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The Origin of Jews, et al

Reader comment on item: Accepting Israel as the Jewish State[: Public Opinion in Four Arab Countries]
in response to reader comment: Israel , flags etc

Submitted by KM (India), Jul 7, 2010 at 10:13

I infrequently visit this site, and don't get notified when someone responds, so apologies for the long delay in responding.

The "Grand Infidel" writes:

"Thank you, but actually I'm not here for your amusement, nor you mine."
Well who are we here for? And at least this time you have responded with substance, unlike your first attempt. That is appreciated.

I had said "My principal points: (1) how silly it is to use descent over more than 3 generations for citizenship, selectively allowing people of one religion in" to which you said -

"That is your subjective opinion though. I'm sure the legislator's in the country concerned had perfectly rational reasons (to them) behind them."

You missed the point. I was saying no other nation on earth (other than Israel) tries to use descent that stretches beyond 2-3 generations as a rationale for citizenship. Israel says it's fine with no limit at all, and assumes there weren't any non-Jewish people in the Levant. When 200 nations don't do it, maybe there's a good reason Israel shouldn't either. Italy technically also has no generational limit, but in effect it is still limited, since the ancestor who immigrated from Italy must have died after 1861.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jus_sanguinis

I also said "...Why not we all have the right to move to Ethiopia since that is our true ancestral home? ..." to which your rejoinder was -

"Recent scientific discoveries have created a lot of doubt about that theory. Humanity might have several homelands and several progenitors. In any case I'm sure if you really wanted to go to Ethiopia - they'd find ways to let you in."

I know you're trying to muddle up the issue because you're standing on morally and logically shaky ground. The point, as you well know, wasn't whether one can get into Ethiopia; but if we have some "right" or justification to do so. We don't, and similarly, there should be no such right to move to any of our ancestral homelands and encampments - all the lands where any of our ancestors lived - including Israel. That's ridiculous. If that's true, well then a LOT of people should have the right to move to many, many countries, including non-Jewish folk who can claim to move to Israel because their distant ancestors (based on DNA) lived in the Levant for some time. My guess is that's probably the majority of people in the Mideast, Europe and the Americas - if not the whole world, given the narrow land connection between Africa and the rest of the world.

The Levant was a temporary way-stop in the grand migration of humans out of Africa. It wasn't where the Jewish people, like everyone else, evolved from apes. That was in Africa - and no evidence to the contrary exists. Maybe they weren't called "Jewish" yet, or speak Hebrew - but they were the ancestors of the Jewish people.

Doubt - really? Is 2007 recent enough? Please don't use selective memory/evidence here. Like with climate change, there are always doubters, but the "recent African origin of modern humans (also known as "Out of Africa"), has emerged as the near consensus view since the 1990s". There are two major theories - the only question is whether it was a recent migration or a couple of million years ago - not whether it was Africa:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070509161829.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recent_African_origin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiregional_origin_of_modern_humans

I had said "....(2) The point was not whether there exist some nations who have religion-centric flags (there are, but not India's) - but whether Israel's national icons are appropriate for a modern nation that has 74.6% Jews and a 16% Muslim minority (not counting West Bank or Gaza). (3) how non-Western the values underpinning Israel's laws on different religions/ethnicities are....." You responded with:

"Not so different from non-EU countries who have foregone experiencing the wonderful joys of multiculturalism - such as Norway and maybe Liechtenstein. Or looking further afield - China and Japan."

Once again, you choose to skirt the issue. The use of the Star of David in the Israeli flag unambiguously marginalizes the Israeli Arabs who are not Jewish, especially given history. Integrating different cultures in one nation is always a wrenching affair - and that is hardly helped by having one-sided national icons. The US has done a better job than any other nation so far. All people are racist, to varying degrees, and it's racism combined with a desire to preserve tradition that leads one to "forgo the wonderful joys of multiculturalism." But those that forgo for too long, will suffer. Japan has an aging population that will be unsupportable without immigration of non-Japanese. Israel is strengthened, not weakened by its multicultural Jewish immigrants - which will spur entrepreneurship. It would be further strengthened by being equally welcoming to non-Jewish people.

You said:

"A huge number of Jewish people in israe lcome from Eastern Europe and the former USSR countries. And to a lesser extent the US , the UK, and even Australia. Laws in Israel are comparavle to laws of any westsern democracy. There is an underlying Judaic influence but not anywhere near as much as you seem to be making out. The Orthodox have their sway - but life for young people in places like tel Aviv can be as decadent and hedonistic as Berlin or Los angeles."

Decadence and hedonism are superficial elements of Western democracy. Underlying Judaic influence? You're really laying on the euphemisms thick. There is explicit religious discrimination written into the laws, immigration specifically. And there are other policies that make it possible only Jewish folks to live in certain areas, like the settlements. Something you'll have trouble pointing out in any Western democracy. Show me one. You can't have the "benefits" of a discriminatory system, and also the bragging rights to claim it isn't one!

And you still miss the point when you say:
"OK, then THE Indian flag - and the south korean - one has a buddhist symbol, the other taoist."

As to the Indian one - the Indians I've asked don't see it as a religious flag at all, even though one can dig up Buddhist links. And more importantly, it's not at all divisive - given it doesn't belong to the majority Hindu or the minority Muslim people - but a micro-minority Buddhist group. So saying it "has a Buddhist symbol" does not mean it is seen as a Buddhist flag, the same way the Israeli flag has a Jewish symbol - because it is seen as a Jewish flag. Do South Korean Christians feel marginalized or less patriotic in saluting the South Korean flag because it has a Taoist symbol? No. There isn't much Taoist-Christian violence or tensions. Context matters. Many flags have symbols or colors that have a vaguely religious past - but the question is this - is the nation trying to be inclusive and modern and make all its citizens feel equally part of the national fabric through its national icons? The answer in this case, clearly is yes when it comes to India, and no when it comes to Israel. Ultimately it depends whether you can make the citizens identify with that icon. Israel has failed and I don't see that changing without changing the flag.

I said "....Even then, the point should be about the argument, not me, right? "and you said

"You shouldn't feel persecuted already - I was talking about the Indian flag , not you."

Fortunately, I don't suffer from a persecution complex. But you chose to use the Indian flag (a poor example) instead of trying to find a flag that would better fit your argument (many of the Islamic nations, but then you probably didn't want to be clubbed with them). I was cautioning against trying to downplay arguments by trying to identify the ethnic/religious background of the opponent. It should not matter whether I am Muslim, Jewish, Christian, white, black or brown.

I said "....The Star of David and the colours are unambiguously and forthrightly religious. .." to which you half-admitted:

"I take your point on the star of david - but what is the significance of the cours - blue and white are on many national flags?"

I was surprised at this - someone who actively engages on this forum, Jewish or not, should know that the blue and white colors of the flag have a very strong religious significance - they are the colors of the tallit, the Jewish prayer shawl, something you'll see in countless photos. Look up the wiki article on the Israeli flag for evidence.

I said that "...The Indian flag is almost equivalent to having a Muslim crescent on the Israeli flag. You'll see why. I wish you had read through the link you provided,.... " to which you said:

"Your wish was already granted - I had read it before posting it - I assume most people do that when posting links."

I don't get it - there was nothing in your link that made your case; the Indian govt had made an explicit effort to make the flag inclusive; they "decided that the flag of India must be acceptable to all parties and communities". That hardly sounds like Israel. This is the key section:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India_flag#Design_and_symbolism

You said:

"In your opinion and no doubt the opinion of all Muslims (not that I'm sayin you are a muslim - though it doesn't matter to me if you are. But I'd say most people are quite happy to allow israel to have their own national flag. Just like most people are probably OK with China having its national flag with the coulour associated with its former national religion - communism."

You had said "I'd be happy to just settle for a world where Islam was recognised for what it is" to which I retorted with "Well, there's the supremacist "we're better than them" tendency coming out!" and you reminded me of my own words that the point should be about the argument and not the arguer.

My point was that the weight I give to your arguments shouldn't depend on your race, religion, skin color, nationality, etc. However, I can categorize you on the basis of what you've stated - if you say something I find ridiculous or supremacist - I (and you) have the right to say so. So the two are not the same.

"You really can't call everyone with a different opinion to your own a 'racist', 'supremacist' - or whatever flavour of the month 'ist' is fashionable at the time."
I agree with you that one shouldn't demonize those with opinions different from one's own; but I also don't see the need to be politically correct. If someone seems to demonstrate a worldview that white people, black people, Muslims or Jews are "exceptional" or better than others in some way - I should and will call that supremacist. I sensed that you did look down upon Muslim/Islamic culture, so I felt it was appropriate.

I consider all human beings (including me) racist, to various degrees - it's natural, it's biological, it was evolutionarily necessary. However it has outlived its usefulness, and we need to tamp down on it.

You said:

"In your humble opinion "....The sooner we realize all old cultures and peoples have equal amounts of good and bad in them, the better off we'll be. It's dangerous to start blaming one religion, or assigning blame with a broad brush, .."

It's more damaging to deny the obvious and pretend it doesn't exist or that it won't affect you.

"....instead of blaming individuals for their actions (and not their "culture"). .."

Ignorance is the enemy. Their religion breeds ignorance. How many other religions can you list that breaks humanity up into 'us' and 'them' so well. OK, maybe Hinduism with its caste system - but that is purely amongst the Indians. And I'll leave you to read all the other objections to Islamic supremacist beliefs from other posts on this blog. Notice - you'll find no anti-Buddhist blogs on the Net, I've never seen an anti-Sikh or anti-Taoist one either . Why is that? What do you suspect is the reason that Islam generates so much animosity - no matter which culture it touches?"

If your world oscillates between those who think like Daniel and his ilk, then you can be forgiven for inadequate awareness, instead of lapses of judgment. I can also find tons of racist blogs on the Internet - does that say more about the culture targeted or those writing? There are KKK blogs, anti-Bosnian blogs, anti-Serbian blogs, anti-semitic blogs. By your logic, if there are anti-semitic blogs, that means there must be something wrong with the Jews. You may want to rethink your logic.

And there was a time when Hindu-Sikh tensions were so high India's leader was assassinated, and riots ensued. Hindu suicide bombers fought for their own homeland against Buddhist Sri Lanka.

Islam generates animosity in the media sphere you are exposed to, but it isn't what the rest of the world sees. The amount of innocent death caused by Islamic extremists pales when compared to the death tolls racked up by the Western powers. More death has been caused (directly and indirectly) in the last 100 years by Western "white people" whose values you think are worth emulating than those of the Muslims, Hindus or Chinese.

How do you blame a religion, when it has beautiful lines like (approximately) "if you kill a single person, it is as if you have killed all of humanity...if you save a life, it is like you have saved all of humanity." It has bloodcurdling lines as well, but then again, which religious text doesn't? The Bible, the Torah, etc are all full of cruelty that would never pass muster in the modern world. But when it's our own text, we explain them away by using "context" - and when it comes to their text, we go the literal route!

Blame individuals - those who do something criminal. You can also partly blame the political and economic constraints that person lives under. No one, and nothing else is responsible.

What is "obvious"? In the Mideast conflict or this clash of cultures, what is often "obvious" to one side is "a lie" to the other side. It's not a clash between right and wrong but a clash between two rights, worldviews of people who have been fed different sets of "facts" from birth. Your arguments have their mirror opposite in their culture. They will also think that Judaism breeds ignorance/violence/ethnic cleansing, because that's what they've seen - the Gaza war with its 1:100 kill ratio can easily lead to a belief about a Judaism-linked propensity towards violence, even though the reality is more complex. They will also bemoan a lack of awareness (ignorance) of the Palestinian Nakba experience, the same way Jews want to make others more aware of the pangs of the Holocaust, although it is already better known already compared to other deadlier pogroms in human history. As for religions that break humanity into 'us' and 'them' - by their very nature, most religions position themselves as the one true way, and the others are "lesser" - Jews also are not above considering themselves smarter than others, and as the "chosen people".

The difference you see in "ignorance" is also socioeconomic. If one gave all individuals of all cultures equal assets, social connections and education - then I'd bet religious/ethnic/cultural differences in any measures of success - income, Nobel prizes, etc, - would disappear. Imagine if all the people in Africa, the Mideast and Asia had per capita resources and research universities like the US does - the West's era of pre-eminence will be over. And that's likely to happen over the next 100 years.

You said:

"Oh dear - there you go again. My road is not poisonous. I have no favourites. If the Eskimos religion caused as much havoc and invked as much terror and mayhem in non-Eskimo's lives (and inded in some of the Eskimos) - I'd say the same thing. So, discount the idea this has anything to do with 'race' - if that is your angle."

You're so willing to go after the Eskimos so you'd have carte blanche on the Muslims. You don't need to go that far north. Take a mirror and look at what Israel and its well-intentioned supporters have been doing. The neocons (yes, they are mostly Jewish, but not always) pushed us into war with Iraq (few, even in the US would disagree on their influential role) through govt and the media. That war has resulted in over a million avoidable deaths (not in dispute - two studies point to the numbers being north of 1 million by now). Now it's Iran. Then, as now, the primary rationale is twisted to show how it's in the US' interests, but the threat perceived - from Saddam, or the mullahs - was and is Israel. If one looks at Osama (his 4th tape) and KSM's own words, it is clear that Israel's actions (and not that of America) spurred their extremism, and as a consequence. Sept 11. I can dig up the relevant speeches if you want. But I personally don't ascribe any of this due to some "cultural" or "religious" fault of Judaism - but to politics, structural issues, and an unrealistic and exaggerated sense of existential peril because of the Holocaust.

You said "Let's not compare apples with pears. If you're talking about ww1 or WW2 - bear in mind ithese were NOT religious wars. Saying that the proponents had religion in common is as relevant as saying they all breathed oxygen. Russia was not a 'Christian' state - and neiher was Nazi Germany. Speasking of which - Communism that other great religion of the 20th century , has killed an estimated 100 million i. Another salient point is that the science and technological and engineering prowess of Western powers allowed them to develop devastating weapons - where a lot of people could be killed. And these coutries , realising the futitlity of having such weaponry - have since scaled back their further developent (I mean nuclear weapons here)."

Apples with oranges. And whether you or someone calls something a war "religious" or not - it doesn't matter. Differences in religion/culture lead to differences in ideology/politics. Look at the former Yugoslavia. It was purportedly about politics, but broke down along ethnic/religious lines. And the Slavic culture and Western European cultures were also different, one Protestant/Catholic, one Eastern Orthodox. Evidently, the Slavic culture was more open to the precepts of communism. So whether or not they believed in God or not, their cultures (including Hitler's) and those of all "white people" came from Judaeochristian roots, even though many would exhibit racism against groups like Jews and gypsies.

The point is this - Islam's reputation for violence is wholly undeserved when one looks at what people of European origin have done in terms of violence. But we, since we rule the airwaves, entertainment and the media, have been writing the history, and it treats us of European origin, rather favorably.

And the Palestinians can easily and credibly claim that most of their movement against Israel since 1947 has been a nationalist one, a secular one, one for independence, not a caliphate jihad. And does it mean that because the West/Israel developed/uses devastating ways to kill - it should be forgiven for causing more innocent deaths? I don't think a judge/jury looks more kindly on a defendant when there are more dead just because he used more lethal weaponry - an AK-47 instead of a handgun. That is not an excuse.

You said:

On the other hand - if Islamic society had not beeen so backward technologically (and in so many other areas) - and they had developed nuclear weapons - do you seriously think they would not have used them by now? Do you think yu'd be worried now about Israel having the flag it does?

"....For example, without the US invasion of Iraq (and the Jewish and neocon cheerleading that led to it), "

Those bloody Jooooz again eh?

I've fully addressed the "Joooz" issue above. Getting too sensitive when you feel you're hearing the truth? Don't take my word for it. Do some research and due diligence of your own as to who were pushing for us to take out Saddam the most. Decide for yourself. The record is quite clear on this. Other than Bolton, Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney, the rest were, actually, Jewish - Wolfowitz, Feith, Wurmser, Perle, Abrams and Libby. When about 60% of this effort are Jewish (several advised Netanyahu and wrote that infamous report), when they are 2% of the US population, some variance with what's in the best interests of the US might be expected. This would be true if it was some other group - Cubans, Indians, white people, black people, or Americans of some other affinity, with sympathies/cultural links towards some nation.

http://zfacts.com/p/775.html

I said: "....the million plus excess deaths that have occurred (two of the most reliable studies indicate that), would have been avoided" to which you asked:

And the Iran/Iraq war - what could have been done to prevent that?

Can't say - if the world hadn't been still divided by the Cold War, maybe we could have been more active and aggressive in diplomacy and intervention - like we were in the Balkans. The roots of that conflict go back to colonial border issues, Shia-Sunni divide and lack of democracy. The US did not always play a helpful role. That would have been the time for us to invade - to save lives. One doesn't need to go back that far. Instead of our fixation on what MIGHT happen to Israel from Saddam or Iran, 1998-2003 has seen 4 million actually killed in the second Congolese war. Now that could have been helped by some Western focus and even $1 billion (we've wasted over a trillion dollars in Iraq). It and the Rwandan genocide show that we don't use "Never Again" for all people.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Congo_War

I said "....Does that lead me to say Christianity or Judaism are violent religions or that you are violent because someone else was? No. But your line of thinking would lead down that path.".

'My' line of thinking ? Are you being 'thoughtist' now because you don't agree with the obvious fact that Islamic culture is demonstrably retrograde when compared to nearly every other major culture - Western, Chinese etc etc If it is not - why do so many muslims want to get out of their paradises?

I don't see Islamic culture when stripped of political/historic fault lines as "demonstrably retrograde". Look at Indonesia, or Muslim professionals in the US. They are as religious as anyone else - and as productive in society. If you spend so much time in echo chambers like this forum, you'd realize that if it wasn't for festering political sores like the Mideast issue to pummel the psyche of Muslims, their percentage of crazies would be no different than among Christians, Jews or Hindus.

I said "...I think that Judaeochristian societies are as pro-peace or pro-violence as Muslim ones,.." to which you said:

"Your welcome to your opinion - however wrong it might be.But underneath - if we took away all religious and social conditioning - an Iranians search for happiness would take a similar form to an Aland Islanders. Humanity shares common traits. However throw in ANY ideology that must be strictly adhered to to find allow entry into an orgiastic pie in the sky, colours its adherents' perception of the world into a dangerously dualistic 'us' and the 'great unwashed' and insists that it must be spread worldwide... What do you expect will happen? Is it possible that sane and rational human beings might actually object to it? Do you find it unreasonable? Judaeo Christian societies do not want to take over the world or tell everyone they have the supreme religion - or force everyone in their socieites to adopt 'religious' laws or jump up and down claiming persecution when their (very, very few) expatriate minorities living in Islamic countries don't get what they want. (even such harmless things as putting up churches having a beer etc)"

Of course, I agree with you (at last!) when you say everyone is the same underneath. And can also agree that social conditioning can affect us greatly. Nature and nurture. What if you were born in Gaza? You grew up in an environment where you live in a big prison, constantly aware that your jailers are living a decadent, luxurious life just a few miles away. Maybe you'd join Hamas after your sister was killed, whereas in another corner of the world, while still a Muslim, you'd be a professor of physics. Maybe the loss of political and economic rights and opportunities of people you care about is far more influential than what ideology/religion you follow. Maybe those conditions lead to more supporters for that ideology. The Tamil Tigers may have also been promised glorious martyrdom, as were the kamikaze pilots - given the right conditions, people can embrace any ideology - whether that's communism, jihad, and justify killing "terrorist sympathizers", gassing Jews, killing fellow boys in "Lord of the Flies", etc.

We may not couch the us vs them in a naked fashion like some of the jihadis do, but we couch our cultural aggression/religious intolerance in more slick package - they threaten our "way of life", and that they're against "freedom" (that always cracks me up). And we had "taken over the world" already; we just gave it up recently, in case you forgot. AND we told them ours was the superior religion! Do the words missionary, conquistador or crusader completely escape you? Your blind spot on this should tell you that maybe you're not seeing the big picture, or polling widely enough. And since then, the cultural reach of the US, as well as that of its missiles have filled that colonial role that traditionalists/nationalists in those cultures resent. I don't agree with them because change is inevitable and inexorable - as with species, I believe in the survival of the fittest of ideas. Whether that's Western or Eastern, Judaeochristian, Buddhist or Islamic - I don't care who wins as long as they all play on a level playing field. Right now it's still too tilted in our favor.

I said "....and killing through structural violence (suffering triggered by our actions or structures). Don't look at selective evidence that fits your worldview - please look at all of it and quantify it. .." and you -

"said as though one has the big picture no doubt. That's a supreme delusion."

True, I do think I'm looking at the bigger picture, and am being a bit arrogant about it. You won't see false humility here :) Could I be wrong? Sure. I think it's possible, but not probable. I've looked at the evidence and dispassionately looked at the numbers and disparate sources. I'm willing to show you evidence of everything I claim, and back it up with numbers. Your arguments are more based on anecdotal information, and not numbers. Show me polls, studies, etc, instead of what specific individuals say - they can never fairly represent a group. Cheers..

Submitting....

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