Wednesday, August 13, 2003

On Arab / Jewish equality

One thing I’ve been wondering about for a very long time is the imbalance between the way the Arabs are judged and the way the Jews are.
I don’t think there is a person in the Western world who doubts the fact that Israel is a democracy. That it is country where no one is above the law, where the laws are decided by the democratically elected government and enforced by independent courts. Where there is a free press. Where there is freedom of religion. In other words, it is one of the relatively few countries outside Europe and North-America that has a comparable culture and society.
The Arabs on the other hand don’t have a single democracy. They are without exception ruled by tyrants, despots and hereditary kings. There is no freedom of press, not in any Arab country. The leader decides what can and cannot be said. He also decides what the judges in the courts say. He decides the law. If it’s a nice guy, like Hussein of Jordan used to be, they are mild tyrants, they try to get along and as long as everyone behaves, you won’t even know he’s there. But make no mistake, old King Hussein was responsible for the creation of the Black September terrorist organization when he brutally suppressed a Palestinian uprising in “his” country (Palestinians make up a 70% majority in Jordan). Some estimated of the number of Palestinian dead go as high as 3500, and are in any case much worse than anything the Israeli’s ever did. Just to show what a nice Arab tyrant can and will do when pushed.
The rest of the Muslim world isn’t much better. Indonesia is officially a democracy, but there has never been a political leader that was not supported by the army. And the army can do what it wants, and its leaders never get prosecuted (and they do lots of things they should be prosecuted for). There is no freedom of religion, Christians are routinely persecuted and have no real protection under the law. Freedom of the press also is a theoretical issue. Speak out against the army, or any other institution and suffer the consequences.
And I can’t think of any other Muslim nation that even dares call itself a democracy (and please don’t say “Pakistan!”).

So all this is known. And still the Western world treats the Jews and the Arabs as moral equals. Worse, the Arabs (literally) get away with murder, while the Jews are rabidly and viciously condemned at every occasion in the UN and any other organization that wishes to have a say, and for trespasses that are always much less serious than the Arab ones.

So why? Of course there’s the oil thing. We don’t want to piss of the Arabs, they might raise the oil prices. But those pragmatic reasons really only work for people who make policy, the average man in the street may not like to see another raise at the gas station, but that won’t affect his opinion when you ask him about right and wrong.

The real reason is a double standard. Deep in our hearts we all know (and so do our political leaders) that the Arabs (and most Muslims in general) are really a few steps behind in social and cultural development. They are primitives, really just beyond barbarity (and they regularly have a relapse). They are a primitive people with 21st century technology and wealth in their grasp. You can witness this every day, if you choose to look. We all know this, but we’re embarrassed to even think it, it is not politically correct.

The Jews on the other hand are our equals in every way. Most of them are survivors from our midst, and only chose to live in Israel after Europe murdered 80% of them. Perhaps deep in our hearts we even feel a little inferior to them, after all most of us are Christians, and as such have been told that they are the Chosen People (but they also murdered God). Kinda hard to like, aren’t they? Whereas the Arabs, well they’re really hardly more than children, you can’t really blame them even. But the Jews? They really should know better!

This feeling is the reason for the Western attitude towards the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is easy to maintain too, if all the violence is thousands of miles away. But look how different it gets when the killers start operating in the US and Europe as well, when they start recruiting from the millions of haters amongst us. Our reactions are much much harsher than those of Israel, considering how mildly we’re (yet) affected. Perhaps now is a time we can take off our self-inflicted blindfolds, and see who our friends and enemies really are.

Just a few of many roots of anti-semitism

The Jewish religion is the first monotheïstic religion. In the bible, the Jews are called the Chosen People. God states His preference for them many times, and although He gets angry with them at times, there’s no doubt they are indeed His Chosen.
First off, let me say that I am a completely a-religious person. I do not believe in the bible, God or any other supreme being. I say this to make clear where I stand on this.

Obviously the bible (OT) was written by Jews. The conclusion must be that the Jews wrote that they are the Chosen People. Wether they believed it or not, wether they were actually told so or not, they wrote it down. So far so good, no one has a problem yet.

Then comes Christianity. It claims to be the successor to Judaism, and its followers are now the Chosen, regardless of race or birth. Judaism is now obsolete, but if you’re a Christian, you belong. Great, isn’t it? Except Christians never really could get rid of the nagging doubts. After all, the Jews thought of it first. Moreover, Jezus was himself a Jew. There was just no escaping them. Even blaming them for killing God so the Romans wouldn’t be offended and might possibly buy into the new religion didn’t make the Jews go away, it just got them more hated.

600 or so years later more trouble in paradise. An Arab saw the light but had problems convincing others of this. So he tried to find allies in the Jews (who he secretly realizes are the owners of the patent and copyright), one of the things he did was cater to their rules a bit so there’d be some common grounds. But thosen stubborn Jews, they said: “No thanks, we’re good, thank you”. So Muhammed was pissed off, didn’t need the Jews anyway and never forgave them their rejection of him. If you think the New Testament is full of anti-semitic bile, read the Koran.

900 years later again. A newly ordained priest became desillusioned with the church and decided to reinvent Christianity. Like Muhammed, he badly felt in need of friends and allies, and sought out… you guessed it, the Jews. They said: “No thanks, we’re good, thank you”, and history repeated itself. Some people just don’t take rejection very well. But the list of Jew-friends, which was never very long to start with, was getting real short.

The list of enemies, well…