Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A few more words on the subject, because I just couldn't help myself

Not surprisingly, I am still getting flack for my previous posts. I know He was hoping that we'd take break from politics (sorry, He), but I just felt that I had a bit more to say on the subject. What follows is a paraphrasing of a response that I just sent to a reader who was particularly upset by what I wrote. I won't give away the reader, as the identity is between the reader and myself, but I will add, in case said reader is miffed that I'm using the response as the basis for a blog entry, that I had been considering an entry of this nature even prior to reading the email that I received, and took this as a sign that something needed to be written here.

I believe that I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that I want to believe that the majority of people supporting anti-disengagement do not perpetrate these acts, and I'm sure that it's not everyone. However, I still stand by my comments though, in that I am disgusted by the acts perpetrated in the name of the anti-disengagement movement. Perhaps I could have used different phrasing to more carefully emphasize the distinction between people. What is interesting, however, is that people who are in favor of the disengagement (or at least not distinctly anti-disengagement), read what I wrote in precisely the way that I intended it - not as an attack against everyone in orange, but against those who perpetrate the acts in the name of "orange", so to speak.

What the regular "oranges" don't seem to realize, is that most of the "blues" believe that all of the oranges support these activities, because it is what we are shown on television and what we read in the newspapers. Everyone knows someone whose car antenna has been vandalized, and we see what the right-wing politicians are saying, how they are planning to tie up the security forces, etc. If you read some of the other left-wing blogs, like Dutchblog Israel, for instance, you will see that he expresses similar sentiments, though not as strongly as I do. Clearly, there is a problem here, and it's not just with me. Admittedly, I was a little shaken up by the overwhelming responses that I've received, and I've begun discussing the issue with friends and colleagues, taking a more neutral stand than usual, and what I've discovered is that most people do not distinguish between the "different shades of orange", because they haven't been convinced that it's necessary to do so. Sad but true.

Perhaps there are a majority of oranges who don't support these activities, but if so, they are a silent majority. In the same way that people don't believe that there are many Palestinians who want peace because they don't talk about it publicly, the blues are believing the worst of the oranges, because we don't hear anything else. And, when I so much as made a peep (ok, a very loud peep) in condemnation of what's been happening, all the oranges read that I was attacking their entire camp, and began to attack me back, often getting quite personal. With the exception of one or two people, hardly anyone on the right actually wrote that they condemned the actions as well, or tried to distance themselves from these actions. Again, sad but true.

Anyone who knows me, knows what my sense of humor is like, and knows that I can be quite sarcastic and cynical. I can accept that people have clearly misunderstood some of the things that I said in a tongue-in-cheek manner, not knowing me or the way I am, and for that, I am sorry. However, I also think that the more sane folks on the right have to be more vocal in their condemnation of acts being perpetrated in their name. I think it's wonderful that there are activities in at least one yishuv where they do just that, but it seems to me that this has to be shown to the "outside world". We are the ones who need convincing that there are voices of reason among you, and that the hooligans among you do not represent you. Patting yourselves on the back behind closed doors will not help your cause if people don't know that it's taking place. In the truest of Israeli traditions, it would seem that the majority of oranges are victims of their own poor hasbara, because the word just isn't getting out there. If you don't believe me, ask anyone who is even marginally pro-disengagement (and not some serious lefty like me), just like I did.


Ruth said...


have you ever considered the possibility that your/the general "blue" perception of "orange" might be wrong? And that it might be fed by media and politicians who find it easier to demonize political oppenents than to enter into a respectful discussion of the issues at hand?

As you possible remember I am not "orange", neither am I "blue" like you define yourselves, so I don't feel I have to go into my positions.

I feel it is a great loss that Sharon did not try to really convince people. Where was the discussion when Sharanksy left the government because he could not support the relinquishing of territory without any linking to PA democractic reforms?

There were enough instances when "orange" people condemmed acts of violence in uncertain terms. However, they were not widely reported.

You go with your gut feelings instead of getting yourselves an informed opinion.

Same with the peace-loving Palestinians: I gave you the link to the Palestinian poll and the latest figures on support for suicide attacks. You do not bother to look at it and explain why you think that you can dismiss these findings, you just repeat your mantra of the many peace-loving Palestinians.

Please get a little bit more serious. These issues go beyond your emotinal well-being!

treppenwitz said...

I assure you that for every bent or broken antenna with a blue/white ribbon on it there were an equal number of vandalized cars with orange ribbons. Irresponsibility crosses all political and religious lines.

There were also numerous recorded/documented accounts of unprovoked police brutality, and written incitement to violence from the media and people on the fringe of the left. I know you feel strongly about condemning bad acts, so I apologize if I somehow missed your condemnation of these things. I'm sure you meant to hold yourself to the same high standard that you do 'the enemy'.

Without actually apologizing for your screed against everybody and everything wearing the color orange, you allow that you "want to believe that the majority of people supporting anti-disengagement do not perpetrate these acts, and I'm sure that it's not everyone." [my emphasis added] Interestingly, what this actually says is that you believe that there might be a few who are not violent and destructive. As retractions go this doesn't go very far.

But then you go and ruin even that by saying, "However, I still stand by my comments though, in that I am disgusted by the acts perpetrated in the name of the anti-disengagement movement."

That's all fine and good but your original 'comments' that started all this were not about acts committed in the name of the disengagement movement, but rather about your written statements that clearly stated that you considered everyone and everything in the color orange to be 'the enemy'.

I am outraged when I see and hear about police brutality but I don't write long tirades against the police. Why? because while these officers are certainly disgracing the police force with their violent and illegal actions, they are not setting policy for the police department and they do not represent the majority of good, hardworking men and women who wear the same uniform!

This kind of nuanced thinking... being able to tell the difference between a bad actor and the stated policies of an entire movement... is what seems to be lacking from your writing.

If you think that violent and destructive behavior makes you angry? You should see the fits of aggravation it causes the leadership of the settler movement. This behavior doesn't help their cause... it hurts it immeasurably!

I have asked you over and over (both publicly and privately) to take ownership of your hateful statements and you have repeatedly dodged responsibility.

The closest you came was when you said, "Perhaps I could have used different phrasing to more carefully emphasize the distinction between people..." But that's not really the same as saying, "I was angry and having a very bad day and inadvertently insulted a very large number of people when my rage was really directed against a few bad actors in their midst. I have re-read my words and realize that I have called a lot of people my enemy who should more correctly have been called my political opponents."

See the difference?

It is natural to be angry with people who don't share your views. It is natural to be frustrated with people who complicate what you believe should be a fairly straight-forward political issue. But when you cross the line from anger /frustration (two emotions that exist on both sides of this issue, I assure you) into baseless hatred... then you have gone too far.

I'm not really interested in what people who are pro-disengagement feel about your rant. You didn't offend them, and you don't owe them (or me) an apology.

Now grow up and finally take ownership of your words (without following up with "but I still stand by my statements...")!

nrg said...

I have a feeling that Treppenwitz needs people to see him as fair and “seeing the bigger picture”. Yet, he won’t see that you have time and again taken ownership of your words. What you are refusing to do is let others tell you what you meant by those words, especially if they are incorrect. Still, the only fault I have found with your original post is the title. " I have seen the enemy and it is orange" was over the line. I think your actual post clarified what you meant by that, but the statement, being the first thing to catch reader's eye, obviously clouded their interpretation of everything that came after. I can see where it was offensive, but why not challenge him and others to write a blog defending the orange movement and refusing to allow fanatics to cloud the clear, peaceful, pro-Israel opinion of anti-disengagement supporters with their horrible actions? I find him superior, judgemental while hating it in others and as someone who is actively enjoying hearing from those who treat him with a bizarre reverence in his blogs while feining “disappointment” in people like you who haven’t proven to be Treppenwitz followers, but rather independent thinkers with points of view that differ from his own.

I came onto these blogs to see the exchange of points of view in an area of the world that desperately needs dialogue, yet there is no dialogue unless everyone is agreeing with one another. Just criticism of writing styles, comments that imply no one knows quite as much as the author of the comment or they would never disagree, and repeated input that, although presented in an intelligent fashion, only emphasises the individual's inability to see an opposing view point.

She, I think that you can stand by your statements while simultaneously apologizing for offending people with them. After all, they are your words. You can do nothing but own them. By not retracting them, you are taking ownership of them, a fact that Treppenwitz doesn't seem willing to admit. What it seems he wants you to say is that you are wrong. As far as I can see, this is a blog with your opinion, which can't be wrong, as it is a subjective opinion. It is merely different from his. You are saying how people's actions have had an effect on your impression of a political view point. You have been clear that you are blaming a small group for clouding your impression of a larger one. You have even chided yourself for allowing this to happen in your own mind, knowing that it is unfair. Although it is a human response and one that all of your readers share. Your opinion can be one-sided (as most are), it can be based on incomplete information (as most are), but it is yours and you have the right to express it.

Treppenwitz has his own blog, which is well-written, has many followers, contains both political and non-political entries, and is just as subjective as any other blog out there. I have taken offense at many of his comments, but I chalk it up to a different point of view, different point of reference, different set of experiences.

I think that you have been unjustly under the gun here. However, it's a blog and you dared to put your ideas out there, so you have to take the feedback as well. Hang in there, She. Don't be discouraged and don't let anyone put words in your mouth.

Liza said...


In the blog entry, I mentioned not once, but twice, that I've actually started asking people for opinions on the subject, precisely to see what they thought. Given the answers I've received, I'd have to say that no, I'm not wrong. Unless, of course these people were lying, but why would they? Obviously, I haven't gotten around to asking everyone in the country, so I suppose that there is a chance that I haven't asked enough people yet.

It is a great loss that Sharon hasn't tried to convince people, though I'm not sure it would have helped, given the deep convictions held by most people on both sides. Still it would have been better had he tried, instead of keeping his feelings to himself and leaving people to wonder what his motives are, as people on both sides are sceptical of his zigzag.

As far as instances of "orange" people condemning acts not being widely reported, that is a point that I brought up. Efforts must be made to get the word out. Otherwise, how are people supposed to know that it's happening? I would love to hear about stuff like this, and indeed, have started cornering my anti-disengagement friends at work just to hear their take on things, precisely to get the bigger picture.

I find your choice of words in the sentence "You go with your gut feelings instead of getting yourselves an informed opinion" to be most interesting, as you are implying that someone else's opinion carries more worth than my opinion. Very condescending of you. With all due respect, a blog is for writing what you feel, and that is exactly what I do, based on my own daily experiences and opinions. I am not required to include other people's opinions in my blog, and just because I happen to disagree with a certain viewpoint doesn't make me any less informed than people who share that viewpoint.

Despite the fact that you claim not to be leaning towards either side, your words say otherwise. Whether or not Palestinians support suicide bombings is irrelevant in this context, yet you constantly feel the need to bring it up, despite the fact (which I've repeated over and over again), that what I'm doing is condemning what I believe to be terrible acts perpetrated by some individuals in the name of the anti-disengagement movement. I never wrote about why I feel we should disengage, yet you continue to bring it up.

Frankly, I must say that I'm getting quite tired of people using my blog as a platform for trying to change my opinions and condemning me for things I haven't even written, often doing it repeatedly! How can I take you all seriously if you won't take the time to actually address what I've written, instead of just trying to push your own opinions on me?

Oh, and believe me. I'm quite serious. Your holier-than-thou, condescending attitude is really starting to bore me. Stop trying to play the neutral, concerned party, because it's just not working. Your agenda is clear to all who read your comments, and I think you need to get over yourself. Suffice it to say, my original opinion of you has changed.

Ruth said...


my original opinion of you has not changed. You seem to have some difficutlies handling critical comments, however, I probably would still enjoy having coffee with you.

Of course, you are entitled to your opinions and your blog is definetly the place to air them. On the other hand, I am as well entitled to my opinions and if you do not want any discussing of your views you should disable the comment function.

I do not quite understand what you say about your personal poll. Whom are you interviewing, the orange or the blue crowd? Do orange people really tell you that they support the violent actions by the most militant protesters?

With regard to political issues I feel that gut feelings are not a solid enough basis. Maybe I sound condescending, maybe I am. The background is that I defined myself as a leftie without much thinking on my positions until October 2000. Since then I have done a lot of backgound reading, checking, and thinking.

Actually you did bring up why you are pro disengagment and incidentally I agree with you on this (demography).

Ruth said...


so you are Norwegian, aren't you?

nrg said...

Ruth, nope, but I live here! Lovely day today, blue sky! We may even hit 70...I've forgotten what summer feels like! Am actually wearing a sweater today!

It's probably comments like "these issues go beyond your emotional well being" that have helped to anger She. I don't think she minds that you disagree with her, I think she minds the times that you have told her what her comments mean instead of telling her what her comments mean TO YOU. There is a bit of a difference there, but when combined with your tone, which I also think has sounded rather condescending, it is very inflamatory.

Does my sitting at a desk in Oslo make my comments here less valid? Just checking as the term "Oslo disaster" has come up on some sites I've visited. Wouldn't want to be discounted because of geography...

Ha det bra! :-)

Ruth said...


I already admitted to probably beining condescending... The converts usually are the most ardent believers.

Still I think that there is a difference between "believing" in something (like peace-loving Palestinians) and trying to check out actual Palestinian attitudes by studying intra Palestinian polls and that the latter approach is better in political issues.

Liza said...

NRG's post(s) has(have) hit the nail right on the head. I don't care if you disagree with what I've written, just don't try to change their meaning to suit your needs. Just as you are entitled to your opinions, I am entitled to mine, and certainly don't deserve your condescension only because you seem to think that you've seen the light, so to speak. And, for the record, when I was in university, I considered myself a right-winger. This has changed over time, following, as you put it, "a lot of backgound reading, checking, and thinking".

With regard to my reasons for being in favor of disengagement, I didn't actually mention it in a post, rather as a reaction to a comment. In my posts, I never tried to convince people in either direction, but have only tried to point out how the acts of one select group of individuals are creating feelings of serious dislike among a number of other individuals. This is the only point that I've been trying to get across, and it is quite amazing to see what it has morphed into.

nrg said...

Ruth, read the poll...it actually shows an increase in a trend of "peace-loving" Palestinians. The percentage in opposition to suicide bombings have been increasing. It looked like a very positive poll to me.

(...she pauses and waits for the backlash...)

Ruth said...


OK - I can also formally ask for your foregiveness for the condenscending tone I used inadvertedly in some of my comments.

I am actually looking for discussions with intelligent and well-informed people holding opposite view points. These are the people who can offer most to me.

"how the acts of one select group of individuals are creating feelings of serious dislike among a number of other individuals"

I quite agree with you that the serious dislike is there. I do not agree that the acts of the group is the sole or main reason behind it. I think that
a) the players in politics as well as in the media have used the easy way of demonizing the settlers/anti-disengagement crowd b} and that people have some responsibility for their feelings as well. Nobody can make me hate him or her if I do not allow myself to feel hate.

Ruth said...


no doubt, I also felt encouraged about this poll.

By the way it could be argued that the heavy price that Israel has forced the Palestinian population to pay for their support of the so-called Al-Aksa-Intifada has induced this trend.

I am not calling the Palestians war-loving. I only object to over- simple mantras.

nrg said...

Ruth: "I am not calling the Palestians war-loving. I only object to over- simple mantras."
Which mantras are you referring to? Curious.

One can argue almost any view point, by the way, or those view points probably wouldn't exist. Not sure anyone could convince me that the price Israel has made the Palestinians pay for the Intifada makes them less supportive of those who strike back anymore than someone could convince me that Israelis are more in favor of lesser sanctions and reactions when a suicide bomber takes out the local cafe and 10's of innocents....but they are welcome to try!

Have we all calmed down in the last few posts? This seems to have returned to a nice relaxed sharing of view points! What a pleasure. This is Oslo signing off for the evening (wow, am even logging on from home now... I think I'm hooked...and only one week of blogging...)

nrg said...

After much rereading and thinking, I wanted to apologize to Treppenwitz for using somethingsomething as my venue for venting frustrations and offense that stemmed both from his responses to comments on his blog as well as comments that I felt were misplaced here on this blog.

It would have been much more appropriate to have taken these issues up with him personally, which I have since done (at his initiative, not my own-I might add!). I am guilty of using my anger from his comments which had no relation to this blog entry to inflate my criticism of his comments on this blog, which is an unfair tactic.

When it comes to how many of his comments to She were worded, I do not retract my impression that he was condescending and superior and judgemental and that he was demanding something of She that he had no right to demand, as this is her blog and her opinion will always be that...her opinion. But I made this critcism into a generalization about how I find him to be ALL THE TIME, and that is not the case. I do think that perhaps he means something else than I do when it comes to ownership of words. Since I think She had taken it and he doesn't. But that is for another discussion.

I apologize to Treppenwitz for my rant which he took the brunt of. I thought She was getting unfairly trampled on and I directed all of that at him , when he was not the sole source. My defense of She and my opinions written were a very correct reflection of my thoughts and feelings when I wrote them, don't get me wrong. And I still disagree with Treppenwitz on many points and stand by many of my statements in my previous post (which I would refer to here except that I am technologically impaired and don't know how everyone else does all that cool stuff). However, my rant, when I read it again, took a real personal slant towards Treppenwitz and that was unfair and inappropriate. This is a place to exchange ideas and not a place to name call.

Ruth said...


Well, I would say that the different terror waves have also influenced Israeli thinking. In Rabin's times a Palestinian state was still anathema to a significant part of the population. Now only the far-right fringe still denies that the Palestinians will have their state in the end.

The mantra I was referring to was "many peace-loving Palestinians": define "many" (see statistics), define "peace" (in Arabic it is often coupled with justice and justice usually means getting all their demands), define "loving" (what exactly are they willing to offer for peace?), define "Palestinians" (the Arabic
population of the territories or all the descendants of 1948 refugees included?)

zahava said...

At the risk of my comments too strongly identifying with the title of the post I am going to add another 2 cents to this over-boiling pot....

She: for better or for worse (and judging by your reference to the volume of your email it has been the latter) the TITLE of your original post decrying the extremist behaviour of members of the orange camp set the tone for what followed. No matter how I hard I tried, I could not banish that battle cry from my head, and had great difficulty completing the rest of your post.

Using your logic on why the majority of the blues believe the majority of oranges support the extremist acts, the majority of oranges could (and should) assume that the majority of blues don't give a damn about the plight of the families who will be evacuated against their will. After all, where are the hoards of blues acknowledging the heroic pioneering sacrifices that nearly three generations worth of families made 30 years ago WITH governmental blessings? Where are their homecoming parades? Where are the thank you's of a grateful nation? Grateful for the settlers' magnanimous spirit of their effort? Saddened by the need for them to now lose their homes, businesses, and worst of all their dreams?

IMHO, the most egregious sin of the disengagement is not the government decision to redefine our borders. While I personally do not understand the wisdom of this decision, I'd like to believe that those who decide issues of national security have a tad more knowledge than the girl who majored in Fine Arts... IMHO, the most egregious sin of the disengagement was the tactical decision by the lefties to demonize the citizens who will by the enactment of the redefinition our borders be forcibly evicted from their homes.

Of course these settlers are going to be angry and disenfranchised. HELLO?! WHO WOULDN'T BE?! They risked it all and beat the odds by creating an agricultural utopia by the sea. And their reward for their accomplishments is to be treated like a Vietnam veteran returning to the US circa 1973. These people would probably not be so disenfrachised if the political party which so emphatically DENOUNCED the transfer of Arabs didn't embrace their forcible eviction! To further the Vietnam vet analogy, calling these people the enemy is like spitting on a marine who watched his friends and comrades butchered by the Vietcong and calling him an Anti-American traitor.

Think about how different the national dialog might be if those reluctant to leave their lives behind them in Gush Katif might be had been treated like heroes instead of criminals. For that matter think about how different the national dialog COULD be if both sides would simply scrap the vicious rhetoric and at least take for granted that while we have wildy different ideas of how to achieve more secure borders that we actually are fighting for the same thing.

While you may be legitimately disgusted by the extremist acts -- most of us are! -- the broad strokes you used to paint your disgust unfairly colored a majority of innocents with a prejudicial brush due to assumptions. I suspect the nature of the responses you received were so very intense because the respondees felt personally attacked by you from the outset.

nrg said...

"...and I can respect that it will not be easy for these people who have invested all of their lives in building their homes and communities, creating livelihoods and families, suddenly having to start from scratch. It is natural for them to be upset, as anyone being forced to uproot would be."

This is from She's first post on the topic of disengagement.

I thought that I should put it in because I get the feeling from Zahava's post that she felt that any type of sympathy for the settlers or attempt at understanding where they are coming from was lacking from this blog. It was actually one of the first points made.

Also, we have both touched on a point in our comments here (mine from Aug 4th, although it needs to be sorted out from my rage against Treppenwitz) that it was the use of enemy in the title that really lit the fire under this discussion. I think at the end of the day, there has been an unspoken agreement that those who are against removing the settlers need to be more vocal when denouncing violent acts done "on their behalf" by extremists. I think that Treppenwitz did exactly that in his post "Reap what you Sow" (I would link it, but alas, I don't know how!). That was where all of this discussion began.

I would be my hope that in addition to moving beyond the labels of left and right, we can also move beyond titles, get to the content and not get so caught up in what word was used that we lose sight of the intent of the comment and the opinion that the commenter meant to express (however eloquently or awkwardly it may have been done). We are writing opinions about subjects that hit very close to home with many people. If an exchange of ideas is to be at all possible, if we want to be open to the possibility of learning a thing or two from our fellow concerned human beings (regardless of whether or not we agree with them)...then I think we need to put the fingers down (there's been a lot of finger pointing here, by myself as well) and listen.

I was once asked the question, "Do you listen or do you wait to talk?". I was sad to admit that I belong in the second category. Sometimes I am planning my rebuttal before I've even finished reading a comment...

So, do we read, or do we wait to write???

One last comment, I do take issue with the Vietnam veteran analogy. The veterans very much wanted to come home, which makes their lack of a home-coming all that much worse.

As far as I can see, the settlers don't want to come back. It may not make what you see as a lack of a home-coming, or recognition for their lives spent working to build communities at the request of their nation any less sad, but it is a distinct difference.

And remember, Zahava, read beyond the title, although it may be difficult. No one, at least not in this blog, has called the settlers the enemy. Settlers and those in favor of them staying in the settlements have been, in some cases, incorrectly "represented" and I think the point that started all this is that not enough people said "You don't have the right to represent me with abhorrant acts". I'm would think that She found Treppenwitz's Reap what we sow blog to be just what she's been looking for.

Liza said...


Just to add to what nrg said...

I have stated that I know it will be hard for these people to leave everything behind. Seeing some of their stories played out on the news recently was very depressing, and I honestly do feel bad for what they are going through. That being said, I still think it's the right thing to do, as painful as it is.

As far as "acknowledging the heroic pioneering sacrifices that nearly three generations worth of families made 30 years ago WITH governmental blessings, homecoming parades, and thank you's of a grateful nation", while it once may have been perceived as a heroic sacrifice, I think these feelings are long gone, replaced by resentment due to the preferential treatment and benefits given to settlers at the expense of those living within the Green Line, like improving infrastructure in the territories (which is already quite good) while people in South Tel Aviv have to live with flooded homes every Winter when it rains, or the fact that in my town, some of the roads aren't paved at all. Then of course, there are the special tax breaks. Don't even get me started on the horrible state of most Arab/Druze towns in Israel.

You say, "IMHO, the most egregious sin of the disengagement was the tactical decision by the lefties to demonize the citizens who will by the enactment of the redefinition our borders be forcibly evicted from their homes."

This demonization that you refer to did not happen in a vacuum. I would have been in favor of disengagement no matter what. My feelings regarding those being evicted is a different matter. I feel bad for those who will lose their homes, and I am sure that anyone with even a shred of humanity feels the same. However, it has gotten to a point where we can't watch any news show on television without seeing anti-disengagement protesters battling it out with members of the security forces, whether it be physically or verbally, or, earlier on, being forced to sit in traffic jams because the roads are being blocked, listening to comparisons between what is happening in Gaza to the Holocaust, or comparisons between the anti-disengagement movement and MLK or Gandhi. We are tired of watching parents allow their children to enter potentially dangerous situations and listening to others trying to justify the use of children in "the struggle". So, while yes, we hurt while watching individuals lose their homes, our sympathy runs dry when we see the tactics being used.

You say, "Think about how different the national dialog might be if those reluctant to leave their lives behind them in Gush Katif might be had been treated like heroes instead of criminals."

I say, think about how different the national dialog might be if people in the anti-disengagement movement didn't feel that it was okay to hold an entire nation hostage with its tactics, justifying even the most morally bankrupt acts because it's for the cause.

Anonymous said...

A) I never said She didn't feel empathy for the soon-to-be evicted settlers, I said that there has been a remarkable silence by the greater blue majority

B) I am not a person who waits to talk, and I resent the insinuation, NRG. The implication that the impact of the title should be lessened because some (SOME!) of the following commentary is less inflammatory is like excusing a person who enters a crowded theater and yells FIRE! and follows it with, "now that I have your attention, there is a small matter I would like to discuss...."

C) The demonization of the settlers occurred long before the demonstrations began. It seems to have begun around the time of the Oslo Accords -- almost as though the only way the country could come to terms with amputating a part of itself was to convince itself that the limb had become diseased.

Lastly, I have never had an issue with She's opinion, or her politics. I have never asked, or intimated, that she should retract her position or defend her feelings. I have asked that She acknowledge that calling someone who differs with her perspective "the enemy" is provocative. Much in the same way that she is entitled (free speech and all) to say it, I am have the right to be offended, and to point out that ratcheting up the rhetoric will not build bridges nor will it help establish better understanding. I do not believe that any of my words can be construed as a personal attack on She or her ideas.

It saddens me to see the rifts in Israeli society growing wider rather than knitting together. I know no other way to mend this other than urging people to speak more respectfully to one another and to find ways to agree-to-disagree. NRG, I whole heartedly agree that we MUST find ways to move beyond the labels of left and right. However, I think that if we as a society move beyond titles and the word choices we make, we will badly dilute the power of language and thus further erode society's abiltiy to communicate effectively and with real meaning.

The point that I was trying to make with my previous comment is that for every accusation of silence from the majority that can be made against one side, one can be made against the other, and because of this neither side has the right to claim moral superiority. There is lots that both sides can do to tone down the viciousness. Unless we ALL learn to modify our language, restrain our tempers, and opt for constructive rather than destructive expressions of our opinions, there is far more to be lost than gained.

nrg said...

Zahava, I am making the assumption that you posted as anonymous this past time.
I was disturbed by the anger in your response. I did not mean to spark anger at all, so I was surprised to feel it pouring out of your words. I will try to tackle what you've said.

A) No, you did not say that She didn't feel empathy, I was pointing out someone from the 'greater blue majority' who has shown and stated it by including She's earlier quote.

B) Had I wished to ask you directly whether you listen or wait to talk, I would have done just that. I put out a question to the blog population, using an inclusive "we", and this only after admitting that I am often guilty of creating my response as I read. There was no insinuation intended and I'm sorry that you read it that way. It was a comment made as part of the previous paragraph hoping that we can get away from right and left labels, not get hung up on semantics and really listen to other people who are concerned enough about issues to discuss them in this forum.

B) contd. An inflamatory title that is explained in the content that follows cannot be compared to shouting FIRE falsely in a theater. The degrees of severity are very different. Fire is a life threatening dangerous thing. I understand the point that you are trying to make, but I believe that such a comparison is blowing this out of proportion.

C) I have never thought of the settlers as diseased or demonic. I have not felt that feeling emenating from the world that I am a part of. Is that something that you think is internal, Israelis thinking these thoughts? This is a straight forward question, not sarcastic or rhetorical in any way. It's just not an opinion that I've heard.

Have I accused you of personally attacking She? I am not sure if I should take that paragraph personally or if is is just something that you wanted to state. I don't think that you have attacked either. In fact, this is the first article where you've seemed angry with an individual, and that appears to be me. On the whole I find your writing to be reflective and your goal to be unity rather than division.

I agree that language is incredibly powerful and must be carefully used, and I did not suggest that we move beyond titles and word choices. I said read beyond the title, not to ignore it. If we want to understand one another it is wise to use our intellect to comprehend an entire text and not get stuck on a word or phrase to the point that the whole meaning is lost. That can also erode our ability to communicate.

zahava said...

Yes, sorry, anonymous is Zahava. I meant to include my name.

Ruth said...


on the strength of also being Israeli an on having touched the issue myself, I will answer your question to Zahava.

Yes, these are thoughts being thought in Israel: Zahava is quite right. The demonization of the settlers started around Oslo I. During that time Rabin and Perez also acted as divisive force within the nation. I remember the time well, I was then living in Jerusalem and learning Hebrew. My teacher sometimes used Rabin's slurs against settlers as example for military slang.

zahava said...

NRG, I must respectfully disagree with you that my FIRE! analogy is out of proportion. The political situation here is a virtual tinder box. The smallest spark could erupt a raging and uncontrollable brush fire (on either side), which is why people must be responsible with their words.

zahava said...

BTW, my A, B, C response was not in anger. It was simply a clarification on issues which I perceived to be taken out of context in responses by both She and NRG. I am a direct person, but not confrontational -- and when I AM, believe me, you'll know! :-)

nrg said...

I would love a response acknowledging that perhaps you misunderstood me and accept that I did not insinuate anything when it comes to your point B. It was not a clarification, it was a direct comment expressing your resentment at being categorized, which I have explained was not at all what I was doing. We do need to be responsible with our words.

Ruth, thank you for your input. I will never get the full picture or hear all opinions sitting here in Oslo. It is sad that tactics are used to sway public opinion and stereotype a large group of people who are mainly just trying to live their lives the best way that they know how. That happens too much in today's (and yesterday's) world.

And Zahava, of course you can respectfully disagree, and I fully expected you too. We'll just have to continue to think differently on the FIRE point. But we're both entitled!

I'm glad that you were not angry and that I misunderstood the tone of your post.

zahava said...

NRG, as the question you posed regarding "waiting to hear or speak" was the conclusion to a number of points which WERE a direct response to things I had said, I hope you can see how I felt that this too was addressed to me. I accept, and appreciate, your insistance that it was not.

nrg said...


Of course I can see how you interpreted what I wrote the way that you did.

That is why I clarified. And why I think getting roped into words is so dangerous. Our thoughts are our own, and even when we sit at the computer composing and reading and rereading our own comments before pressing the "no turning back" PUBLISH YOUR COMMENT button, our words can almost never say EXACTLY what we want to say. Sometimes when read by someone with a different frame of reference, mindset, mood, etc, etc, our words can be read in a way that was not intended at all. I am not placing blame here, I am just saying that we are communicating without the benefit of facial expressions, tone of voice, and our words may misrepresent us. I may not be able to see all of the various ways that others could interpret what I write, even though I am convinced that I have been clear, concise and fair.

What is most important to me is to get to the intent behind the words. With some writers that is more difficult than with others. But the back and forth lets us get to the heart of the message. Sometimes I find that my first understanding was wrong and have to change my opinion. Sometimes my opinion is confirmed. My job is to be open to either outcome.

Jack's Shack said...

So much fingerpointing.