Friday, August 04, 2006

Mel Gibson and Hezbollah

Mel Gibson has been roundly and rightly comdemned for his stupid, drunken, anti-semitic remarks. It seems as if every commentator in every newspaper, on every talk radio station, on every TV news show has made it a point to belittle the now humbled Mel Gibson. But then I read this editorial in Thursday's edition of the Salt Lake Tribune.
Like the movies he makes, the words Mel Gibson slurred last week, and the words he has released to the media in subsequent days, are no more than brief glimpses into a person's soul. Whether any such glimpse translates into some larger, even artistic, statement, depends on how common it is to the overall human experience.
And, in trying to shift attention from his own misdeeds by erupting in a categorical - and, in this case, totally irrelevant - condemnation of some other group of human beings, the movie star staggered into an all-too-common moral failing.
It's not my fault. It's theirs.
So far, so good. You've already read Gibson's comments so I'm not going to repeat them. Somehow though, the writer loses the focus of the argument and ends up here:
Just as many people, some of them Jewish, are heard to dismiss all Muslims as terrorists who place no value in human life and who should have just shrugged off the West's gift of a sliver of centuries-old Arab territory to the Jews of the world as their new homeland.
This dehumanizing of The Other, whether in drunken words or published textbooks, is both cause and result of Hezbollah striking at Israel and Israel striking back, both sides armed with moral equivalency meters that say, basically, "He hit me first."
From blasting Mel Gibson for a horrific case of Foot-in-Mouth we've gone to the old game of moral equivalency between Israel and Hezbollah with a bit of blame-the-Jews thrown in for good measure. If Mel Gibson's comments are evil, why aren't the actions of Hezbollah even more evil? Why is there a rush to condemn Gibson, but no rush to condemn Hezbollah? Oh,wait, I know! It's because "many people, some of them Jewish" say bad things about Muslims. So there is a moral equivalency between Jews who say bad things about Muslims and Muslims who say bad things about Jews. But are Jews trying, in word and in deed to remove any Muslim countries from the map? Are Jews murdering Muslims in the streets of the United States and Europe as Muslims are doing to Jews? Shouldn't we look at the "root cause" of Jews saying bad things about Muslims? Haven't I, just like the Salt Lake Tribune, forgotten all about Mel Gibson?

In today's Salt Lake Tribune, they ran another editorial on the Israel/Lebanon War offering these "words of wisdom":
If you are an American of a certain age, you may remember a quaint institution called "shuttle diplomacy." Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, or one of his successors, would flit from one Middle East capital to another, trying to arrange a cease-fire or a peace agreement.
You also may have noticed that Condoleezza Rice has not played that role during the war in Lebanon. Why is that?
The reason is that the Bush administration has abandoned America's traditional role as an "honest broker" in the Middle East. Instead of trying to play the Israeli-Arab conflict down the middle, it has thrown its entire weight behind Israel, giving it carte blanche in its war in Lebanon. In the process, it is destroying any shred of credibility it had with Arab and other Muslim states as a neutral arbiter.
We believe that is a mistake. Because if you want to solve problems in the world, you have to be able to talk to both sides. For that to happen, you must have at least a modicum of trust from both sides.
You also must have two sides who are willing to sit down and negotiate honestly. If one has been paying attention, one may have noticed that Hezbollah and Hamas have never wanted to negotiate honestly. But it gets worse:
But the world is more complicated than that. Yes, Hamas and Hezbollah are terrorist outfits, but they also are political parties with charitable wings that have won legitimacy in democratic elections the Bush administration encouraged. And both grew up as responses to Israeli aggression. At least that's the way the many Arabs and other Muslims see them.
There's that darn Israeli aggression again. Any time Jews try to defend themselves, they are guilty of aggression. Didn't you know that's the only reason the Nazis attacked the Warsaw ghetto, that accursed Jewish aggression? When will we learn?

Hamas and Hezbollah are also given a pass, being the result of "Israeli aggression" and all. And both organizations also have charitable wings. This apparently negates all of their terrorist activities. They have after all, built schools and hospitals . . . and have used them to store weapons and as firing positions, something the Israelis have scrupulously avoided, but when you're playing the moral equivalency game, actual morals count for much less than the equivalency part.

I wonder: if the Salvation Army, a well-known Christian charitable organization, had an armed militant wing, would they be given the same consideration Hamas and Hezbollah are given from many in the MSM? If the Jewish National Fund called for the destruction of a Muslim country, attacked it regularly with rocket fire, and murdered some of its citizens, would the country in question be blamed for its aggression when it fought back? Would we be encouraged to look for those elusive "root causes" for the hatred?

I'm not going to accuse the Salt Lake Tribune or anyone else of anti-semitism. I don't think most of them hate Jews. I do think they are afflicted with a moral confusion that distorts their world view. They are drawn to victims or to those who present themselves as victims. They distrust the successful, whether a person or a country. They are especially offended by Jews, (and blacks, but that's a whole different issue) who have historically been victims and are expected to continue as victims, but have had the chutzpah to become wealthy and successful.

I'd like to state as a Jew, that victimhood is not for me. Go find another sucker. Also, Israel is right. Hamas and Hezbollah are not only wrong, but are vicious, immoral terrorist organizations. Israel should be given carte blanche to destroy both organizations, the SL Trib and MSM be damned.

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