Thursday, August 04, 2005

Israeli Is To Extremist As Arab Is To.....

I am not a Jew. My Democratic leanings and background studying WWII history make me pretty sympathetic to pro-Jewish issues.

However, this "Israel thing" has me a little confused. I know there is no clear right and wrong in the Middle East, but Israel just seems to be increasingly heavy handed with this Great Wall Part Deux and all. (I know, an American is throwing rocks in a glass house calling someone else heavy handed in the Middle East).

But with the terrible news today that Israeli citizens killed Arabs, I had an interesting observation. Most media outlets are calling the Israelis "extremists," whereas I feel fairly confident had they been Arabs, they would "terrorists."

That is a serious distinction. If we are going to deal with global terrorism, we need to understand it. Shame on you, New York Times, for not knowing better.


Otto Man said...

Just saw on CBS that even Ariel Sharon called the Israeli attacker a "terrorist." You think the media might be able to follow suit.

And then I saw that a group of right-wing rabbis have said a prayer for Sharon's death because of his role in the withdrawal of the settlements. Nice. They made the same prayers against Rabin, and he was soon assassinated. (I'm not implying any causality there, unless we're talking about a nutcase who saw the rabbis' actions as a greenlight for murder.)

I've always been struck by the irony over the settlements. Israel is a country populated by people who were pushed off their land by the lebensraum policy of Nazi Germany and tormented as its untermenschen, and yet they've applied their own versions of both policies to the Palestinians. There are certainly differences in degree here, but the underlying principles seem close enough.

I'm not trying to excuse extremism or terrorism on either side of this, but I can't stand it when Israelis wonder why the West Bank settlements have provoked any anger from the Palestinian side. You'd think -- of all people -- they'd be the ones to understand.

Lew Scannon said...

In the eyes of the American media, Israel and pro-Israel types can do no wrong. When Irv Rubin, former head of the JDL was arrested for plotting to Bomb a US mosque and a California congressman's office, two terrorist acts, he was never labeled a "terrorist".

Thrillhous said...

Interesting, StudD. The same can be said for homegrown crapheads such as Eric Rudolph. You never hear him called a terrorist.

Don't forget, the administration has instructed the media to call "terror" "violent extremism," so maybe NYT is just trying to carry their water - again.

Mr Furious said...

Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, called the shootings "a reprehensible act by a bloodthirsty Jewish terrorist who sought to attack innocent Israeli citizens."

August 5, 2005 -- The only day I will agree with Ariel Sharon.

Otto Man said...

The only homegrown folks who are called terrorists are the leftist "eco-terrorists" of groups like Earth First.

Right-wing versions -- Rudolph, McVeigh, the guys who shoot abortion doctors -- they're always "extremists."

Scott said...

If you want to get technical, I would define "extremist" as someone who takes his or her politics to the extreme - to the point of killing the sinners and all that.
A "terrorist" is probable also an extremist, but one whose aims are to terrorize the population. His or her goals are meant to affect change over a broad spectrum of the population, and is not merely acting out of rage or passion.
The Unabomber was a terrorist who aimed to strike fear in people's hearts. Eric Rudolph may just be an extremist who felt it was his job to smite evildoers.
In the long run, does the distinction matter? I don't think so, but I also don't think the words are identical, either.