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.