thus easily continued if one so chooses. All examples illustrate, that in terms of gaining supporters through generating stirring accusations, the anti-Israel movement is losing traction globally. When the fervent followers of anti-Israel are only able to respond to a contemplated argument by assessing the author as being “self-entitled” or “a hypocrite”, the true motivation is illuminated – an unstable unfounded hatred; a rebuttal by accusation not by argument.