Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It's not easy being blue and white

Sorry for the silence lately. Life has been hectic, and I haven't really had the time or energy to concentrate on blogging. I've also realized that the focus has changed around here, and I'm not packing quite the punch that I used to. I've been feeling rather frustrated and dissatisfied, and generally too annoyed with the state of the world to actually write about it. It's hard to write passionately about politics and current events when global affairs has taken on a "same shit different day" quality, and I can't seem to write myself into a frenzy about events that have become all too predictable, not to mention overwhelmingly pathetic.

I suppose the biggest story these days is Iranian President Ahmadinejad's visit to New York and speech at Columbia University. Too say that I'm simply bowled over by people's naivete as far as this man is concerned would be an understatement. I almost felt sorry for the Columbia student interviewed on Fox News (I was channel surfing, lest you think that I actually watch Fox – the channel once referred to by the Husband as a pretend news channel) who believed that having Ahmadinejad speak would perhaps create an opportunity for dialog and understanding, as people would have a chance to hear what he had to say and to ask him "tough" questions. Frankly, I can't see myself developing understanding or wanting to dialog with a head of state who openly questions whether or not the Holocaust took place, calls for the country I call home to be "wiped off the map", and claims that there are no homosexuals in his country, but hey, that's just me.

Tales of Mahmoud in the big city weren't the only saga to get my knickers in a twist yesterday. As you all know, I decided several months ago that comment moderation would be required. I was tired of providing a voice for people who seemed to believe that my blog could be used as a platform for some rather serious venom spewing, like the individual who periodically pops up to inform me that I'm spreading ideological AIDS and should be locked up or to astound me with incredibly racist, hate-filled comments about Germans (in response to this post) and Arabs. While this individual drops by for a visit only once every few months or so, the visits are rather long-winded, and the number of comments awaiting moderation skyrockets, as he or she sends comment after comment after comment, with barely enough time for a bathroom break in between.

There are those who would say that I'm deserving of such comments, given the nature of my politics. There are many who believe that I am too accommodating and too naive/ignorant/stupid when it comes to Palestinian/Arab issues, and these people don't hesitate to share their opinions with me – sometimes respectfully, but often, not so much. For those of you, however, who might choose to believe that I go too far, there are others who believe that I don't go far enough. Yesterday morning, I had the pleasure of discovering four comments awaiting moderation, all from someone named Liza. I have a cousin named Liza, and given that I'd sent her a birthday message the day before, I assumed the comments were from her. Suffice it to say that I was wrong. Very wrong. This woman had googled her own name, and thus found my blog. From the comments she left, I gather she wasn't terribly impressed by what she had read.

Comment #1 reads as follows:

"Hi, Liza,
How would you like to be living in Gaza?

Or how would you like to have been living in Lebanon during the summer of 2006.

Ah, yes, the message is slow. But people will eventaully (sic) get it. In fact, most of
the world gets it. "
Comment #2:

"Oh, blog approval is needed.
Ha Ha
Bet you get a lot of hate mail."
And in case you weren't getting the full gist of her feelings, here's comment number three:

"You're full of it, Liza. I'm so sick and tired of people who find the foreign policy of the state of Israel to be despicable accused of being anti-Semitic. No, you do not know the difference and don't claim that you do.

I do not know a Jewish person when I see one and I know nothing about your religion. That is true of almost everyone.

It is Israel that I have a problem with.

Anyhow, I have to stop reading your blog. It just infuriates me.

I have an idea for Israel that they haven't thought of yet.

STOP KILLING INNOCENT PEOPLE. Stop saying that you were looking for such and such a "terrorist" and using that as an excuse for genocide.

God, please let me live to see the day when the US does not pay for Israel's wars against the Arabs. "
And the utterly charming comment number four:

"A human face on the monster known as Israel?

Good luck.

The monster remains a monster. Stop killing Palestinians and maybe in a few
generations you might look different.

The victim becomes the aggressor. It happens all the time. In this case, the victim turned aggressor is more brutal than could ever be imagined. And my tax dollars support it, against my will, of course.

Go ahead and moderate me, Liza. I'm kind of sorry we have the same name. That's how I happened to find your little blog.

I thought I would share this little message with you. The truth will eventually
spread in the US. Truth does that. And one day Americans will realize they do
not have to shoulder the blame for the Holocaust. Has there ever been a more
complete and total guilt transfer?

Maybe one day Americans will realize that Muslims are not all terrorists and that what is taking place in Gaza is genocide.

Good bye, Liza, lady with my name. I won't be back to your little propaganda filled world. Just wanted to leave you a message."
Kermit the Frog thought it wasn't easy being green. I bet it's a picnic compared to being blue and white...

14 comments:

Liza said...

Well, I did return and I'm surprised that you posted my comments even though in a somewhat different manner than the others.

Yes, I am extremely angry about what is happening in Gaza. And, I was just as angry about Lebanon in the summer of 2006. And, I do not want the US to attack Iran. Yes, I am angry.

However, there is no way to have a reasonable discussion with anyone when your words are written in anger. So, for that I apologize.
In fact, no discussion is even possible between people who are diametrically opposed to one another, and it makes very little sense to attack people verbally under any circumstances.

Forgive the intrusion, Liza. You have every right to your opinions and I'm sure you have no interest in what I think about them.

the dame said...

I will be the first to say that I am ill informed regarding the Israeli Palestinian Conflict. Better informed, perhaps, than many of my fellow U.S. citizens but still only barely conversant on the issue.

That being said, I think it is valuable to read the perspective of average (not that you are in any way ordinary!) individuals living their daily lives in the midst of this ongoing dispute (what a horribly insufficient word...). If someone is enraged by what you have to say - they don't have to keep reading.

I think it's important to note that instead of addressing you as though you are a person - a fellow human being and an individual - the "other Liza" degenerates into writing to you as though you ARE Israel and spewing her venom in a more general fashion (I could be wrong but I am fairly certain that you have not personally killed anyone.)

And just a few factual issues with her ranting - in spite of the ignorance of a vocal minority, most Americans are well aware that being Muslim in no way means someone is a terrorist. And she writes that, "...I know nothing about your religion. That is true of almost everyone." Obviously I am confused. She IS referring to Judaism, is she not? Not exactly this little start-up religion that no one has heard of.

I respect and enjoy reading your perspective because you call it like you see it regarding the actions of your own government as well as the government of Palestine ...and for the record, I think it's fairly reasonable to take issue with anyone debating your country's right TO EXIST.

Liza said...

Liza: I can understand your anger at what is happening in this region. If you had taken the time to go through my blog, you would have discovered that I share a great deal of that anger. If you had taken the time to read some of the posts that I've written about the Palestinians over the years, or the posts I've written criticizing the Israeli government - especially with regard to the way the war was handled last summer, you might have come to the realization that I am not the monster you seem to think I am.

As I mentioned in my post, I am often attacked by people who strongly disagree with my politics and opinions, and have been called everything from stupid to crazy to spreading ideological AIDS because I support a two-state solution and refuse to believe that all Arabs and all Muslims are terrorists out for my blood. I believe that the Palestinians should have their own recognized state, and I believe that most Palestinians do want peace.

That being said, at this juncture, I believe that the Palestinians are, for the most part, suffering under a crisis of their own making, and as long as the Hamas government in Gaza prefers to concentrate its efforts on hating Israel and firing rockets at innocent Israelis (and the people of Sderot are about as innocent as they come) at the expense of helping their own people and working to build up their society, as long as Hamas continues to call for my destruction and refuses to accept our right to even exist, I really have no idea how a solution can be reached. Israel does not have a partner in Gaza. (Don't even get me started on Iran...)

Reasonable discussions can always be had as long as both sides continue to respect one another. If you were to look through the comments sections on this blog, you would discover some fascinating dialog between people whose views are diametrically opposed. You will discover that my commenters run the gamut of personalities and nationalities - right-wing Jews and left-wing Jews, Arabs, and an assortment of individuals who are interested in such exchanges.

I welcome these exchanges, for they create an opportunity for understanding. I refuse to allow the spewing of hatred and venom, and do not tolerate personal attacks. Some bloggers allow their comments sections to be turned into a free-for-all where everything and anything goes. I do not.

You are welcome to share your opinions here in the interest of dialog and understanding, as long as they are relevant to the post at hand or any subsequently developing threads, and as long as they are respectful. Those are the rules (which are generally the guidelines that I try to live by in my offline discussions and relationships as well).

As for whether or not I have an interest in what you think of my views, well, as those who know me can tell you, I am always interested in hearing what people have to say, as long as they are open to discussion and not simply attacking me (and blaming me for the actions of my government) with hate-filled diatribes. The choice, obviously, is yours. If you are interested in dialog, you are welcome. If not, you are probably better off reading other blogs.

Liza said...

Dame: Thank you for your kind words. It never ceases to amaze me how the subject of Israel can bring people to the brink of apoplexy faster than any other subject. While Israel is far from innocent in its actions, there are quite a few other countries whose governments are just as bad if not far worse, and these governments do not receive anywhere near the amount of condemnation that Israel receives, which is incredibly frustrating, given the fact that most of these other governments are not coming under almost daily rocket fire from their neighbors or grappling with issues of regional acceptance and recognition and a variety of threats.

Ordinarily, I wouldn't allow such comments as the ones I've listed in this post to see the light of day on my blog. While I welcome dialog and differing opinions, I'm not terribly fond of blind hatred and anger, and don't appreciate being blamed for the actions of a government that I myself criticize and condemn far more than I praise.

I think I also wanted to give people the opportunity to step into my shoes as an English-language Israeli blogger. I've been attacked simply because of where I live, and have often elicited nasty comments on that basis alone, regardless of my political beliefs. The most liberal members of our corner of the blogosphere, those who believe in and participate in dialogs with Palestinians and other Arabs, those who fervently believe in a two-state solution, etc are attacked for not going farther, for not supporting ideas that would essentially be suicidal for Israel as a nation.

Most people who blog do it for fun, and often don't have to worry about the repercussions of what they write. I can write about music videos from the 80s, but will still be villified for living in Israel, will be asked how I feel about the Israeli army killing Palestinian children, etc. Very frustrating and very tiring.

the dame said...

Just one more thought - I don't know if you realize this, but I think it is valuable for the online community as a whole and in particular for bloggers living in other parts of the world to read what you have to say about Israeli Palestinian relations BECAUSE you also blog about being a mother and your memories of listening to Dire Straits.

People in other parts of the world - particularly those living in a country like mine (the U.S.) where we are so sheltered - listen to the news and it all seems so distant from us. It is important to read your blog - in which you take great pains to acknowledge all aspects of the issue and get flak from both sides for your efforts - and see that you, too, are just a person trying to raise a child and having memories of many of the same pop culture icons and going through all the same mundane aspects of life that women everywhere are.

Except I've never had to keep government issued gas masks in my back closet and when my government can't settle a dispute with another government the bombing is almost certain not to take place in my proverbial backyard.

Reading blogs like yours is how I constantly remind myself that the "news" isn't simply "news" - it is reports of political decisions and military actions and terrorist attacks that are impacting the lives of people all over the world who are no different from me. I hope you never stop sharing your opinion and perspective. Because I need it.

nrg said...

visitor liza:
I have admiration for your comment above. It isn't easy to take a step back, see that comments you wrote in anger were not constructive and to then apologize. I respect that.

I hope that you continue to read Liza's blog. She gives an inside opinion, and it (as with so much we read) can never be more than an opinion. But it is a valid, well thought out, clearly and concisely expressed opinion. I don't always agree with these opinions (even though Liza is one of the best friends I have ever or will ever have), but reading them gives me great insight into a world I cannot fully understand from a distance. Her opinions make me think. Sometimes it is too easy to take a side, get worked up over an injustice, work myself into a corner where I only see one "right" and one "wrong". Liza helps me to reconsider, set my perceptions on their ear, test my own logic, take a step back when I need to. It doesn't mean she always convinces me or that we always see eye to eye. It does mean that I deeply respect her opinion and her decision to share it. If you choose to return here and participate, you will always be treated fairly by Liza. She will also always demand that others treat you and your comments fairly. And she'll hold you to the same requirement. It makes this blog a great venue for open dialogue and discussion. The more opinions, the better that discussion will be.

But what you find here can never be described as propoganda. It's a blog. No more, no less. And it's a pretty damn good blog...variety, human interest, really cool 80's music, tributes to friends, pieces of what make Liza unique. I hope that you come back and that you and all commenters give this blog the respect that it deserves.


Now, the real question... will I make it past comment moderation??? :-)

Life Out East said...

Don't let them get you down Liza. You're entitled to your opinion, you live in a democracy! I for one enjoy your blog and agree with most of what you say, though would politely let you know the minute you say something that angers me ;-)

Keep it up!

lisoosh said...

There I was all ready to get riled up and there the woman goes and apologizes. And you handle it perfectly.
Back to my little corner....

SnoopyTheGoon said...

I got mixed up with Lizas here. Oh boy, why don't I get my (richly deserved, IMHO) share.

Holmes said...

On behalf of the Jewish people, apology not accepted, even though that wasn't an apology. Such hate talk throughout the ages has lead to killings of jewish people in great numbers. The arab visitor is ignorant and should read some history books instead of listening to what her clansmen are saying.

Liza said...

Holmes: With all due respect, I don't believe that Liza was apologizing to all Jewish people everywhere. She was apologizing to me for her tone and for attacking me personally. I don't think that she's an Arab, but rather a very angry American with legitimate issues that were, unfortunately, shared in a venomous, hate-filled manner incorrectly directed at me personally. For her, at that moment, I was her face of Israel.

Her original tone was indeed very unfortunate, but there were actually a few points mentioned that I agreed with, regarding Gaza and Lebanon (for the record, I was quite offended by the tone and content of most of what she wrote).

Hatred is never helpful, and such talk is certainly not conducive to civilized dialog and discourse. That being said, everyone is entitled to their opinions, and as long as they are expressed in a respectful manner, they are welcome here.

Holmes said...

Liza, war is ugly, but in any war you first duty is to protect your self and your own. I feel very sorry for the children in Gaza. Maybe if their own parents would feel half as sorry for them they would not use them as human shields for terrorists, and not support those who do.

Tololy said...

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant! Thanks for letting me know about this interaction, Liza (the blogger). I just wish my hate-mail-sender realized what she had done as well.

Let's chat someday :)

montchan (MJ Bliss) said...

Visitor Liza's comments seem to be the popular opinion here in Sweden, shared by politicos, journos, and the masses at large. Sad but true.