Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Israelis angered by EU 'threat' poll

ultra-nationalism > Israeli
The recent Eurobarometer survey that sparked the whole fuss (its a 3.6 MB pdf file, this will take a while unless you have a fast connection). It's mainly about EU reaction to the US invasion of Iraq (mostly negative) with the question in question at the end of the survey.

First of all, let me point out two obvious things:
1. There are no ultra-nationalists in any nation, from Zhirinovsky followers, to Kemalist generals, to Ann Coulter fans, to Ariel Sharon, to the folks we have around here that claim Greece's "natural" borders are somewhere near Ankara, to Serb, Croat, Albanian and what have you maniacs, who when faced with international disapproval of their plans and, more importantly, of their actions, don't claim an international conspiracy of anti-"X"ites and start shrieking hysterically about the "enemy", as all fascists do when confronted by reason. That the radical Zionists react similarly is no surprise.
2. There is no doubt, in my mind at least, that highest among the nations who really are a danger to world peace should be India and Pakistan which not only have nuclear weapons but frequently sound like they're over-eager to use them against each other.

Let me point out also point out some, apparently, less than obvious things:
Of the countries making the top 5 "most dangerous" according to Europeans, one is in blatant and repeated defiance of UN resolutions, in unlawful occupation of foreign territories which it has proceeded to settle (West Bank and Gaza), was until recently occupying a third of a neighboring country (Lebanon) - where it had committed crimes against humanity - and attacked another (Syria).
Another of the countries has recently invaded two other countries, the latest in total defiance of the UN and public opinion almost everywhere, and has installed an occupation government, against fierce local resistance.
The other two among the top-5 are not to my knowledge involved in any actions even remotely comparable as to their international unlawfulness, nor does any sane analyst believe that they would launch an attack against any country unprovoked, especially Iran.
Iraq is in fifth place, which probably indicates that the question was interpreted differently by different people.

So if anything, European public opinion has been rather moderate on condemning both Israel and the US as threats to world peace. Indeed the poll shows that US government and corporate media propaganda has less effect in the European populations than desired - at least on this issue. Ranking Israel as the number one threat to world peace, is a sign of being in touch with current events.

Thus when Prodi:

"... expressed his concern about the findings, saying that they "point to the continued existence of a bias that must be condemned out of hand".
and added that:
"... To the extent that this may indicate a deeper, more general prejudice against the Jewish world, our repugnance is even more radical," Mr Prodi said in a statement.

... it's total bullshit. This isn't "anti-semitism" any more than the inclusion of Iran and North Korea in the list is "anti-Iranianism", or "anti-North Koreanism". Prodi knows this, and for him to play into Israeli propaganda by condemning the views of a majority of EU citizens (who gave him the right or the authority to apologize on my behalf? How dare he assume that my opinion of the Israeli lunatic nationalists is in any way informed by anti-Semitism?) is absurd and improper.

As for the "Israeli mission to the EU", which had the gall to state the following:
"We are not only sad but outraged. Not at European citizens but at those who are responsible for forming public opinion",
I reserve nothing but the kind of contempt I have traditionally reserved to all similar type of nationalist/racist mouthpieces be it apartheid government spokesmen in South Africa or Indonesian army representatives in East Timor. One thing we still have in Europe is the ability to form our own opinions in defiance, often, of the propaganda machines and media brainwashing.

And may I add that I'm not only sad, I'm outraged that, according to the Guardian, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, ("dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust by fostering tolerance and understanding through community involvement, educational outreach and social action"), "has begun ordering a petition to condemn the European Commission and demand the EU no longer be represented in the so-called Quartet group trying to mediate an end to violence between Israel and Palestine."
I think the SWC should try a little harder to preserve the memory of the Holocaust by pressuring the Israeli government to abandon its policies of plunder, ethnic cleansing and murder in the West Bank and Gaza, instead of morphing into Israeli apartheid/racism apologists. I can't think of a more inappropriate tribute to those that were murdered by the Nazis than blind support to a person that has expressed his racism clearly and eloquently:
"I don't know something called International Principles. I vow that I'll burn every Palestinian child (that) will be born in this area. The Palestinian woman and child is more dangerous than the man, because the Palestinian childs existence infers that generations will go on, but the man causes limited danger."
Ariel Sharon, In an interview with General Ouze Merham, 1956.

Calmer discussion of the issue at Fistful of Euros...

Correction June 18 2004: Reader Hayyim Feldman has noted in the comments that the quote I attributed to Sharon is fictional. A little research (which I should have done in the first place) shows that this is indeed the case. I apologize for the error - that was lazy research.

1 comment:

talos said...

old commentsHayyim Feldman:

Sholem aleichem,

I just encountered your blog for the first time, while searching for last October's "Eurobarometer" survey in which more respondents (59%) considered Israel a threat to world peace than any other country. (~/2003_11_01_histologion_archive.html)

Thanks very much for providing a link to the actual survey results - and for your brief and lucid discussion of the issue. Thanks especially for the article by Robert Fisk (the greatest living journalist I know of) on the Palestine Brigade. It just happened to be on the same blog page, to my delight.

I do wish you had caught the near-universal fallacy in reports about the survey, but the misleading chorus was so overwhelming in its unanimity, it pretty much drowned out what the survey actually said. You were right to describe the survey as "condemning both Israel and the US as threats to world peace." But it contains no list of "most dangerous" countries; nor does it identify Israel or any other country as the number one threat to world peace. No one was asked "which are the most dangerous countries?" or "which country(ies) are the top threats to world peace?" The question regarding each country was merely "does it present a threat to peace in the world, or not?" (slight paraphrase).

In case it's not clear (though it should be) why this is not nitpicking, let me explain. The US, Iran, and North Korea were all identified as threats to world peace by 53% of respondents. Does that tell us that they are all seen as equally dangerous? Absolutely not; it tells us nothing at all about how dangerous they are perceived to be.

For the sake of simplicity, let's say that the 53% in each case consisted of precisely the same individual respondents (it doesn't matter to the argument how true or false this is). What if the question were asked, "rank these three countries from 1 to 10 with 1 representing the most dangerous and 10 the least dangerous"? Maybe the whole group would rank them as all very dangerous, or all moderately dangerous, or - in a very safe world - all mildly dangerous. Or maybe all respondents would agree that a certain country deserves a rank of 1-3, and that a certain other country is only dangerous at the level of 8-10, with the third country somewhere in between. Or maybe the three countries would be seen to vary widely in dangerousness, but in different ways and orders by different respondents.

Similarly, no one said (or was given an opportunity by the survey to say) that Israel is or is not most dangerous, or the greatest threat to world peace. Rather, the greatest number of people said that Israel poses some threat to world peace. If that 59% of respondents included most of the 53% who also identified the US as a threat, it could well be, for example, that the US was seen as substantially more dangerous, though by slightly fewer people.

From the beginning of political zionism, there has been a thread binding the zionist right to the antisemitic right, on the basis of their shared interest in removing the whole Jewish people from the midst of the "West". The distortion of the results of this Euro-survey in nearly every report I've seen about it was, among other things, a boon both to supporters of the Israeli right (Simon Wiesenthal Foundation, etc.) and to straight-up Jew haters (for a sample, see http://www.nation…)

Now, the bad news… The "quotation" you included from Ariel Sharon is a complete fabrication. The alleged 1956 interview with General Ouze Merham is a complete fabrication. I believe (though I am not certain of this) that General Merham is a complete fabrication. Sharon has said and done quite enough to damn himself. To use unsubstantiated internet myths is wrong, damaging to our credibility, and unnecessary. Please look into this to your satisfaction, and then run a retraction. And thanks again for all your great work!

-Hayyim Feldman

P.S. You might be interested in the evaluations of Ronald Reagan, facts about him and his administration, and quotes from him, at: http://www.tikkun…

2004-06-18 17:48

You are right about the quote… The limitations of googling as a method of quote confirmation have again been demonsrated!… Yet this is the second time I reprint a fictional (or questionable) quote attributed to Sharon… The first time, I did catch it and corrected my error: http://histologio…

There won't be a third time.
I promise.

2004-06-18 18:26