Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Problem With "Friends".


Dr Mike Lumish of friend blog Israel Thrives posted this here yesterday. It features a quite brilliant address on contemporary antisemitism from Ruth Wisse.

Ruth Wisse is a professor of Yiddish and Comparative Literature at Harvard University and the author of Jews and Power . In his post Mike includes this bracing metaphor which distils in a few sentences what is so terribly terribly wrong with critical "friends" of Israel in the West. 

Another point that Wisse makes in the video is concerned with criticism of Israel by those who claim to be friends of Israel.  She points out that it is often said that there is nothing wrong with criticizing any country and who would disagree?  All governments are subject to criticism and Israel is no different than any other country in that regard.

However, she uses a metaphor to underline a somewhat different point of view.  Imagine, she says, that you are not doing a very good job of keeping your front yard clean and a neighbor complains about it.  Well, that may very well be a perfectly reasonable criticism, right?  Why should this be a problem?  Fair is fair and if you need to clean up your yard a little then you need to clean up your yard a little.

Now imagine that all your neighbor's yards are in far, far worse condition and, in fact, these people not only do not want you living among them, but are constantly throwing rocks and garbage through your windows and vocally threatening the lives of your children.  What would you think of the neighbor's complaint then?  Would you not suspect that this neighbor is simply joining with the others in laying the ground for the persecution of you and your children.

Che Gorilla, using one of his anonymous pen names,  has had an email exchange with outspoken Israel "friend" Dr Andrew Leigh MP. Here it is. Best to keep everything on the public record these days.

Dear Andrew,

Don’t mention it.

I intend to share my views with you, and your colleagues, and anybody else who will listen as much as I can.

Not just because I am pro-Israel but because I am pro-Australia. Pro-human really and especially pro-human rights. Like the ALP used to be. Do feel free to share, yourself. Especially with Gareth Evans, Bob Carr and Bob Hawke.

In that regard I will be grateful if you or someone in your office passed this along to Graham Richardson. He doesn't seem to have a public email address. Cool. Whatever it takes.

Kind regards

Sent: Friday, January 18, 2013 9:14 AM
To: Che Gorilla
Subject: RE: The Drum
Dear Geoff,

Thanks for sharing your views with me.
Kind regards,
Andrew Leigh
Federal Member for Fraser
Description: email_16 Description: blogger_16 Description: facebook_16 Description: twitter_16 Description: youtube_16
phone 02 6247 4396
address 8/1 Torrens St, Braddon ACT 2612

From: Che Gorilla
Sent: Thursday, 17 January 2013 11:54 PM
To: Leigh, Andrew (MP)
Subject: The Drum

A detailed response to your essay at the Drum has been posted at this blog here

Foreign reaction to the essay can be found here and the linked US blog

Not helpful. Not the act of an informed wise and true friend at a bad time

No comments:

Post a Comment