10 Responses to Cordial and Sanguine, Part 62: C4SS@BHL

  1. Irfan Khawaja July 7, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

    Thanks for writing the Israel post. Reading Fernando Teson’s “Hang Tough, Israel” post at BHL was like reading Leonard Peikoff or Yaron Brook on the same subject–embarrassing. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to Teson or Aguinis that if you’re going to describe “Israeli youth” in one clause of a sentence, the contrasting clause should make reference to “Palestinian youth,” not “the youth of Hamas or Hezbollah,” as though Palestinian youth were, as a whole, reducible to a faceless mass of terrorist fanatics.

    I’d be curious to ask Teson pointblank how much face time he’s ever had with Palestinian youth, and if he hasn’t had very much (as I’d surmise), what conceivable basis he could have for a generalization of the sort he endorses in that post. How fluent is his Arabic, by the way? Evidently not fluent enough to list on his CV. But then: how could a person who speaks no Arabic know what Palestinian youth are like? Imagine generalizing about American youth but being unable to string together a sentence in English. That’s the caliber of the discussion he’s initiated, present company excepted.

    Around this time last year, I was in Hebron and vicinity. The contrast between Israeli and Palestinian youth was instructive. I watched “youthful” Israeli soldiers take over the village of Beit Umar by force of arms–machine guns, tear gas, armed vehicles–blocking its roads so that settlers could help themselves to its resources. Meanwhile, unarmed Palestinian youth confronted them and remonstrated with them by discourse. That’s not a data point for a generalization about “Israeli youth” and “Palestinian youth.” It’s a data point against facile generalizations of any kind.

    An ordinary day in Beit Umar:


    Here are those wonderful Israeli youth, in action:


    Imagine doing this in a historically black neighborhood in the US.

    More Israeli youth, hanging tough:


    I think Uri Davis overstates the issue, but there’s plenty of truth in that video.


    • Roderick July 8, 2014 at 1:54 am #

      Thanks for the comment and links. I have betweeted you.

    • Thomas Knapp July 8, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

      “how could a person who speaks no Arabic know what Palestinian youth are like?”

      Maybe he speaks Hebrew? A large number of Palestinians are Jews (they’re called “Israelis”).

      • Irfan Khawaja July 8, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

        Teson doesn’t list Hebrew as a language on his CV, so I assume he doesn’t speak it. He was contrasting Israeli Jews (on the one hand) with Palestinians and Arabs (on the other), so the point you’re making about “Palestinian Israeli Jews” is irrelevant to what he was saying. Anyway, very, very few Israeli Jews would ever refer to themselves as “Palestinians,” so though your claim sounds clever, I actually find it a bit silly (and so would most Israeli Jews, along with most Palestinian Arabs).

        The bottom line, however, is that since on any construal, “Palestinian” has to include Gazans, East Jerusalemites, and West Bankers, and their native language is Arabic, a person without Arabic sounds like–and would be–a fool to generalize about them without being able to have a conversation with one. In which predicament I say he stands.

        I don’t know a great deal about Marcos Aguinis, but if this article is any indication of his knowledge of the region and its issues, he’s a crude propagandist at the level of Joan Peters, from whom he seems to have gotten a good part of his rhetorical playbook.


        No me gusta ser apologista, pero hay hechos demasiado evidentes que se tratan de negar falazmente.

        Delete the “No” and the whole second clause, and you have a good summary of what’s really going on here.

        • Sheldon Richman July 9, 2014 at 10:21 am #

          The relatively few Jews who lived in Palestine before the State of Israel was established, who opposed its establishment (for reasons now palpably valid), and who wished nothing but to live in peace side by side with their Arab neighbors would surely qualify as Jewish Palestinians. I doubt if any of them are left.

      • Roderick July 8, 2014 at 11:09 pm #

        Tom: the word “rectangle” has a broad sense that includes squares and a narrow sense that excludes them; this is how the English language works.

    • Sheldon Richman July 9, 2014 at 10:15 am #


      Always great to read your take!

  2. Irfan Khawaja July 8, 2014 at 9:11 am #

    Thanks. I suppose I left out the most topical video of all:


    Personally, I think those Israeli soldiers could have been tougher on that prone and defenseless teenager. The nerve of the kid! To lie there like that.

    As you watch this video, just keep repeating the following Tesonite mantras to yourself in the hopes that they’ll erase what you’re watching:

    Does it matter that the Israeli youth dream with being inventors and scientists, while the youth of Hezbollah and Hamas dream with being martytrs?

    Though it isn’t obvious to the non-expert eye, the soldiers in the video were actually daydreaming a cure for the common cold.

    Already several generations of stoic Israeli citizens have defended the country with one hand while working with the other.

    Of course, but sometimes they need a break from all that, such as when they need both hands (and feet) to beat up unconscious teenagers.

    • Roderick July 8, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

      If you want to combine these two comments into a single comment, I’d like to post the whole thing as a guest post on here, and also include the whole thing in another post on BHL and/or C4SS.

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