March 19, 2008

The Eternal Ugly German

Angela Merkel's visit to Israel predictably triggered off one of those unsavoury discussions about the German-Israeli relationships and two days ago, Liza posted 'Brief Guidelines for "Israel Critics"'. That reminded me of another case of this specific anencephalitis that only affects the German race and which had led an undisturbed life for several years on my harddisk.

Almost five years ago I got, among others, an email from an old American gentleman of German-Jewish origin. He had, in turn, gotten an email from a German girl, whom he had some time ago helped to get a place at an American college where she had studied for I have forgotten how long and I have forgotten as well what her subject was. The old gentleman was disturbed by the girl's views on the Middle East conflict and had asked some friends, whose knowledge of the matter he trusted, to send a reply with helpful information to "Dear B.".

The email of the girl was so utterly full of bull that I didn't send my reply to her directly -- I was too angry -- but to the old gentleman for some editing, which he failed to perform -- I have a hunch deliberately. The following is her text in the original, angrily interspersed with my reply, here in grey. I have edited some of my own typos and eliminated one specific expletive for publication here, otherwise, my reply is the one "Dear B." got.

Alright, here it goes:
What is wrong with being with the underdogs?
The Pals are not the underdogs, they are the aggressor.

The UN partitioned Palestine in 1947 and gave 55% of Palestine's land to the Jewish people.
Wrong. They gave 55% of the remaining 20% of "Palestine" (the British Mandate territory) to the Jews. 80% were given to Arabs already: Jordania. Jordania was intended as the Palestinian state before the Hashemites grabbed it, Jordania OUGHT TO BE the Palestinian state.

Within a year they had captured 78%.
They did indeed, but not exactly out of the blue. The Arabs rejected the partition, the Arabs declared war on the Jews, the Arabs lost. The Arabs paid with land. Not totally unusual after a lost war. Tough shit!

In 1948 the state of Israel was declared.
At least THAT is right.

Later Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Yes, they did that, 1967, and AGAIN not out of the blue, but after the Arabs had started a war AGAIN (the third time since 1947) and lost. AGAIN. Lose wars, pay with land, specifically when you've started the war in the first place. Probably difficult to understand for a German. We too had to learn it the hard way, so will the Arabs. One day. Hopefully.

By the way, it was ONLY THEN, after 1967, that the Arab refugees in Israel began identifying themselves as part of a "Palestinian people", two decades after the establishment of the modern State of Israel.

Settlers were offered money to move into the occupied territories.
Well, so what? It was their land, wasn't it? Israel had won it after the Six Day War. Numerous legal authorities dispute the charge that settlements are "illegal." International law scholar Stephen Schwebel notes that a country acting in self-defense may seize and occupy territory when necessary to protect itself. Schwebel also observes that a state may require, as a condition for its withdrawal, security measures designed to ensure its citizens are not menaced again from that territory. Arabs are neither willing nor able to provide those.

Palestinian families were forced off their lands and driven into refugee camps.
In 1948 the Arab refugees were encouraged to leave Israel by Arab leaders promising to purge the land of Jews. 68% left without ever seeing an Israeli soldier.

Jewish refugees were forced to flee from Arab lands due to Arab brutality, persecution and pogroms.

The number of Arab refugees who left Israel in 1948 is estimated to be around 630,000. The number of Jewish refugees from Arab countries is estimated to be the same.

Arab refugees were INTENTIONALLY not absorbed or integrated into the Arab lands to which they fled, despite the vast Arab territory. Out of the 100,000,000 refugees since World War II, theirs is the only refugee group in the world that has never been absorbed or integrated into their own peoples' lands. Jewish refugees were completely absorbed into Israel.

Huge fences are built around the palestenian territories.
What fences (plural)? A (singular) fence is built now to keep out the terrorists. Israel has the right -- no, the OBLIGATION -- to defend herself and her citizens.

Just a couple of only too gladly overlooked facts about life in the territories:

During 20 years of Arab rule, Palestinian male life expectancy grew from 42 to 44. During the next 20 years of Israeli rule Palestinian male life expectancy grew from 44 to 63.

During 20 years of Arab rule, Palestinian female life expectancy grew from 45 to 46. During the next 20 years of Israeli rule Palestinian female life expectancy grew from 46 to 67.

During 20 years of Arab rule, Palestinian infant mortality rate decreased from 200 per thousand to 170 per thousand. During the next 20 years of Israeli rule Palestinian infant mortality rate decreased from 170 per thousand to 60 per thousand.

During 20 years of Arab rule, Palestinian death rate decreased from 21 per thousand to 19 per thousand. During next 20 years of Israeli rule Palestinian infant mortality rate decreased from 19 per thousand to 6 per thousand.

Before 1967, when Israel's "occupation" started, only 113 hospitals had been built in the territories. In 1989 Israel had helped establish more than three times that number to 387.

Before 1967, only 23 Mother & Child Centers had been established, after 1989 about six times as many (135) .

Malaria, which had existed in the territories before 1967, was finally eliminated during the Israeli occupation.

Israel also more than tripled the number of Palestinian teachers and boosted the Palestinian educational system by establishing a number of universities. Among those universities were the College of Scientists (Abu Dis) - est. 1982, the College of Social Welfare (El Bira) - est. 1979, the College of Religion (Beit Hanina) - est. 1978 and the Islamic College in Hebron 1971.

This was not the only effect Israeli occupation had on the Palestinian education system and the Palestinian people. Before 1967 the percentage of illiterates on average had been 27.8% among men and among women even higher at 65.1%. By 1983 Israel had helped reduce illiteracy to only 13.5% among men and 38.9% among women.

Palestinians who continue to live in Israel do not have the same rights as Israelis and live as second-class citizens in their former homeland.
That is utter bullshit. Arabs have the full citizenship, the right to vote, they can become, and are, member of the Knesset.

And as far as the "homeland" myth is concerned, Arabs are not indigenous to "Palestine", they come from the Arab peninsula. But there was a constant presence of Jews in Palestine since time immemorial.

Mark Twain's account of his travel to the Holy Land is a fascinating read.

It is another only too gladly overlooked fact that Arab immigration occured together with Jewish immigration in the 19th and early 20th century and in even greater numbers. Neither the Ottoman census nor the Brits kept an exact account of the Arabs immigrants, whereas Jewish immigration was documented in detail.

I also think that the palestinian terrorism must be destroyed, but you must admit that many mistakes have been made beforehand.
And that were WHAT mistakes exactly? Apart from existing in the first place, that is.

After 9/11 Germany has shown its solidarity. Like Kennedy who said "Ich bin ein Berliner.", Schröder said "Heute sind wir alle Amerikaner."
Well he WOULD say that, wouldn't he? He could hardly dance in the streets and hand out candy like the Arabs did. He had to say SOMETHING and it didn't cost him much.

However, showing solidarity does not mean to give up one's own opinion.
No it doesn't. So?

Maybe Germans have sympathy for the palestinian because they know how it is to be on the "wrong" side.
"To be on the wrong side", that sounds like making a wrong choice of ally like, say, Italy did in WWII. Germans were not "on the wrong side" Germans WERE the wrong side, they CREATED the conflict, just as the Pals are the wrong side and created the ME conflict. They declared openly and unambiguously that their goal is not a "Palestinian state" but the extermination of Israel.

The US has always been on the "right" side - so they think at least.
And WHERE have they NOT been "on the right side"? (Just curious!)

Searching (unsuccessfully) for nuclear and chemical weapons in some parts of the world.
In WHICH parts of the world (plural) save Iraq?

However, there is no confusion over the extent and range of America's arsenal of nuclear and chemical weapons.
No. So???

Would the US government welcome weapons inspectors? Or Israel?
Is that girl out of her mind??? Israel and The United States are Western DEMOCRACIES, not some hellhole totalitarian states with a lunatic dictator at the wheel!

I think that Germany has the right to judge another government's politics even if its Israel or the US.
Who said it hasn't? In fact, Israel and the US are criticised here all the time, extensively and intensively by the vast majority of the media and damn unfairly to boot. So what a sort of statement is that? She's breaking down open doors!

The German government is not indifferent about the palestenian terrorism, but Sharon's politics are also not considered as right.
You don't say so!

Every German knows about German history. How could we forget! But I strongly believe that this burdens us even more responsibility to struggle for peace and humanity!
Here is what the Sociologist Wolfgang Pohrt said about German mentality, the "Michel Syndrome".

He coined the famous phrase that the Germans, as former perpetrators, feel that it is their duty to "stand with praise and censure at Israel's side as ethical probation officer to keep the victim from committing a second offence." He wrote, too, that the Germans with their obsession with responsibility (Verantwortungsfimmel) resemble a convicted child molester who thinks he is specifically qualified for a job as kindergarden teacher.

"Gerade wir als Deutsche", "Specifically we as Germans" refers to the obnoxious way to deal with their past as if it had entitled the Germans to some specific qualification to lecture all the world about all things humane.

If their past qualifies Germans for anything in particular it's to shut the fuck up!
This came from, mind you, a young woman qualified to teach at a German "Gymnasium", a grammar school, a teacher who is supposed to educate the future elite of our country.

My point is, of course, to expose the dogged, brainless antiamericanism and antisemitism (excuse me, anti-Zionism!) of a person who had, after all, spent some formative time in the U.S, to expose how somebody with a university education isn't better informed about something she allegedly feels so strongly about, but if it fits her agenda and is detrimental to Israel, knows her figures, so to say, down to the second decimal place behind the comma. Of course, the moronic reasoning without any attempt at a stringent argument is as embarrassing as telling as well.

But what REALLY got my goat was the clumsy English, the prolific use of the most hackneyed of clichès and the appalling sloppy spelling not even bothering with a spell checker or a thesaurus to look for a better choice of words, which shows that, when stupidity and rudeness meet head-on, something awful will come out.

Well, at least I had the final gratification of seeing "Dear B." being miffed mightily after reception of my (unedited) reply.

Happy Birthday, Israel!