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Thursday, August 16, 2007

The right to feel offended (Judea Pearl)

I'm not sure I agree with everything in this piece, but - at least for Jewish liberals who allow their friends to spout casual anti-Israel rhetoric - Judea Pearl (Daniel's father) makes some very good points. Here's part:
We, as Jews, have been grossly negligent in permitting the dehumanization of Israel to become socially acceptable in certain circles of society, especially on college campuses. Our silence, natural resilience to insults and general reluctance to confront colleagues and friends have contributed significantly to the Orwellianization of campus vocabulary and the legitimization of the unacceptable. Most of our assailants are even unaware of the shivers that go down our spines with utterances such as "apartheid Israeli regime" or "brutal Israeli occupation."

But if we take seriously the moral basis for our right to take offense and exercise that right broadly and consistently, a reverse process of de-Orwellianization will ensue.

If instead of avoiding confrontation, swallowing our insults or letting ourselves be dragged into defensive arguments, we simply halt the conversation and assert with honesty and dignity, "Sorry, this is offensive to me," or "This is unacceptable," we will reclaim the respect that our adversaries plan to trample.

History and decency have given us that right.

If we act on it proudly and resolutely, the word will quickly come around that good company no longer accepts smearing Israel with apartheid or bashing Zionism as a crime.
Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Zionist Youngster elaborates on what bothers him about the article.