Friday, January 9, 2009

Your Kaffiyeh Is Showing

The province where I currently reside has two "major" newspapers. I read one of them on a more or less daily basis, because one of my co-workers brings her copy to the office with her.

My first stop each day is the letters to the editor section, where I go for what I call "my daily dose of crazy". There's usually at least one letter to the editor that seems to have been written by somebody who last contacted reality while Cheers was still on the air.

Today was a bumper crop. There was no garden-variety crazy on the menu, but we got a double dose of "kill the Jews in the name of tolerance."

The first letter argues that Israel's military action against Hamas is unjustified and disproportionate because the rockets that Hamas have been firing at them for months are neither powerful nor accurate.

If you agree with this opinion - in fact, if you see even a shred of validity in it - then I have a scenario for you. Suppose that somebody sat across the street from your home with a gun day after day, firing sporadically in the direction of your kids playing in the yard. Would you be OK with that, as long as they weren't a very good shot and only used small-calibre firearms?

Assuming that you're sane and so you answered in the negative, would you object to some people with uniforms and weapons showing up to deal with the situation? If more than one armed officer showed up, would you complain that the force was "disproportionate" because there's only one shooter?

A second letter on the same page said that "Israel has a right to exist, but not where it is". For those of you who don't recognize this type of argument, it's usually phrased as "there's nothing wrong with (insert the ethnic group of your choice here), but I wouldn't want my sister dating one."

That letter went on to say, "(The Jews) can never forgive Germany, because if they do, then they have to have a hard look at their own sins." Somebody's been reading The Protocols of the Elders of Zion again. Oh, well, at least they're reading. If they keep practicing they can work their way up to Mein Kampf someday. The writer went on to suggest that we "consider" proposing that a section of Germany be expropriated and given to the Jews as a new homeland.

These letters were printed without editorial comment. Most are. I can only remember one response they've printed offhand. I'm sure there have been others, but we always notice when it's our own ox being gored.

Several years ago, this same paper ran an editorial about how pro-lifers secretly (or not so secretly) like it whenever an abortionist is targeted with violence. The editor alluded to quiet celebrations being held whenever a doctor is killed. This is nonsense. A pro-lifer wrote a letter to correct this notion, accurately saying that no mainstream pro-life organization has ever condoned, encouraged, or celebrated violence of any kind. The paper ran a one-sentence rebuttal under that letter, saying something like "not openly encouraging violence isn't the same thing as opposing it."

That didn't even answer the point, but instead moved the goalposts. They accused pro-lifers of celebrating murder. When that notion was corrected, they said, "Yeah, but you don't say anything against it!" Not only is that not remotely true, but it wasn't what they said in the first place. If it had been, then perhaps the letter-writer would have answered that false claim instead of the one they actually made.

Apparently it's fine to rebut letters to the editor if they're from some pro-life extremist, but Allah forbid that we raise any doubts about the annihilation of the Jews.

Oh, wait. I just remembered. As a rule, pro-lifers don't set fire to newspaper offices when they get offended by editorials or cartoons. Maybe the real issue isn't just hypocrisy, but cowardly hypocrisy.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of the courtyard at the Holy Land Experience.

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