Friday, December 17, 2010

I have mentioned a couple of times that I could not find a single prominent Arab American who did not defend Helen Thomas' anti-semitic comments, by either denying they were anti-semitic and/or confirming that they were true. I also showed that major Arab American organizations specifically went out of their way to honor her because of, not in spite of, her anti-Jewish outburst.

A single exception has just appeared.

Hussein Ibish, a quite prominent Arab American, has written a pretty good essay on the topic. He spends much of it going rebutting Thomas' and her acolytes' false definition of "anti-semitism" and gives a history of the term as well as of both Christian and Arab anti-semitism. He then goes into the Thomas affair as well:

I really had intended to stay out of this altogether, and I'm not going to ultimately pass any definitive judgment on her recently expressed sentiments, but some observations seem necessary. Her initial comment was very disturbing, but could certainly have been dismissed as an off-the-cuff remark to a hectoring videographer by an exasperated and elderly journalist who was trying to be deliberately obnoxious to someone it seems may have been pestering her. The explanation offered at the time that she was referring to the occupation was never very convincing because she referred to Jews getting out of Palestine and going home to Germany, Poland or the United States, but not to Israel. But had it been isolated and off-the-cuff, as it first appeared, it really shouldn't have been that big a deal, especially since she apologized right away.
Unfortunately, Ibish refrains from mentioning that the full video shows that Thomas seemed to be happy to answer the initial question from Rabbi Nesenoff about journalism as a career and she did not seem irritated at all, and even laughed heartily as she went onto her anti-semitic rant.

Ms. Thomas decided to make some additional remarks that got her into even deeper trouble. Parsing whether or not any of it descends to the level of anti-Semitism seems utterly beside the point. But to suggest, as she did in her subsequent remarks, that "Congress, the White House and Hollywood, Wall Street are owned by Zionists" is just silly, and it's indefensible. Let's take them one by one.
Later he writes
I do think it's possible to read Thomas' most recent comments as a rallying cry to Arab-Americans to get more involved, and that's certainly good advice. But the phraseology is extremely unfortunate and, indeed, inaccurate. And certainly she didn't do anything to contradict the impression that was created in many minds by her original off-the-cuff ill-advised remarks, and more than reversed whatever corrective had been accomplished by her well-advised apology. The debate over whether her original or follow-up comments are anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist or simply inaccurate isn't particularly interesting. But it needs to be clearly stated that the idea that because Thomas is of a Semitic Arab heritage she therefore cannot be anti-Semitic herself by definition holds no water at all. Sadly, there is far too much genuine anti-Semitism among Arabs and Arab-Americans, just as there is a disturbing plethora of anti-Arab and Islamophobic sentiment among Israelis and Jews around the world, including the United States.
Ibish falls short of the clear-cut condemnation of Thomas that is sorely needed in the Arab American community. But at least he recognizes that she was wrong, something that makes him utterly unique - and which highlights that the vast majority of Arab American leaders really either do support Thomas' remarks wholeheartedly or are too cowed by institutional anti-semtism in their community to say anything against them.

Ibish's attempts to draw a parallel between Jew-hatred among Arabs and "Islamophobia" among Jews are unsatisfying as well, simply because the former is apparently endemic while the latter is anything but, especially in the United States. It is possible to find (way too) many Jews whose positions on the Arab/Israeli conflict are in perfect consonance with the official positions in the Arab world, but it is nearly impossible to find any Arabs whose public positions align with Israel's.

So while his essay is flawed, it at least is a belated acknowledgment of the issue, it is thoughtful, and it is welcome as a worthy  addition to the debate.

(h/t Alex)

EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

search eoz

Loading...

comments

Speaking

follow me

Follow by Email

Contact

Elder: elder -at- elderofziyon dot com
Mrs. Elder: mrs.elder -at- elderofziyon.com


translate

E-Book

For $18 donation








Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts Ever

Hasbys!

Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

Donate!

Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options



One time donation:



subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!

Tweets

Compliments

The Jerusalem Report:"A seemingly indefatigable one-man operation, armed only with a computer, chutzpa and stamina."

Algemeiner: "Fiercely intelligent and erudite"

Omri: "Elder is one of the best established and most respected members of the jblogosphere..."
Atheist Jew:"Elder of Ziyon probably had the greatest impression on me..."
Soccer Dad: "He undertakes the important task of making sure that his readers learn from history."
AbbaGav: "A truly exceptional blog..."
Judeopundit: "[A] venerable blog-pioneer and beloved patriarchal figure...his blog is indispensable."
Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen."
Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned."
Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

Interesting Blogs

Categories

Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria American Jews Amnesty analysis anti-semitism apartheid arab refugees Arafat archaeology art ASHREI B'tselem bahrain bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz book review breaking the silence Cardozo Chanukah Christians conspiracy theories Cyprus Daphne Anson Davis report DCI-P double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada EoZNews eoztv Erekat EU Euro-Mid Observer Fake Civilians 2014 Fatah featured Features fisking flotilla Forest Rain free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian gunness Haaretz hamas Hamas war crimes hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor Hypocrisy ICRC Ilan Pappe impossible peace incitement Indonesia international law intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Juan Cole Judea-Samaria Kairos Karl Vick ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Lebanon leftists Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Malaysia max blumenthal McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Miftah Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco music Muslim Brotherhood Nakba Natural gas Nazi News nftp NGO NIF norpac NYT Occupation offbeat Omar Barghouti Opinion oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peter Beinart Petra MB poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist purimshpiel Qaradawi Qassam calendar Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals reference Richard Falk rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shujaiyeh Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Speech stamps Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman Tunisia Turkey UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks work accident X-washing Yemen zahran zionist attack zoo Zvi

Blog Archive