Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Land of Our Own

I wasn't too happy with the most recent Q and A program. 

It's probably hypocritical of me to complain about it being filmed on Rosh Hashanah, since I was watching the downloaded program while most of my fellow Fort Worth Jews were at synagogue.

I didn't even realize that they had filmed it on Rosh Hashanah until the video questioner brought it up.

Thinking, though, that they picked this night—for a show dedicated to the subject of Israel—annoyed me.   As the questioner pointed out, not only was the studio audience lacking Jews, but the Twitter feed as well.

I was even more annoyed when I heard Tony Jones' excuse for the choosing of this night for the program.  Well, first of all this is the only night that Ilan Pappe was available to come on Q and A

Okay. Well, personally I would have been happy if they skipped having Ilan Pappe on the show.

Out of all the Israeli's out there, did they have to pick one that's so anti-Israel?

Out of all the anti-Israel people out there, did they have to pick one that's Israeli?

And out of all the Anti-Israel Jews out there, did they have to pick one as rude as him?

I'll say one good thing for Pappe. He kind of looks like Gary Oldman.  He's like a cross between Gary Oldman and Dana Carvey.  And maybe there's a little bit of Ben Folds in there as well.

Maybe rude is the wrong word for Pappe. Rude is burping in someone's face or not saying thank you if someone opens a door for you.

I think abrasive would be a better term.

I wonder, though, if anti-Israel people liked Pappe and weren't bothered by his abrasiveness.  

I wouldn't be one of those people....I mean if I was anti-Israel. I'm starting to come to the strong realization that I don't judge people just on their opinions, but also on how they express their opinions.

I don't like people who are abrasive and mean, even if they share my view of things.

I also don't like people who don't share my view of things.  But that dislike usually fades in a day or two. 


If Q and A  ever does a program again, I'd like them to balance it out with a pro-Israel Israeli.

At least this time they had a pro-Israel Jew. That was nice.  But I don't think it balanced out Pappe, Robyn Davidson (who seemed to often agree with Pappe), and the Jewish-lacking audience and Jewish-lacking Twitterers.

Also, perhaps Q and A could have a pro-Israel Arab someday.

Maybe they could have this guy.  He's the son of a Hamas person and then switched teams.

There's others.

I used to think they didn't exist. But they do. Unfortunately, it seems they're quieter than the Jewish anti-Israel people.

Or maybe they're not quieter and just not heard by the media as much.  

So...Well...I've been thinking about Israel and all this for the past week.

I eventually came up with an analogy.

It's not a perfect one.  Not every puzzle piece fits neatly. But I'm going to try my best.

Here we go:   

Let's say things don't improve for Aboriginal Australians. It gets worse. The gap doesn't get smaller.  It gets much bigger. Then there's also a lot of animosity between white people and Aborigines.

The UK then comes over; and somehow exercises some power.  (I'm not sure if this would be possible or legal, but let's just make-believe).

The British say things aren't working out well for the Aborigines in Australia. They need a land of their own.

The British give the Aborigines a chunk of land that includes Alice Springs and Uluru. A lot of white people are expelled from their homes because the Aborigines need room in their new homeland to live.

The white folks of Alice Springs could live anywhere in Australia.  Some of them move to Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, etc. to start new lives.  Many others, though, remain in Alice Springs.   They want to fight against the Aborigines who have taken their land.

Meanwhile, the majority of Aborigines around Australia leave their towns and cities and go to Alice Springs. Some of them leave because the white folks were awful to them.  In other cities, the Aborigines were actually forcibly expelled. Then some Aborigines leave because they decide it would be cool to live in a land that's dominated by their kind. They like living in a land where they feel so welcomed.

Now in Alice Springs, it's not 100% Aborigines.  White people—any people—can be there and become citizens of the state. They can vote. They can join the Parliament.  And there's even a few white people in the Parliament.  We can't say Alice Springs is completely lacking racism. Like any town, it's not perfect. 

Some white people in Australia don't like that Aborigines get their own town.  It's SO totally not fair.  They want to change Alice Springs and make it like any other town in Australia.  It's not enough that the whole rest of Australia is dominated by white people—Sydney, Melbourne, Newcastle, Brisbane, Darwin, Perth, Tasmania, etc.  They think white people should have the power in the Alice Springs area as well.  

Some white folks start a boycott of Alice Springs.  What do they want? They want Alice Springs to allow white folks to migrate there as easily as Aborigines. Any Aborigine at any time can say, I want to live in Alice Springs.  Then they move there. It's easy for them. As I said before, white people can live in Alice Springs too. And they do. But it's more of a hassle.  It's much easier for them to choose to live in Darwin, Sydney, Melbourne, etc.

The white people start the boycott, and a lot of other ethnic groups join them. They also don't like the Aborigines having their own land.

Some Aborigines speak up against the boycott. They point out that if white people are freely allowed to move to Alice Springs, they'll overtake the country.  Why?  There's more white people. There will be more white voters.  Alice Springs will become another white town.  The Aborigines don't like this.    They want a town of their own. They think back to their past and know they NEED a town of their own.

Should the Aborigines have their own town?  Or would that be wrong?

What would happen if they lose the town? Would they be welcomed back into the other cities?   Would they be treated well in these cities? Would they be treated well in the Alice Springs are when the population and government is controlled by white folks?

The End.

I'm guessing some people would be bothered by my analogy. The Jewish story is different because their big atrocity was caused by a group OUTSIDE of the Muslim world. In my story, the people who created the big atrocity are the same who don't want the Aborigines to have their own homeland.

So, if anyone is bothered by that, we can change it. How about we use the Afghani refugees?

 What if a powerful government force decides the detention camps aren't working.  The Afghani refugees need a home of their own.   They need to be protected.    So they give them their own town in New South Wales.   Afghanis leave (or are forced to leave) all other cities and towns in Australia.    Other people can live in Little Afghanistan, even if they aren't Afghanis.   These other people have voting rights; and they can and are in Parliament.  Still, though, the town is set up so it remains politically dominated by Afghanis.  This way they can have a safe place to live, raise their children, and be free of discrimination and persecution.

Would that be okay or not be okay?   

Note: In both stories, I'm leaving out the Holocaust, terrorism, and military overreaction to terrorism.  But you can add that in there if you desire.


Andrew said...

It all sounds quite divisive. Would it not be better if Aborigines did not feel the need to live separately and that they weren't discriminated against or felt discriminated against?

While the end of apartheid in South Africa did not change a lot for the average black person, surely there, black, white or coloured have a common goal, a better South Africa.

I guess I am being idealistic but minds much cleverer than mine have devoted a lot of thinking to such matters and I have not heard any come up with a solution.

Dina said...


Yes of course it would be better. But unfortunately it doesn't always work out that way.

And it's not about separation. It's about one group having the political control.

There are close to 6 million Jews in Israel.

If the Muslims gain political power; I'm doubting Jews are going to feel safe there. I have a hard time believing they're even going to feel welcomed there.

So who's going to want to take in all these Jewish refugees?

Where are the Jews going to go?

But who knows. Maybe I'm wrong.

Maybe the Muslims would treat the Jews with love and care. Maybe the other Middle Eastern countries would let Jewish exiles return to their countries as well.

That would be cool. I'd like that. But I'm not very optimistic about the whole thing.

I think the best solution is the two state solution. The Jews are in charge of one country and the Palestinians are in charge of another.

So...see...I think clever minds HAVE come up with a solution. But people are just too bigoted (on both ends) and/or stubborn to accept it.

Dina said...

I think we should colonize Mars; send all Israeli and Palestinians there. Then turn Israel into a giant water park.

That's my brilliant solution.

It would be fun.

FruitCake said...

Before I unintentionally though hopefully not get up your nose, I have to confess my understanding of the whole Israel thing is limited.

The little I know about the establishment of Israel comes from Leon Uris’ book Exodus. I may have even mentioned once that I despise the theme song from the movie because it comes across as so totally shallow.

Having followed your link I now know a little more about the expulsion of Jews from neighbouring Arab states. Exodus – and bear in mind that I read it more than 30 years ago and don’t remember all the detail - I felt was a story about Jews looking for a place to live after the Holocaust in Europe, i.e. that the settlement was primarily about displaced Europeans.

I do still have the impression though that Palestine was largely the patsy in this story – one place that had to pay for the sins of a lot of other countries.
No matter what the topic, as soon as we dig a little deeper than “policy” level we find human stories. Arab or Jew, my sympathy goes to anyone who is dispossessed or has their land, place, community or assets taken from them by events largely beyond their control. So I’m not taking sides.

History is usually about dispossession at some point. I wonder what is the statute of limitations on trying to fight off an invader? 50 years? 100?

I don’t know what the standard Q&A shooting schedule is or how flexible it is. I’ll accept that Ilan Pappe might have only been available on that night, but I was glad to be introduced to him and to what he had to say.
He might have seemed abrasive to some people, but my own impression was that he was frustrated. Irving Wallach presented as someone smug and dismissive, he talked over the top of Ilan Pappe more than once and that ticks me off no matter who does it. I can understand why Pappe was frustrated.
[The Australian journalist on the end was just a tosser as far as I could tell – self absorbed and totally illogical].

Now, here’s the very frustrating thing about shows of this nature: the topics are always important and interesting, but I don’t get to choose the panellists [many of whom are as irritating as the journalist from the Australian]. It’s also frustrating because many people would rather score points than exchange ideas.
And it’s a current affairs show which would be rubbish if not provocative, so an anti-Israel Israeli probably seemed a good choice. If there is one main theme for each show then maybe the theme for this one was “what would be your response if an historian said he had evidence of plans to dispossess Palestinians?”
If that’s the way it works then you are quite right to ask for another theme with an alternative viewpoint, preferably not an anti-Israel Israeli.

FruitCake said...

It’s interesting you dragged the UK into your story. Wasn’t Palestine a British protectorate or something at this time? And again, going back to the dinosaur era when I read Exodus, I have an inkling British Petroleum [BP] had a strong vested interest in the outcome of Israeli/ Palestinian negotiations. It’s always about oil.

When India was to be granted independence the preferred British option, like Ghandi’s, was that there be no partition and that muslims and hindus should stay where they are and learn to get along. The Muslim leadership demanded partition, Pakistan was formed [East and West] and the displacement that followed was disastrous.
Which is to say that it is not really easy to shuffle people around like so many pieces on a chess board. Whenever this happens, land and other wealth is redistributed with many people losing everything, and others gaining a great deal at their expense.

Even before I read your post, this whole Israel Palestine thing had me recalling a very old comedy sketch that goes something like this:

Middle Class American:
They should round up all homosexuals and lesbians and just stick them on an island somewhere.
Homosexual American:
They did darling… and we call it Manhattan.

Though, if we have to “round up all Afghanis and stick them on an island somewhere”, better NSW than Victoria!!!

But I’m 100% with Andrew. It would be much nicer if we could all get along better. And anyone who can come up with a win/win solution re Israel or Ireland or Indigenous Australia etc etc etc would be a miracle worker.

Dina said...


I like the Manhattan joke.

It's funny that you preferred Pappe over Wallach. I liked Wallach much more.

So maybe viewpoint does skew things for me?

Or maybe we have different viewpoints about behavior?

My family talks over each other a lot. Probably. I might be used to it. I don't think I even noticed Wallach doing it.

Pappe annoyed me by

A) inferring that most people are on the Israeli's side; and he's finally bringing the truth to the world.

"So many people in the west accept it." Really?

Well... I guess that statement can technically be correct.

But I think he should admit that MANY people in the west take the side of the Palestinians.

B) the fact that he talks about 5.5 million refugees...when that number includes the descendant of refugees; and he didn't mention Jewish refugees (from either Europe or Muslim countries)

C) He exaggerates and twists things.

"And every Palestinian every Jewish settlement in Israel is built on the ruins of a Palestine settlement. That’s another evidence."

What about the fact that Jews have lived in Israel for thousands of years.

It's not like the Palestinians were the Aborigines of Israel.

D) his repeated use of the word "Truth" My warning light goes up when people use this. It's the idea that there's not 2 sides of a story. Just one. And mine is it.

E) his statement. "Mainstream media in the west finds it very difficult to accept the narrative although they know this is the true narrative"

What? Does he read the mind of every journalist? I shouldn't be surprised. He IS Jewish. We have powers. How else would we control Hollywood?

Okay....I'm looking at the "talking over" part. Are you referring to the bit after the Palestinian girl asks the question?

If you are....

Wallach asks if he can interrupt.

Jones gives him permission.

I personally feel that type of behavior on a talk show like Q and A is acceptable.

Earlier Jones interrupted Pappe himself; and Pappe didn't seem to mind.

Then Pappe interrupts Wallach WITHOUT permission or a polite segway.

I don't think it's about interruptions. It's about one person thinking he's 100% right; and he doesn't want the other side of the story to be heard.

"No, these are not facts. This is Israeli propaganda."

Really? Why is one's side story propaganda and the other side's story absolute truth?

And the accusations of lying. If you're going to call someone a liar; come up with solid evidence to disprove that.

I'm rereading the paragraphs...It seems first Pappe calls Wallach a liar. Then he changes his tune and tries to justify and explain the behavior of 1948 Palestinian leaders.

Dina said...

I do remember you mentioning the Exodus song.

Why were were talking about it? I forgot.

I mean...what was the context?

FruitCake said...

LOL I have no idea what the context was.

A friend once told me "oh us wogs always talk at the same time and cut each other off... If we didn't, no one would listen." Well, more than one, actually.

I don't know if it's a cultural, personal or psychological difference on my part.

Maybe that's why I'm enjoying this whole blog thing. No body has cut me off... so far.

It would be silly of Pappe to buy into the "hegemony of western attitudes to Israel" thing because it is a nonsense. People have been talking about Palestinians for decades. I was just curious about his documentary evidence claim.

Jews control Hollywood? Somebody ought to tell Mel.

Dina said...


You have a great point. That's the nice thing about "talking" through interruptions!