Vague Complaints, Warnings and Threats

"There will be violence." From whom?

"This is contrary to peace." How?

"There will be adverse negative consequences at a fragile time." What, exactly?

"The Palestinians are wasting time." There's been little progress for years, so I think they can reasonably spend a month or two.

Specific Claims

"Only negotiations will lead to independence." Correct. And the Palestinians remain open to negotiations as before, just as soon as Israel stops building settlements on their land. Seeking statehood does not change that.

"There will be Palestinian violence when they discover they don't have an independent state." The Palestinian public have realistic expectations and are aware that this is at best the first step on the road to independence.

"There will be a harsh Israeli response." That's Israel's responsibility, despite Israel's usual "now look what you made me do" justification.

"Palestine will prosecute Israeli government officials in the ICC." If they are guilty, they should be prosecuted. If they are not guilty, they should welcome the chance for exoneration.

"It's part of a plot to destroy Israel." Actually, the application for statehood explicitly commits the state of Palestine to the 1967 borders.

"The Palestinians are not interested in a two-state solution." They are applying to be recognised as the "second state" exactly in line with a two-state solution.

"It empowers Hamas." Actually, it sidelines Hamas, who have denounced the statehood bid.

"It's one-sided." Sure, let's have a UN declaration that recognises both Israel and Palestine as member states.

Other Canards

"The settlements are a red herring." In that case, Israel can easily stop them simply to call the Palestinians' bluff.

"The 1967 borders are Auschwitz borders!" Actually, it is Israel that is pursuing a policy of Judaisation to obtain more lebensraum. To be honest I don't think comparisons with WWII much favour Israel.

"The Palestinians must recognise Israel as a Jewish state." Israel should not be a "Jewish state", any more than the USA should be a "white state". Israel should be an Israeli state.

"The proposed Palestine will be purged of Jews." The proposed Palestine will be purged of settlers who wish to live under Israeli law.

"No matter what the Palestinians do or say, they really just want to kill all the Jews." It's possible. Then again, rather similar accusations have, historically, been made against Jews.

"We have this book that says that God says that the land belongs to Jews." That's interesting, because I have this book that says that all Jews are going to hell unless they accept this guy Jesus as their saviour. But maybe the books are lying?

In a stunning display of missing the point, the good folks of ontd_feminism are trying to create and police a "queer" identity.


Sep. 13th, 2010 10:24 am

If I never saw another crow it would be awhile before I noticed. No-one would ever write "13 ways of looking at a crow". Still, when I see one I'm like Oh, a crow! Hello crow!.

The Past Didn't Go Anywhere: Making Resistance to Antisemitism Part of All of Our Movements: I've been waiting so long for something like this. (It's actually three years old.) Every other critique I've read of anti-Jewish sentiment in anti-imperialist movements has had a pro-Zionist agenda.

(copied from my comments to a 3QD post about a book review in The New Yorker, "Beyond the Pale: Is white the new black?", by Kelefa Sanneh)

Three hypotheses about race in America:

  1. It's about culture: the divisions are cultural, not racial, except that racial appearance is recognised as a definitive cultural marker.

  2. There's no specifically white culture, that is, culture that white people generally share in and others generally don't. However, there is Irish-American culture, Italian-American culture and so forth.

  3. There's little interest in challenging the "one drop rule" that determines that anyone with any perceptible black African ancestry is black, even though it has its origins in slavery and racist notions of purity and pollution.

Curiously, in Brazil the "one drop rule" goes the other way: one is considered white in Brazil if one has any perceptible white ancestry. People travelling between the two countries sometimes find their race reassigned.

There are people such as Barack Obama and Halle Berry who are considered black in America, but were raised by white parents only and come across to white people at some level not so much as "black" but as "happens to be black". I suspect this made Obama electable in a way that Jesse Jackson wasn't. Berry says she lets people categorise her as they wish; a few years ago she appeared in a PSA ad for the MLK Foundation's "Build the Dream", which shows her being seated in a section of a restaurant in a hypothetical world where segregation never ended (apparently not available on YouTube). I believe it gets its punch from white people subconsciously reading Berry as "one of us".

To recap other criticisms of the Stuff White People Like blog, it's really about America's young upper-middle class, which Lander is both poking fun at and celebrating, plus a little bit of poking fun at white ignorance of other cultures for credibility for its edgy premise. Thus it would exclude non-white people from the prosperous and well-educated set.

Right, let's get started.

I'm not particularly focused on ending oppression. I am interested in truth, not only the truth about the world, but the role truth plays in intercultural complaints. I have a thesis, which I should like to examine. It's that misinformation is the root of offence.

For instance, the phrase "cultural appropriation" suggests theft. But I think in every case, people are upset by some kind of misinformation. The general answer to the question "when is it OK to copy someone else's culture" is something like, whenever one is not making false claims, even implicitly, even unwittingly. And by and large one cannot be sure one is not misrepresenting without knowledge of the culture. Ignorance is no excuse. There is no general scheme without reference to the particular culture. You have to get it right.

Posts here are likely to be short and many will be reposts of my comments in other blogs.

Why Sagredo?

Signore Giovanni Francesco Sagredo, a man of noble extraction and trenchant wit. He invented the portable thermometer, says Wikipedia.

Why, Sagredo?

I want to know the truth.

Why Sagredo?

I have not, in fact, read Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. In that book Galileo argues his astronomical theories as a dialogue between Salviati, who represents Galileo's views, and Simplicio, who represents the orthodox position of the time.

Sagredo is a third character. He's a neutral observer, who fairly considers the arguments of both sides, and on that basis decides squarely for Salviati. This is who I am.



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