Thursday, May 24, 2018

 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column



Jaspreet Oberoi is a blogger who recently had an article published in Ha’aretz, entitled “From Punjab to Palestine: Why young Sikhs like me are becoming pro-Palestinian activists.” I read it with interest, because I would like to know too.

I met some Sikhs in California, and had some in classes that I taught in the prehistoric 1970s. They were distinguished by being extremely hard workers who wanted to get along with everyone. The Sikh religion has a strong tradition of self-defense. They didn’t strike me as the type of folks that would be pro-Palestinian activists.

Oberoi’s photo shows a young man, probably in his 20s. He says in the article that he has lived in Canada for 8 years, having been born and raised in Punjab. He works as "a research scientist for a quantum computing company," but his recent Twitter feed is peppered with links to his Ha’aretz article; he is clearly very pleased to have been published in what he calls “Israel’s longest running newspaper.” Maybe he has a future as a journalist, and not just a blogger with a day job? 

So why is he becoming a pro-Palestinian activist? In his words,

Sikhs know what it feels to be effectively shooed out of your homeland and be forced to live in exile; what it's like to be shot at "just for fun," as target practice; what it's like to be harassed daily by state security forces; what it's like to have a seven year-old arrested on charges of "terrorism"; and what it's like when the world simply ignores your plight.

One would think that such an experience would be precisely what would make someone a Zionist! But apparently that isn’t how it works.

When someone like Jaspreet Oberoi hears that some 59 “Palestinian protestors” were killed by Israeli snipers on May 14, he suffers “anguish, pain, remorse and disgust.” And later, his feelings were further assaulted by the lack of popular outcry over the “massacre” in Canada:

But after pacifying myself, when I peeked around, there was a stoic silence. At least nobody in Canada was celebrating or justifying the massacre, unlike many right-wingers across the globe, but there wasn't a strong rebuke either.

Oberoi is immediately reminded of the horrific violence in India between Sikhs and the majority Hindus that began with Operation Blue Star in 1984 and the subsequent assassination of Indira Gandhi. He tells a story of a minority’s violent persecution, and how its complaints are ignored by the majority government and the rest of the world. And he keeps asking: does this sound familiar?

I admit that I am not competent to judge whether his account of the plight of the Sikhs in India is accurate. I’m sure there are facts and interpretations that he doesn’t mention, things I would hear about if I asked a supporter of Indian PM Modi. In any event, I am not about to write an article for an Indian newspaper about the Sikhs.

And of course there are things that Jaspreet Oberoi does not know about the Israeli-Arab conflict in general and recent events in Gaza in particular. For example, he doesn’t know that 53 of the 62 dead Gazans were operatives of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, according to spokespersons for those organizations, and that Hamas leader, Yahya Sinwar, announced that “We will take down the border and we will tear out their hearts from their bodies.” 

He does not understand that the “protest” was actually an attempted invasion, and that the IDF was defending Israel’s border and the people that live just a few minutes’ walk away from it, with what was actually the minimum force necessary.

Ha’aretz editors knew all this (it was in their own newspaper), even if Oberoi did not. They published his article anyway. But this post isn’t about Ha’aretz.

So we come back to the initial question: why does a young Sikh become a pro-Palestinian activist?

The cynical answer is that there is a demand for it. It is an easy way to get published in a prestigious venue, even if your writing isn’t of professional quality. Many Jews have taken this path with great success. A Jew attacking Israel has an authority that say, an Arab or European, doesn’t. But a Sikh presents an interesting, diverse, perspective too.

But I will give Oberoi the benefit of the doubt, and say that he simply doesn’t know any better. He is so deeply immersed in and affected by the real struggle of his own people, that he was triggered to write on a subject that he knew less than nothing about. 

It’s a common psychological phenomenon. Each of us has his own story, and we impose it on chaotic reality that we don’t understand. To a woman who had an unpleasant divorce, every man looks like her jerk of an ex-husband. It’s not an accident that the idea of calling Israel an “apartheid state” arose in South Africa, or that Condoleezza Rice, Barack Obama, and the Movement for Black Lives have all drawn highly misleading parallels between Palestinian Arabs and African-Americans.

And why did he choose the Palestinians to identify with? Why not the Jews? Why indeed did he not end up a Zionist? Probably because he studied in Canada and that was the prevailing opinion. The easy, obvious choice.

It’s easier to apply a familiar pattern to a situation about which you are ignorant than to make the effort to learn about it. A good journalist or political analyst learns to avoid this trap. Mr. Oberoi hasn’t.






We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

search eoz

comments

Speaking

follow me

Follow by Email

translate

Share on Whatsapp


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 14 years and 30,000 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 antisemitism apartheid arab refugees Arafat archaeology Ari Fuld art ASHREI B'tselem bahrain Balfour bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz book review Brant Rosen breaking the silence Campus antisemitism Cardozo Chakindas Chanukah Christians circumcision Clark Kent coexistence Community Standards conspiracy theories Cyprus Daled Amos Daphne Anson David Applebaum Davis report DCI-P Divest This double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada Embassy EoZ Trump symposium eoz-symposium EoZNews eoztv Erekat Erekat lung transplant EU Euro-Mid Observer European antisemitism Facebook jail Fake Civilians 2014 Farrakhan Fatah featured Features fisking flotilla Forest Rain Forward free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros German Jewry gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian guest post gunness Haaretz Hadassah hamas Hamas war crimes Hananya Naftali hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hasby 2018 hate speech Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor huor Hypocrisy ICRC IDF Ilan Pappe impossible peace incitement indigenous 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 Joseph Massad Juan Cole Judaism Judea-Samaria Judean Rose Kairos Karl Vick Keith Ellison ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Lebanon leftists Linda Sarsour Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Malaysia max blumenthal Mazen Adi McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Michael Ross Miftah Missionaries moderate Islam Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco Mudar Zahran music Muslim Brotherhood Naftali Bennett Nakba Nan Greer Nation of Islam Natural gas Nazi Netanyahu News nftp NGO NIF Noah Phillips norpac NYT Occupation offbeat Omar Barghouti Only in Israel Opinion oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peace Now Peter Beinart Petra MB poetry Poland poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist Puar Purim purimshpiel Putin Qaradawi Qassam calendar Quora Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals reference Richard Falk Richard Silverstein Right of return Rivkah Lambert Adler Robert Werdine rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Rutgers Saeb Erekat Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians settlements sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shelly Yachimovich Shujaiyeh Simchat Torah Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Speech stamps Superman Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman TOI Trump Tunisia Turkey UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc UNICEF United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA unwra Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks work accident X-washing Y. Ben-David Yemen YMikarov zahran Ziesel zionist attack zoo Zvi

Blog Archive