Criticizing Israel Gets Backlash
Calling this comment I recieved from a concerned reader a “backlash” is a little hyperbolic so I’ll admit that right upfront. Before I get to the comment in question I’d like to explain the circumstances that lead to the comment. Last week I posted a link on my blog to an article written by journalist Ben Cohen (editor for The Daily Banter) titled “Can We Stop Pretending Israel is Being Attacked“. In his article he talks about the polarization between supporters of Israel who refuse to see the Palestinian point of view and believes Israel can do no wrong, against everyone else who admits to the ambiguity of the Israeli Palestine relationship. Those who fall into that 2nd group gets lumped together with those who are 100% pro Hamas and anti-Israel. I thought his article was on point and I wanted those who read my blog Socially Urban to read his article, so I posted a link to it and also tweeted the link on my personal twitter account. A few days after I posted the link I received a private message about my decision to post that link, and here it is:
I’ve read your posts and your blogs, and your bio. If I could ask a favor and have you watch a YouTube video and then get back to me. I am disappointed in your Israel thoughts, and offer the following… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qeHvd8Tdmo
Here’s the video he wanted me to watch:
Here’s my reply to his message:
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the video link. I’m a huge fan of Bill Maher and catch his show every week, so I have already seen that particular episode which aired over the weekend. On my blog I have never written anything about the Israeli Palestinian conflict so I’m not sure how you or anyone else can fully understand what my opinion is on that subject. I have posted one link on my blog’s homepage recently that was not written by me, but I did believe the article made some good points. I have no allusions about Hamas and their violent aggression against Israel. What they are doing is wrong and there’s nothing that can justify it. I also understand that this is the government that a majority of the Palestinians voted for. I believe there were legitimate reasons for some of Israel’s attacks in the past when they were provoked or for self defense. The current restart of the conflict is what I have problems with. I do not believe their recent attacks are justified. The men who killed those three Israeli youth should be found and punished for their horrific crimes, but launching missiles that are killing thousands of Palestinians is not a proper response in my eyes… nor is it going to deter future attacks. The Palestinian youth who sees their family killed, their homes destroyed, their movement and travel restricted are going to grow up hating Israel and it makes them a lot more open to the propaganda Hamas and other terrorist groups are pushing on them. I believe that applies to America’s drone program as well.
I was very disappointed with some of the panel comments about Palestinians even though I agreed with some of what Bill said. But I do think the Nobel Prize comment was very offensive. If winning a Nobel Prize was a measure of the intelligence of an entire race of people, then he could make that same argument about African Americans because a lot more whites have won Nobel Prizes than African Americans. That’s like saying slave owners shouldn’t apologize for winning because the slaves weren’t smart enough to overtake their masters. I know that’s probably not what Bill thinks (I hope), but that’s the way that comment came off to me.
I really do appreciate you taking the time to write to me and share your thoughts about my blog. Now I see how some could misinterpret why I posted that link. I do not want anyone thinking I’m anti-Israel or pro Hamas so I will remove the link and replace it with my thoughts I have just shared with you. I’m by no means an expert on Israel and the history they share with Muslims in that region. So if you think I have misrepresented or misunderstood anything I’ve written I’d welcome your input and post any links you think would give my blog readers a better understanding on this subject.
———– END OF MESSAGE ———–
After I sent the reply I reread Ben Cohen’s article and thought to myself why am I removing the link? Then I remembered why I wanted my blog readers to read his article. I posted it because I share the very same opinion Mr Cohen expressed in that article. So instead of getting rid of it I decided to keep it but add my thoughts and reasons for posting it just in case someone else questions my decision. Fact is, the Palestinians have endured a brutal assault and lost many many lives. It’s not all the fault of Israel, but no one has clean hands in this situation. Acknowledging that doesn’t make you anti-Israel or pro-Hamas, it just makes you honest.
I hope he’s ok with me posting his private message to me. I’m not revealing his name so I don’t think permission is necessary. I hope he continues to visit Socially Urban because I love readers who are engaged and vocal about their opinions. Especially when those opinions challenge my own.