|Palestinians look at rubbish that was thrown by Jewish settlers outside a mosque in the West Bank. REUTERS/Nayef Hashlamoun|
The comfortable life does not make the residents sluggish and placid, probably due to relatively bracing climate: Marine County is the home to this rare breed, the American radical. There are more of our readers and friends there than in the whole city of New York.
More than once I found myself mumbling: Northern California and its people are too good for the United States. The border should be drawn at Monterey. Let the Yanks keep the urban spread of LA with its toothy lawyers, their broad-backed spouses, the steroid instructors and silicon starlets who provide their relief. Northern California should be hitched to a few large whales and moved to the Atlantic shore of Europe, somewhere next to Normandy. Not in vain did this strip of land belong to Russia for a while, and it retains some of the Russian soulfulness, though it faces the Pacific rather than the Baltic.
Their local paper, the Coastal Post, is mind-bogglingly free from subservience to the Lobby. So free that they ran my piece “Carter and Swarm,” in defense of President Jimmy Carter after he crossed the line and the Lobby served him the black mark and threatened him with prosecution under a quaint law of 1799. The ferocious Jewish political police, the ADL, attacked the paper and me “objecting to unsubstantiated perpetuation of stereotypes of a malicious cabal of Jews “pushing for war,” as well as Shamir’s stereotype of “Jewish media-lords” that “clinch the party line.”
Here is my reply to the ADL’s attack: In Defense of Prejudice …
Stereotypes and prejudice are a legitimate part of our life. They are here to make our life easier. If you walk the dark streets of an urban ghetto and notice a gang of male teenagers without a single woman among them, your prejudice tells you to make a prudent detour. If a tramp in rags proposes to sell you a gold watch, your prejudice advises you to avoid the deal. If a charming stranger is eager to get bedded, your prejudice calls you to use a condom – or run away. ADL correctly states that there is a stereotype of a “malicious cabal of Jews” who are “pushing for war,” as well as that of “Jewish media-lords” that “clinch the party line.”
A stereotype, or prejudice, usually is a result of many unpleasant experiences by persons who did not heed them. Ghetto teenagers may beat you up, the tramp is likely to unload hot goods, a brazen hussy may supply you with the clap. And organized Jewry did push for World War Two, for the Iraq War, and now for the war with Iran and Syria, while supporting apartheid in Israel. American mainstream media from The New York Times and Washington Post to the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times has Jewish owners and sticks to the party line.
Prejudice makes life difficult for stereotyped persons, and this is sometimes unfair: the tramp may be a rightful heir and owner of the golden watch, a charming stranger may be a chaste creature swept away by your wit and looks, the teenagers may discuss Plato’s Cave, while a publicity-shy Israel Taub, an octogenarian scion of a great Hassidic dynasty, a Jewish prince, of sorts, spends his personal fortune rebuilding Palestinian houses destroyed by Israeli soldiers. Together with a Palestinian prince Nashashibi and a WASP Professor McGowan, he erected a memorial to the victims of the Zionist-perpetrated Deir Yassin Massacre. For him, Jimmy Carter is right, while AIPAC is even worse than the Israeli destroyers. Still, such men are rather the exception to the rule, and in chance encounters, a prudent man will hope for best and expect the worst.
A person unhappy with a stereotype or with prejudice may fight it. There is a good, hard way to fight a stereotype you dislike: act contrary to the stereotype. At the end of 19th century, Asians were stereotyped as weaklings and walkovers, doomed to submit to the White Man’s Destiny. The Japanese did not like the stereotype, pulled up their socks and sank the Russian Navy, before doing the same trick to the American one. In 1950s, Japanese goods were stereotyped as ‘shoddy’. They did not complain, but worked harder and by the 1980s, Japan-made cars became a byword of quality.
Indeed, prejudice may be defeated. If you are a ghetto dweller, be stranger-friendly and make your ghetto a nice place to visit, proving that prejudice is baseless. This was done by the Chinese who suffered from terrible prejudice in the beginning of 20th century. They got together, eliminated petty crime, and now their ghetto, Chinatown, is a delightful place to come for a stroll or for a dinner out. Prejudice against the Chinese died out, or rather got limited to Mia Farrow.
The Jews fought against prejudice a few times and won every time. In the 18th century they were considered illiterate and to be living in the Dark Ages. In the 19th century they were considered unmanly. Each time, they listened to the received wisdom of stereotype and acted to correct their behavior. They can do it now again. They may engage in work conducive to the general benefit, shy away from stock markets and banks, give Christmas presents, demand “troops out of Iraq, no aid to apartheid Israel.” be friendly to their non-Jewish neighbors. Do not demonize nor threaten with legal action everybody who does not agree with you. Do not turn the media into your private reserve. Try this, and an old stereotype will wither and vanish.
Actually, Zionism came into being as an idea of fighting the stereotyping of Jews by turning Jewish money and media men into peasants and soldiers. This was partly successful, but the old habits die-hard.
The ADL and their wealthy Jewish supporters went by an easier way: sticking to stereotypes and intimidating those who notice their relevance. Together, they fit stereotype to a tee: they are warmongering (against Iraq and now Iran), interfering with free speech (see their attack on Carter), protecting of thieves (remember Marc Rich?), spying on dissidents (as in the Blankfort case in California), abusing the legal system (by suing their ideological opponents), acting as a cabal (defending and hiding Israeli crimes). And they still dare to speak of “unsubstantiated perpetuation of stereotypes”! Next we may expect a Spaghetteria fighting the stereotype of Italians eagerly devouring spaghetti.
Jews are usually quite happy applying stereotypes and prejudice, that is if they apply it to somebody else. Michael Kinsley, a star of Jewish punditry (Harvard, Oxford, LA Times, Slate, CNN, New Republic, Time, Economist, Harper) blessed stereotyping of Arabs: “When thugs menace someone because he looks Arabic, that’s racism [because it is done by others – ISH]. When airport security officials single out Arabic-looking men for a more intrusive inspection, that’s something else [because it is done under control of a good Jew, Mr. Chertoff – ISH], for the airport security folks have a rational reason for what they do. An Arab-looking man heading toward a plane is statistically more likely to be a terrorist. That likelihood is infinitesimal, but the whole airport rigmarole is based on infinitesimal chances.”
Well, the whole life rigmarole is based on small chances, but the chances that your average Jewish pundit will be violently anti-Arab, pro-war, against Iran and generally will stick to their party line are not small at all. They are better than winning in rouge et noir. There are exceptions, but they are aware that they are exceptional. The stereotyping of Jews is quite justifiable, and only their behavior change will change it.
The ADL serves as a bad example to other groups. Instead of working harder or changing behavior, they copycat Jews and moan about prejudice. If the Japanese would do that, they still would be producing shoddy cars, but the hate laws would forbid us to mention it. Hate laws and political correctness may hush up a problem but never solve it.
I know of it first-hand: my own Russian community had a bad image problem in admittedly prejudiced Israel. Instead of whining, the Russians created their own theatre, now arguably the best in Israel, promoted their own newspapers and political parties, and eventually asserted its place. Granted, they were helped a lot by Putin’s Russia, which reasserted Russian pride. In California, I’ve met the Black Muslims, well-spoken and well-dressed men and women, who are respected without appealing to hate laws. They remind me of the youngish senator Barak Obama, another leader who does not need anybody’s condescension or defense.
People should be equal in law, this goes without saying. But stereotyping and prejudice usually correspond to reality, and they will change with the change of reality.
The ADL is not a means of prevention of the stereotype, but an important reason for its perpetuation. With their army of lawyers, their seemingly unlimited resources and their access to power they may forbid every related public expression of people’s feelings. But they cannot forbid the feelings, and suppressed feelings will burst out sooner or later with greater, devastating force.
They are repeating the error of Soviet days: the Party had banned criticism, people suppressed their feelings, and their outburst swept away the Party rule. The democratic regimes allowed for free speech and criticism because this provided an outlet for people’s feelings and moderated the need for violent revolution. Now, with their supreme power of censorship and intimidation, organized Jewry has almost recovered the ground lost by the Party.
If all three major-party contenders for the Presidency of the Republic go, hat in hand, to proclaim their fealty to AIPAC, if a former President is unable to express his views without being brutally abused by the ADL, America may need a revolution in order to regain its freedom to express its feelings, unless the whining lot of ADL activists is somehow reined in first.
Israel Shamir, a leading Russian Israeli writer, is a champion of the “One Man, One Vote, One State” solution. He migrated to Israel in 1969, joined the army and fought as a paratrooper in the 1973 war. After military service, he studied law, and took up journalism as a career. He has written extensively and translated Joyce and Homer into Russian, and was a columnist for Haaretz. Shamir is an outspoken critic of Israel and Zionism.