Wednesday, July 28, 2010

re: Oliver Stone steps in it

(intended for posting as a response in the Oliver Stone thread, posted on-page instead because it's long-ish)

Anti-semitism is the original sin of Western Civilization. Scratch the surface of ANY extremism and you'll find it down there somewhere. I'm told it's more pronounced in Europe, where it has a longer and more socially-ingrained history, but it bubbles up here in the U.S. on either "side."

By and large, Religious Conservatives seem to "support" Israel because of some sort of End Times fixation. POLITICAL Conservatives, on the other hand, seem to "support" Israel less out of pro-Jewish leanings than anti-Arab leanings. Generalizations, of course, but not unreasonably so.

ACTUAL American Jews, meanwhile, remain a largely liberal/Democrat voting base; though many American liberals (IMO) tend to be foolish and reactionary when it comes to appraisals of Israel/Palestine, as though they're ideology won't let them "process" the idea of a conflict where the rich nation is the "good guys" (re: democratic, primarily fighting on defense) and the poorer nation is full of "bad guys" (re: terrorism, civilian targets, religious bigotry); reflexively "siding" with Palestine without much regard for history. Though I hasten to add, it MUST be noted (by both sides) that The Palestinians are basically being "used" to wage a proxy war by outside-funded agitators at this point in the story.

One death is not "worse" than another in the broad sense, but the Holocaust IS a special case because of it's circumstances and what it symbolizes: The Industrial Age - which was supposed to civilize the world - used to committ THE fundamentally uncivilized act. It was the first genocide-by-assembly-line. That's important. Yes, Hitler DID kill more Russians - but that was a war with both sides taking casualties, something that's been with us since the beginning. Horrible, but not unique.

That people still need the singular uniqueness of The Holocaust "explained" to them, and why so many can shrug it off as some kind of "overrated" atrocity kept alive for sympathy by the omnipresent "Israel Lobby" is why Stone is WRONG, and we DO need to keep focusing on it. Because some of us still just don't get it.


Christopher said...

Amen Bob, amen. The Holocaust should never be downplayed, ever. Does it suck we are constantly reminded of it? Pretty much since it's horrible to hear the atrocities committed. But do we need to remember it? Yes, as a damn warning to the next generation and teach them the terribe consequences and crimes of this dark time in our history. The Holocaust survivors are slowly widdling away. Once they are gone, no one else will hear their story unless we talk about it.

Joseph Valencia said...

I'll second that amen.

Brandon Wright said...

Fantastic post, Bob!

ball said...

everyone talks about the holocaust but barley anyone talks about Unit 731.

Danny said...

re:Israel-Palestine it always surprises me just how pro-Israel people in the US tend to be compared to the UK (I'm British BTW), where the majority are pro-Palestine mostly. It has always seemed to me as though Israel just took most of the land and resources, taking far more than needed. I honestly don't see how any country can do that and then be viewed as the 'good guys'.

Mike Ralls said...

>It has always seemed to me as though Israel just took most of the land<

Every single country on the planet is the result of a group of people taking land.

>I honestly don't see how any country can do that and then be viewed as the 'good guys'.<

It helps that the other side is racist, homophobic, sexist, anti-democratic, and completely unwilling to work towards peace.

Early 1920's: The British offer the Palestinians a political deal in the running of the mandate of Palestine that would give most of the power to the Palestinians.

The Palestinians turn it down. They are not going to share anything with the Jews. They want all or nothing. Death to the Jews!

They end up getting nothing.

Early 1930's: The Brits now offer to partition Palestine in a way that would only give the Jews a tiny state around Tel Aviv while all the rest would have gone to the Palestinian Arabs.

The Palestinians turn it down. They are not going to share anything with the Jews. They want all or nothing. Death to the Jews!

They end up getting nothing.

1947; The UN puts another partition plan. This one would have left Israel with a 40% Arab minority and given the Palestinians way more land than the the borders that resulted from the War of Independence.

The Palestinians turn it down. They are not going to share anything with the Jews. They want all or nothing. Death to the Jews!

They get nothing.

1967: The Israelis offer to withdraw, without conditions, from every inch of occupied territories except for Jerusalem all in return for simply _recognizing that they exist_ and peace.

The Arabs turn it down. They are not going to share anything with the Jews. They want all or nothing. Death to the Jews!

They get nothing.

2000: Israeli offers the Palestinians all but 10% of the occupied territories and even a sliver of eastern Jerusalem.

The Palestinians turn it down. They are not going to share anything with the Jews. They want all or nothing. Death to the Jews!

They get nothing.

There is a very clear pattern and it's not one that paints the Palestinians as the good guys.

Alex Yeghiazarian said...

I know the Holocaust is a touchy subject, but at least the vast majority of the civilized world admits it happens. What about the silent genocides that get no mention like the Armenian genocide or Darfur?

General Jack D. Ripper said...


Holy shit, dude. I just wiki'd Unit 731. WHY HAVEN'T I HEARD OF THIS STUFF?! It' fucking messed up.

Q said...

Low blow, Bob, too low and frankly inaccurate. But I have one question for you and it's a pretty simple one. Does one atrocity committed on a race makes that race or an entire nation immune to committing atrocities on another? Now, I'm neither pro-Palestine nor pro-Israel, I don't choose sides on this issue because frankly I'm an American liberal and neither side has a moral high ground.

Now, the Palestinians have without a doubt started this conflict, no one is taking their side. In the article, Stone didn't mention his support of the Palestinians over the Israelis; he was just criticizing how much of the discussion about Nazism have been dominated by the Holocaust and that the Israeli lobby in the US always refers to the atrocity when confronted with criticism about their own country's atrocities.

How is the Holocaust important? No shit. Only a fool would believe it wasn't and only a fool would believe he's special for pointing it out. It is either a shame of our news media or our public education system that we are constantly worried that someone isn't aware of the atrocities of history. But, we should never let that fact hinder a serious debate upon whether or not it was right for Israelis to attack an unarmed aid ship if it just happens to be Palestinian.

Get fucking real.

beyrob said...

Sorry for commenting so late, I tried to yesterday but it didn't go through.

As a left leaning Jewish American I find it especially frustrating dealing with most non-jewish liberals though , people I tend to agree with 8 to 9 out of their sentiments. It’s not so much in the criticizing of what Israel does wrong or praise Palestine in its steps toward piece. It’s ignoring any fact, context, or new information that’s inconvenient to their motif . It’s a grave hypocrisy that that are owning to here, their main belief, a beautiful belief to be sure is that all people are equal. Something I subscribe to. But when Israel’s actions are taken out of context, without all the facts, magnified and demonized, and sometimes all together made up while Hamas’ are all but ignored in the long run it’s ridiculous! Its sick how no one will stand against the UN’s unfair treatment of Israel condemning it 100s of times a year while worse actions in Darfur, China, and yes Palestine are ignored. It’s frustrating when I counter argue with “What about __” and all they can come up with is that is some how doesn’t matter or is just as bad anyway.

Jabrwock said...


I hate to tell you, but there is STILL a disturbingly large percentage of people (in and outside the US, but more so in the US because it didn't happen right in their front yard) who actually believe that the Holocaust was some kind of exaggerated fiction. That any Jews killed were merely casualties of war (slaughtered on the battlefield, or massacred by random gangs), and not rounded up, counted, numbered, enslaved, tortured, starved, filed, indexed, and then procedurally placed into the jaws of death, with people working diligently on how to make the process more efficient.

THAT was the horror of the holocaust. Not that millions were massacred as in other areas. Brutal slaughtering people by the village-full had been happening for thousands of years.

But that millions were rounded up, processed, and then slaughtered through a BUREAUCRACY. With death orders signed in triplicate, initialed, sealed, stamped, processed by clerks, committees, etc.

Bob had it right. This was the usual brutal act of slaughter, but civilized. IE the exact opposite of what civilization was supposed to mean.

I'm reminded of that scene in Brazil, where the guy who's getting arrested for terrorism, his wife has to sign the receipt acknowledging that he's being hauled in to be executed.

It's slaughter by PAPERWORK.

Q said...

Your patriotism is quite remarkable. Why of course the Israelis never committed any atrocities.

You cannot ignore atrocities whether their from your own country or somewhere else. The Israelis victimize themselves, exploiting the Holocaust in order to justify whatever they decide to do. I do not ignore atrocities when they have presented themselves so obviously, and I only recognize humanitarianism as a goal.

I have never in my life met a person who was ignorant the Holocaust unless they had alternate motives. If you believe the statics to be true so you can moan like a school teacher be my guess. But I don't believe the hype, I'm sure the majority of Americans that have been in school in the last fifteen years are pretty much aware of it at least.

Also, how is an atrocity worse if there's paperwork. A man is still dead, millions of them. I fail to compromise with modern definitions of what tragedy is, I refuse to believe that death is "Ok" if I just dot the i's and isn't if I don't.

Also, fun fact, Oliver Stone is half-Jewish.

john said...

@Mike Ralls
So if, say, Russia, invaded your country tomorrow, at what point would you accept a peace treaty that lost you 10% of your original land? I'm guessing... Never, right?
Wait, what was that? It's different if the natives have dark skin? Oh well, in that case... (/sarcasm)

Personally I always find it ironic that commemorations of the Holocaust almost always exclude the millions of non-jews who were also killed for not dissimilar motives. Kinda like the NASA astronaut memorial ignores dead cosmonauts. Both just seem kinda dumb to me.

Nazi Germany was one long ghastly tragic farce from beginning to end. Everything they did was unique. But it was not the first time industrial capacity had been used to wipe out a race of people. Nor the first time a 'civilized' country tried to do this.
1: Read up on your colonial history.
2: Were any countries back that that civilized, in any contemporary sense?
While the Holocaust is historically interesting, and somewhat politically relevant today, is is not the ONLY genocide to ever have been committed; which is unfortunately often the context its presented in. Kinda like cops shooting a white woman woudl make the headlines, but no one gives a damn about the 4 black men also shot by cops the previous day.

Bob said...


To be fair - and I say this in the context of regarding Israel returning to original borders being a tough but fair compromise - the problem with your analogy is that Israel didn't precisely "invade" the formerly-Palestinian territory beyond the initial borders it currently occupies, it pushed the "line" forward during a shooting war. Maybe that doesn't make a "moral" difference, fine, but it makes an International Law difference.

The bigger problem, and the one that neither side wants to deal with, is the fact that Israel is not now nor has it ever been at war with "Palestine." The Palestinians have no power or clout of their own, and never have - they're being "led" by outside-controlled forces waging as proxy war on the Israelis. Their suffering could be ended TOMORROW if the Saudis, the Egyptians, even the Syrians would help their "brothers" by coaxing foriegn-backed Hamas and Hezbollah to stand down and offering a pittance of their state wealth to help them build a prosperous, functional State on the land they DO control. But they won't do that, because it's politically better for them if the Palestinians suffer so their citizens can stay mad at the Jews instead of their own ridiculously corrupt governments.

beyrob said...

@Q I feel I must qoute myself- "It’s not so much in the criticizing of what Israel does wrong or praise Palestine in its steps toward piece." (spelling correction-Peace) because I feel all you seemed to see was "blah blah I support Israel no matter what blah because I'm a Jew blah".

And what happened in the flotilla was tragic but not as cut and dry as this makes it look. Consider a few facts: there were 5 other ships that made it through without incedent, if the Israeli soilders went in with intent to kill why did they use such a reckless way, why is there no mention of many legal ways to donate humanitarian aid to Gaza in Israel, and also that hamas refused to take any of the goods after they arrived in Israel from any of the six ships.

Now what those soilders did was a beyound an overreaction in retrosepct, and Israel should be held accountible to some degree. But the other side here is not quite guiltless nor competely honest in it's details. Is Israel? Hell no but it's absurd to think they're competely horse shitting.

Also one good thing came out of it, Eygpt's blockade was disbanded and Israel's became a lot less strict. It may not be much but in the end, it might help both sides just a little.

Q said...

You're point is made. And reading my comment again I probably shouldn't have written it in such an accusatory way. Sorry.