We've recently been "treated" to a spate of "quotes" from "reliable sources" that, we are told, are "well-known facts." One poster has told us that Judaism teaches racial superiority. Yet another libelously tells us that Rabbi Lamm of Yeshiva University, who is on record for teaching the dignity of ALL human beings and the evil of war, allegedly taught that "non-Jews are not fully human." Yet another person misquotes Rabbi Abraham Israac Kook, who wrote that "NO Jew may love his own people until he has loved the children of other nations" and lies, telling us that this great man taught "Jewish racial superiority." Another one tells us this, and another one tells us yet something else.
One poster cited the attempted ban on two Arab parties by the Knesset, but left out important facts from the article he quoted and failed to tell us that the ban had, in fact, been lifted just days later.
The great prophets of Israel, who gave us the vision of "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war any more," also spoke of those who say "Peace, peace, when there is no peace."
What is the purpose of these "quotes" and "facts" from "well-known" and 'reliable" sources? It appears to me that the posters' purpose is to attack another ethnic or religious group, thus scoring (in his mind only) valuable brownie buttons (an American expression relating to the shiney little metals that the girl's organization known as Brownies, a precursor of the Girl Scouts, get when they do something meritorious.)
What good does it do either Israeli Jew or Palestinian Arab to take quotes and "facts" out of their context in order to argue for a one-state solution as opposed to a two-state solution, or to attempt to prove that either Islam or Judaism are chauvinistic (yes! BOTH Judaism and Islam have chauvinistic strains, but what good is it for us to cherry pick one anothers' ancestors' errors and re-clothe them as if they represented the religion?)
I want to meet Palestinian Arabs who understand that true peace comes from within ourselves, in building trust in one another and in NOT tearing one another down; then, it is also important that we can agree the occupation must end and that a Palestinian state can be built. I do not want to be part of a program where someone expects me to agree to build two states only to destroy Israel, or to work for the ascendency of one people over another.
I want to meet and work with Palestinian Arabs who recognize that Jews are also a nation/people with a history of their own, and with Jews who respect their nations and want to build two states side-by-side. I do not want to work with Palestinian Arabs who tell me who I am or what I am, that Jews are not a people, or who tell me what Judaism teaches or does not teach.
I include the following article to show how some people here (a handful, some of whom have no personal connection to Israel, Jews, Arabs, Palestinians, islam, Judaism, etc. and whose motives I don't fathom) who use "quotes" and "facts" to misrepresent the other side:
Thursday, January 15, 2009
What Did Moshe Yaalon Really Say?
An op-ed column in last Thursday's (Jan. 8) New York Times by Columbia professor of Arab studies Rashid Khalidi, while fairly unremarkable in its boilerplate condemnation of Israel's military operation in Gaza, ended dramatically with a citation of the following statement allegedly made in 2002 by former IDF chief of staff Moshe Yaalon:
"The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people."
Pretty strong imagery, bringing to mind an Israeli boot planted firmly on the neck of a prostrate Palestinian. But a simple Google search immediately made it clear the quote is not just inaccurate but turns the meaning of Yaalon's actual words upside down, so I wrote about the matter on Commentary magazine's Contentions blog.
(Meanwhile, the trusty folks at CAMERA had also been on the case and are demanding a correction or clarification from the Times.)
The bogus version of the quote (which Khalidi did not originate but which he used in his 2005 book Resurrecting Empire) has been circulating on the web since at least early 2003, cited ad nauseam by Arab news services, neo-Nazi websites and leftist bloggers, though never with a hyperlink to the actual article where it supposedly appeared - an August 2002 interview in the Israeli daily Haaretz.
Here is what Yaalon actually said when asked, "Do you have a definition of victory? Is it clear to you what Israel's goal in this war is?":
"I defined it from the beginning of the confrontation: the very deep internalization by the Palestinians that terrorism and violence will not defeat us, will not make us fold. If that deep internalization does not exist at the end of the confrontation, we will have a strategic problem with an existential threat to Israel. If that [lesson] is not burned into the Palestinian and Arab consciousness, there will be no end to their demands of us."
He later elaborated:
"The facts that are being determined in this confrontation - in terms of what will be burned into the Palestinian consciousness - are fateful. If we end the confrontation in a way that makes it clear to every Palestinian that terrorism does not lead to agreements, that will improve our strategic position. On the other hand, if their feeling at the end of the confrontation is that they can defeat us by means of terrorism, our situation will become more and more difficult."
Tellingly, the same week Haaretz ran the interview with Yaalon, the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharanot published the transcript of a speech Yaalon had just given to a conference of rabbis in Jerusalem. Its blunt tone drew criticism from leftists, but the sentiments expressed dovetailed with what Yaalon told Haaretz: "It is imperative that we win this conflict in such a way that the Palestinian side will burn into its consciousness that there is no chance of achieving goals by means of terror."
It's clear, then, that in both his speech to the rabbis and his interview with Haaretz, Yaalon - far from saying the Palestinians had to be "made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people" - was stating that the Palestinians had to understand that Israel would not be defeated by violence and terror.
Further indication that Yaalon did not make the remark attributed to him by Khalidi and others is that two days after publication of the Haaretz interview, Israeli über-leftist Uri Avnery wrote a column in Maariv detailing everything he found offensive in Yaalon's responses. There was no reference to any statement by Yaalon about making the Palestinians understand that "they are a defeated people."
It's hard to say with any degree of certainty who first circulated the egregious misquote, though one of the earliest and most oft-cited sources is Henry Siegman, formerly a Jewish organizational official and for years now one of Israel's fiercest critics in the American Jewish community. Siegman has used the misquote in a number of columns over the past six years, though not always consistently.
What is fairly certain is that this is yet one more example of an insensitive or incendiary comment falsely attributed to Israeli officials (one of the most notorious is the statement Ariel Sharon is supposed to have made regarding Israel's control of Congress) and given eternal life among in cyberspace for the comfort and edification of Israel's enemies.
Posted by Jason Maoz at 10:20 AM