Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Email to Jim Kunstler

I wrote this in response to the anti-Jewish (hatemail) Jim posted on his blog, yesterday.

Hi Jim

Those anti-Jewish comments are nasty.

I missed your latest blog update so I am guessing you found them quite hurtful. I would have been hurt by them.

I did find myself (before this) wondering if you were Jewish based on your comments on Israel which seemed to me, less objective and spot on than your other-worldly comments. I don't necessarily support Israel or not support them. I think it's a really tough situation to invent a country in an area surrounded by (its) enemies on all sides, and expect things to go smoothly. Hezbollah's acts are nasty. Israel has a right to defend itself (everyone does), but I think when you wipe out 10 times the number of your own casualties, and you call Hezebollah targets bridges and roads and everything else, you're showing the same blatant disregard (disrespect) for life (and your adversaries God) that your 'enemy' is guilty of. It's a lose lose situation. Yes, I can't offer a better solution, other than the idealised: just learn to get along. I'm not sure if we humans of capable of accepting each other with our differences intact.

But your support for Israel seemed a bit more qualified (meaning overqualified - not in the sense of being restricted - in my opinion) than I thought was justified, and perhaps I haven't understood your reasons as well I need to. But that led me to think you had your sympathies in this area (and many people do). A lot of Christians (in the west, including my girlfriend) support Israel as being a sort of de facto 'God's country/God's people', which for me is absurd. What a country does, not what it stands for (or says it stands for), ought to be the measure we use to judge it.

I suppose that's an idealisation for how we ought to treat each other to, and it almost never happens. What does happen, the opposite. We believe what people (leaders) and countries say, not necessarily what they are.

I personally don't support overwhelming force, whether from the USA or Israel or anywhere else. I have been guilty of using overwhelming force in my classroom today. When the little terrorists (am I in trouble now for using that term) had worn my patience down sufficiently, I tossed a schoolbag out the window and handily shoved one student out the classroom. I feel bad about it, but I felt I was forced to do that to maintain order.

I think we human beings are capable of being incredibly intolerant when we choose to. And I think bias is part of the human equation too.

We have to accept our own, and think about accepting bias in others. Extreme bias though should be excluded from this equation, but who decides what the boundary is between extremism and normalism? It's probably not who that decides as much as when, and the context.


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