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The Ugly and the Bigoted

Since when did we did we take a Neo-Nazi’s advice?

On October 16, the Independent ran a Voice in which the writer related her shock at seeing Jewish Federation of Santa Barbara flags lining State Street. In response, it is necessary to refute the false information and facts the writer, Marcy Winograd, used to back up her opinions regarding supporting the federation and Israel itself.

One of the writer’s most atrocious statements was, “To white supremacists like Richard Spencer, the Charlottesville Neo-Nazi leader, a self-described ‘white Zionist’ who wants a homeland for white people, Israel is the model for ethnic cleansing.” First of all, it is important to note that Richard Spencer is a neo-Nazi. For those who aren’t aware, Nazis wished for and continue to wish for the annihilation of the Jewish people. According to the Washington Post, Spencer, at the very Charlottesville rally the writer mentions, “mocked Charlottesville’s Jewish mayor, Mike Signer. ‘Little Mayor Signer — “See-ner” — how do you pronounce this little creep’s name?’ Spencer asked. The crowd responded by chanting, ‘Jew, Jew, Jew.'” So, one would have to go through very strange mental acrobatics to state that Spencer somehow admires Israel, the country created in the homeland of the Jewish people.

But wait a moment. Wouldn’t most Americans, nay, moral people, consider Spencer to be a crazy person, leader of a strange, obsolete hate group? Yes. Yet, the writer quotes him, using his viewpoint — his opinion — as proof that Israel is somehow an “ethnic state.” Since when did we base facts on the opinions of crazy people?

However, I’m sure there are those who still believe that Israel is somehow what the writer claims, regardless of her use of Spencer’s quote. Israel is by no means an ethnic state; nor does Zionism, the principle upon which it is founded, advocate for it to be one. Theodore Herzl, the man who invented to modern zionist movement, wrote in June 1895, “it goes without saying that we shall respectfully tolerate persons of other faiths and protect their property, their honor, and their freedom with the harshest means of coercion. This is another area in which we shall set the entire old world a wonderful example … Estate owners who are attached to their soil … will be offered a complete transplantation – to any place they wish, like our own people. …If this offer is not accepted either, no harm will be done. … we shall simply leave them there.”

Since the founding of Israel in 1948, the country has kept closely to Herzl’s original image. In fact, Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East. According to Eric Rozenman, a former congressional press secretary and reporter for the Ohio Scripps-Howard Newspapers, Israel is, “A true democracy, with independent courts, free press, independent political parties and equal rights for all citizens, including women and non-Jewish minorities – unlike any of the 21 Arab states” it is surrounded by. In terms of population growth alone, Israeli Arabs have the highest rate of natural increase in the world. In her article for CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis) Tamar Sternthal writes: “According to both leading demographers and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the Palestinian population in Israel has been steadily increasing since 1997. This may perhaps be due in part to the fact that Israeli Arabs enjoy one of the lowest infant mortality rates among Arabs on earth. A United Nations report by Palestinian researchers cited a UNICEF study that identified an infant mortality rate of more than 100 per 1,000 live births when Israel first began to administer the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in 1967 (Hassan Abu-Libdeh and others, 1992). Under Israeli rule, the Palestinian infant mortality rate fell to 22.3 per 1,000 by 2000 (CIA Factbook, 2000) and dropped again to 19.2 per 1,000 by 2006 (CIA Factbook, 2006).”

Furthermore, Arabs are a part of Israeli culture just as much as any other citizen. According to Alex Saffian, a writer for CAMERA, “Unlike neighboring Arab countries, Israel has free elections, a free press, full religious freedom, and full rights for women and minorities, including gays. In Israel there are Arab legislators in the Knesset, Arab diplomats in the Foreign Ministry, Arab generals in the Israel Defense Forces, and also Arab judges.”

Not a very good ethnic-cleansing state if you ask me. I’m sure Spencer would agree.

In an act that most high school teachers would consider worse than citing Wikipedia, the writer uses a person’s (a Nazi’s) opinion as proof for a fact. Yet, even without this ridiculous error, most, if not all, of her claims are factually incorrect or exaggerated. I suggest she reads a little Mein Kampf if she wants to better understand exactly what ethnic cleansing and hate are. Perhaps then she might understand that she is a part of the problem, not the solution.

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