I don’t know what I expected when I started blogging here. I started with Syria analysis, then into some reporting, and on Tuesday I started with my first controversial piece of writing, controversially titled “Israeli leftist enjoys being hit by Arab rocks.” The first few comments were supportive enough. Then, suddenly I was hit of my first criticism of my weeks-old blogging career. “Coward”, “young fart” and “nationalistic nerd” are amongst the less-than-supportive comments. When I came online this evening, I even found tweets calling me “Gross”, and a gem that called me “Young, dumb and full of hate.” Journalism ain’t friendly.
I’m happy that I received these comments. I accept them, not only as I continue to express my views or as a learning curve; I always knew that Israel-blogging is contested blogging. I accept them rather as a justification of what I was trying to prove in the first place.
The fact that Daniel Seidemann wrote an article that would be more aptly titled “Why I deserved to be hit by a rock” was not a testament to his courage. Nor would I be rude enough (I tread fine lines) to say that it was a ‘testament to his stupidity’. It was, rather, a testament to the stupidity and delusion that partisanship leads to. Left or right wing. This particular case happened to be an example of left wing stupidity.
You know what? All leftists are stupid. All ‘rightists’, too, are stupid. Because by classifying themselves as such, they lock themselves into one particular mindset and shut themselves off from all other ideas. Same way that “I’m a Nazi” means that you can’t have Jewish friends, or “I’m an Israeli extremist” means that you can’t have any Arab friends. Becoming so entrenched in one idea leads to some really, really dumb cases and again, this is one of them. It humours me to see how people become so enamoured with their “camp” rather than what they originally stood for, be it for social justice or security, they forget what they’re trying to do and just become unconstructive. Sometimes, as in the case of Mr. Seidemann, they fail to see common sense/logic. I certainly don’t want to, nor do I try to demonise people. But when they decide to dignify monsterous acts or monsterous ideologies, something needs to be said.
That, and please don’t be so ignorant to say that somehow I hate Muslims or Arabs just because I disagree with Arab rock throwing; my best friend growing up was actually a Pakistani Muslim who would find having rocks thrown at him to be disagreeable, I am sure. In my youth, I am fortunate enough not to hate anyone nor to have been traumatised enough to be compelled to hate anyone. I hope and pray that I never will be throughout the course of my life. Nationalism, right-wing”ism”, patriotism, Jewish supremacism, none of these things were my drive to write my original article. This was simply my way of saying “look at this, he’s not just taking the side of his attacker, but he’s taking the side of the horrific ideology that made someone attack him” and hoping that people may see it that way. I think the angriest people who comment here would be just as, if not even more outraged if an Arab who was hit by a rock by an extremist Jew in Hebron and then he decided to write an article saying “I deserve it, I belong in Saudi Arabia and should not be in Hebron”. The way any leftist would go ‘WTF’ at that, is the way people on the right wing saw Seidemann’s “Ode to Pelting”. In either case, from a sensible perspective, both incidents are absurd in that there is never a case where an innocent person deserves to be targeted for attacking.
I understand that Daniel Seidemann wanted to try and say “It’s okay, I forgive you” in the hope that somebody will see that Israelis “aren’t so crazy after all”. This is noble enough, but to go on and write how much he and other Israelis deserve to be attacked is too far. It really, really is too far.
Finally, nobody actually managed to actually pick any holes in my argument. The argument that the PA Media does teach hatred, the argument that the true motive behind rock-throwing is by the constant glorification of it as well as unrelenting circulation of the ‘occupation’ narrative through the same channels, the argument that saying ‘my good behaviour does not exempt me from punishment’ and saying that you deserve to be hurt does indeed merit being called ‘Uncle Tomer’ (Tomer is a common Israeli name). All of these arguments still stand, and siding with the glorification of primitive violence and the ‘occupation’ narrative that are used to delegitimise Israel helps nobody. The Palestinian Arabs are empowered to hate, and more Israelis go into hospitals.
In the wake of a 2 year old having her skull fractured by a rock just one day after I wrote my original article, rock-throwing has become no more glamourous nor will it ever. And crude violence is not something you do because one day you’re walking around and you see an Israeli in his car and suddenly swell with hatred for his Israeli car on your Arab road and then decide to pelt him with rocks. If it were an isolated incident, I’d suggest therapy. But it is hardly an isolated incident which tells us that the hatred is siphoned into the hearts and minds of Arabs who attack from day one. Ever heard of Farfur, the Gazan Mickey Mouse? If you have, you’d know what I mean ‘from day one’.
Any Israeli who tries to understand the Palestinian viewpoint is really creditworthy. There should be more understanding, for sure. But any Israeli who tries to pimp the violent Palestinian viewpoint is justifying his fellow citizens being harmed. Like I said- I have yet to see an Arab article saying ‘I deserve to be hurt’.