Friday, February 12, 2010

The ‘Daily Show’ forum, debating Israel, hope among bashing

When you ask an Israel basher a tough question you may get a reply. Whether that reply can be considered an answer that is open for interpretation.

Having seen last October that Dr. Mustafa Barghouti and Anna Baltzer were to appear as guests on the 'Daily Show' I placed a question in the Daily Show forum, suggesting to the host, Jon Stewart, to present it to his guests.

I would like to make a suggestion to Mr. Jon Stewart regarding tonight guests Dr. Mustafa Barghuoti and Anna Baltzer. My suggestion is that he should ask Dr. Barghuoti if Jews have the right for life and liberty.

Been an Israeli, and a Zionist, I naturally do not have an objective view of Dr. Barghuoti and his colleague, but I would state that I, Boaz Tibon (Dvar Dea is my pen name of a sort) acknowledge that Palestinians have the right for life and liberty, that been the freedom to live, worship, accumulate property and national freedom and self determination.

Transparently speaking the real target of the question were the various Israel bashers who kept congratulating the two guests, over time after the show aired, few replies did come, surprising they weren’t, but they were informative, especially to those who want to know why the Israeli Palestinian conflict is so protracted.

VHSingularity wrote:

Why would Jon Stewart waste time by asking his guests a question that has no basis in reality? Are you really suggesting that during the last 42 years in which Palestinians have lived under Israel's military occupation that the Palestinians have been secretly infringing on Israeli liberty? How would they even accomplish that when in the West Bank Palestinians are hardly allowed to leave their own towns? Palestinian children often face military checkpoints and harassment or even violence at the hands of Israeli settlers just on their way to school. In Gaza the situation is even more stark. You know that Israel doesn't allow for the importation of food or basic building supplies for even for homes and schools? Now how is it that the Palestinians are denied food to eat and you are talking about the the "right of accumulation of property" for Israelis??
As you have claimed that you acknowledge the right of Palestinians to self-determination, then I have a better question for you: Do you call on Israel to immediately withdraw from all territories occupied in the 1967 war, to end the military siege of Gaza and to quit the illegal and racist Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank?

The only thing standing between the Palestinians and their self-determination is the Israeli army. And by the way, I have been to the West Bank. When I say the settlements are Jewish-only, I mean... they do not allow non-Jews to enter or live there, or they will physically and violently expel you.
VHSingularity response is probably close to ‘No’. ‘Probably’ because he doesn’t say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, he does make a big deal from the fact that the question had been asked in first place. He is upset about it. Apparently he does not acknowledge the other persons right to live as real, which suggests that elementary moral human and democratic values do not exit in his own, personal, moral code. A possibility supported by the evident fact that terrorism, that is the targeting of innocent civilians by armed Palestinians, does not exist in his response, or he simply has no problem with it.

Christine (with no capital c)  wrote:

It is not about right or wrong. It is about humanatarian needs. When the U.S. had the riots in in the ghettos during the Civil Rights, we as a country stood tall to support those rights. Here in the U.S. we tend to fight for freedom and individual rights. But, when it comes to Gaza and what is happening there you want us to turn a blind eye. The truth will be known. We will fight for people to be treated in a humane way.

Just the facts
Killed: 1,072 Israel - 6,348 Palestinians
Injured: 8,864 Israel - 39,019 Palestinians
Prisoners: 1 Israeli - 10,756 Palestinians
Children Killed: 123 Israeli - 1,435 Palestinians
Homes Destroyed: 0 Israeli - 18,147 Palestinians
Illegal settlments: 23 Jewish only settlements and outposts - 0 Palestinians
UN Resolutions broken: Israel 65 (more than all other countries combined) - Palestine 0
Money Daily Given by US Taxpayers: Israel $7,000,000 - Palestine $0

Do those in the Gaza strip have a right to live freely on their land? When will Israel stop the invasion? Kicking people out of their homes and either tearing them down or just moving in, is that right? Stealing the livelihood of a whole people, is that right?

I suppose since those people that Zionists (not Jewish) are stealing land from need a place to live you can invite them to live next door to you. (Syria is already flooded with refugees from Iraq and Palestinians.) Where do you suggest those people live? Who do you think should feed those people? Or do you have the "let them die" attitude? This land is ours and we don't care what the world thinks!

I think the U.S. should stop giving Israel the $7 million dollars every day they receive from U.S. taxpayers. Obama just recently gave a slap to American farmers. He OK'd a $17,000 rebate back to a Israel butter maker who brings his goods to American soil. He is bringing butter into the U.S. at a time when many farmers here are suffering the "recession". He also waived most tariff's and taxes f;or Israel and Israel alone. They can bring commodities into U.S. without paying for it. Therefore they can undercut our own countries livelihoods. Obama did this without the approval of the Congress.

I think we need to treat Israel the same way we treat any other country. Or better yet maybe we should treat Israel the same way they treat the Palestinians.

Let us not forget the USS Liberty!!!!!
Go to
Christine has a very long and not very smart reply, as indicated by her first sentence; humanitarian is not a right or wrong issue? Of course it is. Her comparison between a war situation that exist in the Israeli Palestinian conflict and the civil rights struggle in the US is very far from reality and the numbers she brings are best described as empty, empty from content and credibility. The number of casualties on each side that she gave lacks the breakdown to combatants and non-combatants, on the Israeli side for example percentage of civilians, non-combatants, is higher then on the Palestinian side, where a significant percentage of the dead are Palestinians killed by their own people.

‘Children killed’ has its own breakdown according to age, because there is a difference between a 15 years old engaged in violent, stone throwing and Molotov Cocktail throwing demonstrations and a 4 years old playing in the street. Not forgetting omitted categories such as ‘blown up buses’ and ‘killed by a lynch mob.’ The numbers she gives regarding aid to both sides are a show of ignorance that is not helping the Palestinian cause, because Palestinians to get aide from international resources including the USA, and the loans Israel receives from the USA are definitely nor per day. And I have no idea what ‘slap to American farmers’ she’s talking about. But I guess there are more then a few like her in every crowd. Her directing me to Alison Weir infamous site is not surprising.

Related links on the statistical breakdown of casualties:
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Institute of Counter Terrorism “An Engineered Tragedy.”

Clint wrote:

I have always been a supporter of Israel and have thought of them as one of our strongest allies. But, as an American, I believe in the concept of fairness and I have seen so many Israelis stick their fingers in their ears and scream LA! LA! LA! LA! LA! anytime anyone has the audacity to discuss the issues of the Palestinian people. Thank you Jon for taking your fingers out of your ears and facilitating a fair and even keeled discussion. You are the voice of reason in a cacophony of hate.

Clint is funny, a self proclaimed Israel supporter who knows nothing about internal debates in Israel and regards the Israelis as a whole as been unfair, and that is his response to a question that has nothing to do with his reply.

Msherif wrote:

Response to Dvar Dea: As a Palestinian who cannot return, I would like to ask you how you feel about the rt of Jews from any country being able to become citizens of Israel, but those of us non-Jewish Palestians not having the same rts. Also, Palestians who have Israeli "citizenship" are not permitted to own over 98% of the land in Israel because of their religion (the late Israel Shahak documents this apartheid system in his books). Also - Israelis are able to build on confiscated Palestinian land - in violation of international law - and the USA pays for it. So how do you, Dvar Dea, feel about Palestians having the rt to defend themselves against this injustice. Should the just say - Israelis are superior and just take it?
Msherif, him I shouldn’t have missed, though most of his reply is the usual anti Israel mantra, here as an excuse for not answering the question, it could have been a good opportunity to explain Jewish nationhood and the right of self determination for all nations, where the ‘Law of Return’ is a key tool in gaining and maintaining that right for the Jews, as well as to correct several misguided conceptions about land ownership in Israel.

Related links on land ownership in Israel:

Zionism Israel.

Jewish Virtual Library.

Middle East forum.

Canadian Arab wrote:
I would like to reply to you sir by one simple link to a website. please you call yourself a Zionist, take a moment and be proud of what your past LEADERS have said about the Palestinians and "their right to exist" because being a Zionist and believing in the right to life to Palestinians are 2 complete opposites. If you truly believe in your comment I would SUGGEST to you to never say you are a Zionist. Here's the link: It’s quite disturbing and extremely appalling to say the least.And yes, Arabs believe in the right to life for Israelis just as long as you don't take our life in order to prosper yours.
Canadian Arab has a ‘no matter what we do we lose’ response, a catch 22 of a sort. He is willing to acknowledge our right for life and liberty, on the condition of that we won’t do a list of lies we are accused of doing. But since these are lies, no matter how much we, the Zionist Israelis, will try not to do them, his kind (or is it her kind?), will consider us doing them anyway, thereby refusing our right for life and liberty. Msherif, him I shouldn’t have missed, though most of his reply is the usual anti Israel mantra, here as an excuse for not answering the question, it could have been a good opportunity to explain Jewish nationhood and the right of self determination for all nations, where the ‘Law of Return’ is a key tool in gaining and maintaining that right for the Jews, as well as to correct several misguided conceptions about land ownership in Israel.

Sam samurai wrote:
To the self proclaimed Zionist I say, asking a person if they will give you Life and liberty, while taking his mother, father, brother,sister, and his identity is like asking a man you are about to murder to sign off on the murder with the hope that the signing off may allow you not to be killed; when all along you know you are going to kill him, because only then can you get his wife, his land, his house, his identity and his his claim to his citizenship. Isreal has more Liberty than any nation in this world and also growing resentment of the world, beware of History- Isreal one man may not be able to do anything but the entire world against Isreal autrocities is a burden no nation wants to face.
Sam Samurai’s response is a part of a concentrated reply to several other posters in the forum. The section where he replies to me makes his response is important. Putting aside the lies about Israel killing “father, brother, mother…” and stealing identity, (how exactly do we do that?), he apparently regards the very existence of Israel, and for that matter Jews who enjoy life and liberty, as murder, and calling something murder is a far stronger negation then just saying no.

And then there is this from seife, who signed as Adam.

Thank you Mr. Tibon for your objective view. I am the son of an Arab Muslim and Christian couple. I married into a Jewish American family. I know for a fact, that the majority of Arabs (Muslims and Christians) believe that the Jewish people have the right for life, liberty, and dignity. I am always surprised of how politicians on every side (not only Arab and Israeli) have been so successful in convincing both sides that the other group is a monster! Just read the history of the Jewish people and you will come to a quick conclusion that Muslims treated Jews better than anyone else over the years. The recent conflict started only after the massive immigration of European Jews to Palestine, and the declaration of the establishment of Israel. It is very understandable that the Arabs (Muslims and Christians) opposed it then. Who would like to give up land and control freely? Most of them accept it now, but unfortunately, are always surprised by the unjust one-sided rules they are subjected to by Israel. Many objective observers (not the current major news agencies, they are part of the problem) could consider the Israeli treatment of Arabs in the occupied territories as a form of racism. Unfortunately, the constant propaganda on all sides (Arab, Israeli, and American) has just fueled the emotion of everyone thus, the call by many, especially the extremists on both sides, to destroy the other. Very unfortunate and sad!!!

His claim that most Arabs would say ‘Yes’ to my question means his answer is ‘Yes’ or close to that. It is interesting that he considers me objective since I made it clear that I do not consider myself as such. And while I disagree with him on several of the points he made, it seems that on a moral level we have some common ground, which is encouraging. I never expect the other side to agree with me 100%, but if on morality and realism there is a common ground then may be there is hope.I am not a big fun of debating on forums, each and his/hers own taste I guess. In many cases the company on popular forums is similar to that associated with talkbacks, I prefer exchanging views on blogs, where there is a greater possibility for a constructive ex change. This is why I made no effort to reply and let the thread grow.

The dominant views themselves are not unique and can be found in Politico the Daily Kos, and elsewhere. Adam’s answer was certainly a surprise, one that undermined my lost of fait in human kind, the one that partake in popular forums and talkbacks that is, and it’s a good thing too. But when we look at the Israel bashers, those who have hard time keeping the word ‘No’ from slipping through their lips when asked whether Jews have the right to live; what their dominance among the critics of Israel tell us about the academic world and the political world they reflect?

Hope did surprised me, but it still a minority, and after all on the Israeli side we got our share of Arab bashers.