Sunday, July 16, 2006

Can You Guess Who said Each Quote?

The late Rabbi Meir Kahane (zl) is known by many as a politically extremist Orthodox Jew. Rabbi Kahane, born in New York on August 1st, 1932 and was assassinated by Egyptian-American El-Sayyid Nosair on November 5th, 1990 in New York City. Rabbi Kahane was an avid writer of articles and books, was a lawyer, lectured in universities and institutions, and favored the creation of a political system making Jewish Law the core of Israeli legal law, or a theocracy. He founded the “ultra-radical Kach Party” in 1974, to which membership was eventually outlawed by Israeli law. He proclaimed that the removal of Israeli Arabs into the surrounding Arab states as the only way to end the conflict. His premise was that population exchanges often end hostile national, social, ethnic, and political conflicts, and have been completed numerous times in human political history in order to resolve conflicts. Further, he stated that a population exchange indeed began with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 when the Arab states expelled almost the entirety of their Jewish populations, whom had lived there for generations and had become thoroughly culturally assimilated as Arabs. From approximately 930,000 Jews living in the Arab countries before 1948, some 850,000 to 900,000 were forced to flee, leaving the population at around 30,000 to 35,000 Jews. In other words, 91%-97% of the Jewish population left those countries and around 550,000-600,000 of them, or 61%-66%, fled to Israel. It would have been a population exchange, but that there was no exchange made it a population transfer. According to the International Journal of Refugee Law website, “The compatibility of population transfers with humanitarian and human rights law in a given situation is thus relevant in determining whether a consolidation of the demographic fait accompli could serve as a basis for a lasting solution to conflict.”

The late Edward Wadie Said (pronounced “Sayyid”) was born on November 1st, 1935 in Jerusalem, Palestine (by international politics it became recognized as Israel on May 14th, 1948) and died on September 25th, 2003 in New York City from Leukemia. He was a Protestant Arab intellectual and his life career was education, having written many books and lecturing on what he believed was the colonialism and racism of the country of Israel and the errors in American and Israeli politics regarding the Arab world in many colleges and other institutions. He was outspokenly and ardently anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, and according to many opinions, anti-Semitic. He proclaimed the illegality of the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 and condemned its wars as being “expansionist” and “colonialist,” especially the war of 1967 (Six Day War) with the Jordanians, Egyptians, and Syrians, which caused for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as we know it today.

Here is a series of quotes from both Rabbi Meir Kahane and Edward Said. However, I left no indication of which person said which quote and the point of this is to see if you can successfully identify which person is responsible for which. The answers are at the end of the post.

Quote #1
“Both the organizer of the seminar and myself tried to push past the storm of insults and slurs, asking that people dispute with me on the basis of contested facts or figures. None was forthcoming. My crime seemed to be that I opposed the peace process, even though it was also the case that what I said about it in fact was true. My opponents were in every case people who described themselves as supporters of Peace Now (i.e., liberal Jews) and hence of peace with Palestinians.”

Quote #2
“There is an ultimately immutable clash between that part of Israel’s Declaration of Independence that created the Jewish state and the part that promised ‘complete equality of social and political rights to all its citizens,’ even though they be Arabs and not Jews. There is – let it be said once and for all – a potential confrontation between the Jewish-Zionist state that was the millennial dream of the Jewish people and the modern concepts of democracy and citizenship.”

Quote #3
“We are now supposed to feel that peace is moving forward and to question anything about the ‘peace process’ is tantamount to being an ungrateful, treasonous, wretch. I spoke in terms of facts and figures, and I was unsparing in my criticism of all the parties to the peace process.”

Quote #4
“Oslo gave Israelis and supporters of Israel a sense that the Palestinian problem had been solved, once and for all; it also gave liberals a sense of achievement, particularly as the 'peace' under attack by Likud and settler movement.”

Who said it?

Quote one

Quote two

Quote three

Quote four

If the quotes sounded similar to you, think about the implications of this. Rabbi Kahane and Edward Said were definitely on opposite ends of the spectrum on many things, yet, strangely, they seem to be saying something similar, nay, essentially equal, that the process by which peace is being pursued is flawed and impossible to attain. How can it be that an Israel-loving Orthodox Rabbi and an Israel-hating Palestinian intellectual are saying the same things, albeit with different conclusions in mind, about the same peace process? Both blame liberal Jews for being overly optimistic and naive. Both say that the status quo between Israelis and Palestinians is impossible. Both believe that the other should leave because the Arabs cannot accept a Jewish presence in the land. In other words, Rabbi Kahane believes that the Arabs should leave because the Arabs cannot accept the presence of Jews. Said believes that the Jews should leave because the Arabs cannot accept the presence of Jews. What this means is that both agree that the Arabs cannot tolerate Jews. Which argument is more critical of itself? Which argument is willing to compromise more? Remember, Rabbi Kahane is an extremist and Edward Said is an intellectual.

Said’s quotes were taken from his 2000 book, The End of the Peace Process

Rabbi Meir’s quote was taken from his 1981 book, They Must Go!

This is all I have for now but in the future sometime I will extend this little “test” and add more quotes. Hope you enjoyed it and that it was thought-provoking.


anonym00kie said...

the same way truth can come from many sources and is recognizable despite the different forms it takes, i guess its the same with lies or fanaticism .. it doesnt surprise me that their comments are interchangeable, to me they come from the same source of fear and closedmindedness

jjew said...

Really? I see it a bit differently. To me it seems that both agree on a few fundamental things, the major one being that both agree that the Arabs believe the Jews don't belong in Israel, or that Israel should be not be sovereign. Rabbi Meir Kahane, in quote two, gives voice to the prime Arab greivance, inequality in Israel, and it is the same greivance that Said gives voice to. Also, I know that Kahane had a thing against liberal Jews, and that's why it's so interesting when Said made a claim that liberal Jews (i.e. Peace Now) were his prime opponents when critizing the Peace Process. If we can glean anything from that, maybe it's that both see liberal Jews/Israelis as overly naive and optimistic that peace is relatively easy to acheive between Israelis and Palestinians. What I mean is, both seem to believe that liberal Jews are eager to paint this happy picture for the Middle East, and both Kahane and Said have greivances with them, saying that they are ignoring the deeper realities that the status quo needs to change. Hehe, the difference between them is their disagreement about what the status quo is, and therefore how it needs to change and to what, but they both signal out the LIBERALS, not the CONSERVATIVES. I only realized that during this Shabbat as I was reading from Said's book (I read "They Must Go some time ago). Anyway, that's what I was trying to verbalize, and I didn't really in the post.

Peace, Yaniv...

jjew said...

Actually, I should amend my statement. I haven't read much of Said, but I have the feeling that he probably gives equal criticism to both liberal and conservative Jews because they are both party to an entity with which he disagrees. So Kahane and Said intersect on their views on liberal Jews, but Said might believe, and probably does, that Israeli ideology is irrelevant as a whole because Israel is invalid, kind of like the attitude of a rapist as he commits that act; does the rapee really care to distinguish between the rapist's intentions?

Neti said...

Wow. I should not be surprised to see such, but I was.

jjew said...

Yah, me too, but then it made sense right away. If you've read any Rabbi Kahane you'll see that he is quite unfavorable towards the liberal intellegentsia. The shocking thing is that you would expect Said to welcome them with open arms, at least outwardly, because they supposedly love Arabs. But, to my slight surprise, Said also disliked, and ironically, for the SAME reasons that Rabbi Kahane did. I had to sit on that for a second to understand that; how could it be that they both dislike the same liberal intellegentsia for the same reason? Then it hit me, what Rabbi Kahane said about the Arab Israeli viewpoint in quote two is right on the target and quite SENSITIVE to the other's sentiment - quite surprising for an Orthodox exremist Jew hater, no? He gave voice to the Arab greivance quite well, that the democratic nature of the State of Israel runs counter to its right to be a Jewish state, and one of those realities will replace the other. Theoretically they can both exist, but in practice and with the Arabs there not ready or willing to live under a true Jewish sovereign, have not let it happened. They understand that living under a Jewish sovereign would mean limited civil rights for them, as they already have in Israel - it would be a situation like dhimmitude, which was the limited civil rights that Jews had while living in Islamic states. They could not accept a Jewish version of dhimmitude, it would be the ultimate insult for them and that's what both Rabbi Kahane and Said are saying, which I think is incredibly interesting. Perhaps it gives some credence to a concept when two people who are, for practical purposes, opposites, come to the same conclusion about one matter without colluding. It is something that the Arabs in Israel are constantly aware of, their unhappy situation, and simultaneously something that the Israeli left wants to deny, and again, both Rabbi Kahane and Said are trying to expose that. Very interesting.