We let Jackie Robinson play ball 62 years ago

on 76 Comments

Ali Abunimah read aloud this clipping from Ynet before his speech last Saturday at Hampshire. I’m republishing most of it below. Recently I said that Israeli elections are 45 years behind ours because the Democratic Party finally seated Mississippi blacks after 1964, and Israelis still don’t give Palestinian Arab parties power in creating governing coalitions. Well, sports are even further behind us.

Beitar Jerusalem captain Aviram Baruchyan met Thursday evening with fans belonging to the "La Familia" organization and apologized for saying that he would like to see an Arab play in the football team.

The fans told him they were hurt by the remark he made about 10 days ago at an anti-violence conference.

Baruchyan said at the end of Thursday’s meeting, "The most painful thing is that I unfortunately hurt Beitar’s fans, and I understood that I hurt them very much. It’s important for me that the players know and that everyone knows that I am with them through thick and thin, and I don’t care what other people think or write.

"However," he added, "it’s important for me to stress that I’m not the one who decides on these things, but if at the moment the fans don’t want it, there won’t be an Arab player in Beitar."

76 Responses

  1. Oscar
    November 25, 2009, 7:41 pm

    Phil, this was the most shocking moment of the entire video. (Especially in light of the Jackie Robinson angle of the Mets recently hosting the Hebron Fund at Citi Field.)

    Hearing the coach grovel to the fans that he would keep his team ethnically pure? An almost tear-filled apology for even to dare dream that an Arab would play on the home team ever? Pathetic. As much as the progressive malign David Duke, he’s far more evolved as a human being than these mongoloids.

  2. potsherd
    November 25, 2009, 8:51 pm

    The evidence of Israeli racism is so thick on the ground you can’t walk without stepping in it, but somehow it’s invisible to the US media.

  3. Chaos4700
    November 25, 2009, 8:54 pm

    Witty’s “democratic AND Jewish” in action.

  4. Richard Witty
    November 25, 2009, 9:35 pm

    You got backbone too, Phil?

    Did you ask Ali any hard questions?

    • Chaos4700
      November 25, 2009, 10:21 pm

      You know, if I had friends who treated me the way you treat Mr. Weiss, I would estrange from them.

      Oh wait, I did. And ironically enough, they’re Israelis.

    • syvanen
      November 25, 2009, 10:23 pm

      Witty I am one of the few here that believes you try to be well meaning but that you keep on getting tangled up in the basic contradictions between zionism and basic human decency. But this question of yours calls my judgement into question. Don’t you see that there is something fundamentally wrong with excluding native Palestinians that are now Israeli citizens from participating in public sporting events? What possible hard questions do you think should be asked of Ali, who is just reporting this story and not a participant? Please give us a good question that if Ali answered incorrectly would make this story less horrifying? I really do not understand what you are trying to say here.

      • Richard Witty
        November 26, 2009, 5:32 am

        A prominent author advocating for a single-state with right of return for all Palestinian descendants, not a participant?

        He was not a participant in the football story. It does stun, no question. I dare say that similar questions have been asked of Palestinian athletes with similar pressures to conform, and similarly along racial lines.

        I questioned Phil’s and his colleagues’ softball journalism when he was in Gaza. I can actually understand the reluctance to ask difficult questions there, and insist on answers. There he was a “guest”.

        In Amherst? Maybe the pressures to conform when in an audience of dissenters would be exceptional.

        I don’t know. Maybe he asked difficult and compelling questions, and just didn’t report that hear, perhaps self-censoring.

  5. Cliff
    November 25, 2009, 11:53 pm

    Instead of speak out against the mainstream and accepted racism in Israeli Jewish society – the Nazi Witty, changes the subject.

    • wondering jew
      November 26, 2009, 12:42 am

      Cliff- Please try to find a less loaded word than Nazi.

      • syvanen
        November 26, 2009, 12:48 am

        Good advice. I too find that kind of language so grating. It does make it more difficult to engage in substantive criticism with that kind of noise going on.

      • Chaos4700
        November 26, 2009, 1:24 am

        Funny, Zionists get to throw that word around rather indiscriminately. Like that Mufti propaganda poster we just had an article on here? Another example of the Zionist belief in Jewish exceptionalism, hm?

      • syvanen
        November 26, 2009, 2:19 am

        Yes they do. But that is not reason for us to emulate their repulsive arguments. They are reduced to these arguments because the whole zionist enterprise is intellectually and morally bankrupt. We should take advantage of those elements in this debate that is on our side. Namely, the truth and common decency. Let them rave like madmen about how today is the same as 1938 and how minor powers like Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas are ready to conquer the world. It is easy to deal with these arguments. It is not necessary to call them Nazis, we should just point out the absurdity of their positions and laugh at them (and especially at that silly fool Witty who is their local spokesman).

      • Chaos4700
        November 26, 2009, 9:07 am

        Pointing and laughing at Bush didn’t stop him from dragging the United States into two wars, establishing the US as a nation that tortures and completely dismantling what was left of our economy. We can be polite after people stop suffering and getting murdered.

  6. Cliff
    November 25, 2009, 11:59 pm

    Phil where is the Q and A section from the Ali vid?

  7. carnas
    November 26, 2009, 2:10 am

    Just when you think the level of “journalism” exhibited on this site couldn’t be any lower, you find another ridiculous post by Mr. Weiss – the anti-Zionist left’s version of Fox News.
    Here’s the context Mr. Weiss omits, obviously because he doesn’t know it and doesn’t mind spreading decontextualized information in order to smear:
    The racist Beitar fans discussed here are a violent subgroup of a soccer club known for its hooliganism, which targets anyone who doesn’t fit their mold. Of course, their racism should be rejected, and various steps have been taken to fight it.
    But to discuss them here as if they represent anyone but themselves, while no one would hurl similar accusations against the racist fans of other European soccer teams, is something only a “journalist” like Sean Hannity or Mr. Weiss would do.

    Beitar Jerusalem fans suspected of hurling flare at journalist’s home
    “La Familia was set up in 2005 as a result of dissent among Beitar supporters as to the nature of their desired activity. Its members, who are 16 to 25 years old, attempt to give it an image of underground organization. They are associated with far-right movements, and were sometimes seen among Kahane supporters. The group’s violent record led the Beitar management to disavow them. ”

    Betar Jerusalem Handed Unprecedented Punishment for Fans’ Racism
    link to nif.org

    “Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Monday condemned Beitar Jerusalerm soccer fans for booing during a pre-game moment of silence Sunday marking mark the 12th anniversary of the assassination of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.”

    link to dw-world.de
    “After racist chants in stadiums in Italy and Spain last weekend brought African players to tears, the European Union and soccer’s governing body are planning to get tougher on soccer’s major problem.”
    “Beginning in the 1980s, fans of Ajax’s rivals escalated their antisemitic rhetoric, chanting slogans like “Hamas, Hamas/Jews to the gas” (“Hamas, hamas, joden aan het gas”), hissing to imitate the flow of gas, giving Nazi salutes, etc.[14][16] The eventual result was that many (genuinely) Jewish Ajax fans stopped going to games.”

    • robin
      November 26, 2009, 2:43 am

      I don’t get it. If this is just a fringe group, then why doesn’t the team have any Arab players? And why did the captain feel compelled to disavow his statements? Are other Israeli teams integrated (with Palestinians or other Arabs)?

      • carnas
        November 26, 2009, 2:58 am

        Other Israeli teams do have Arabs on their rosters, and some play for the national team (e.g., in World Cup qualifying games).
        link to en.wikipedia.org
        link to en.wikipedia.org

        This isn’t to say that racism is nonexistent, particularly among soccer fans, but using Beitar as an example of the level of racism in Israel is like taking Palin as representative of political discourse in the US.
        And what about the fact that the US still has teams named things like “Redskins”? Bottom line – Mr. Weiss is barking up the wrong tree.

    • syvanen
      November 26, 2009, 2:52 am

      Thankyou Carnas for acknowledging the racism of Israeli soccer fans. I recall a few years back that large sections of the crowd at one soccer game in Israel began chanting ‘death to the Arabs’. The American people should know this about Israel. I think most would be quite shocked. For sure this is not behaviour that is accepted in the US. Phil is doing a real public service bringing to light this kind of stuff that our dear “ally” is doing.

      • carnas
        November 26, 2009, 2:59 am

        Considering the US still has teams called “Redskins”, I’d shut up if I were you.

      • James Bradley
        November 26, 2009, 3:14 am

        Yea but in the US, people of all elasticities are allowed to play.

        Your going to compare a team called the “redskins” to an Israeli coach apologizing to his fans for even considering allowing a “Palestinian” to play on his soccer team.

        Sorry, Carnas but we just aren’t buying it.

      • carnas
        November 26, 2009, 3:04 am

        Addressing racism’s constant hum in U.S. sports
        link to nytimes.com
        “We like to talk about how much progress we’ve made in America. Let’s not fool ourselves.”

      • James Bradley
        November 26, 2009, 3:16 am

        America has come a long way in regards to racism, and yes we still have a long way to go.

        But that does not mean that we are leaps and bounds ahead of Israeli society in this regard.

        I’m sorry but its not acceptable in the United States to have the coach of a soccer team apologize to the media for even suggesting that he wanted a “Palestinian” to play on his team.

        Just shows you the world of difference between the US and Israel.

      • carnas
        November 26, 2009, 3:23 am

        A. He didn’t apologize to the media; he apologized to the group of racist fans. That’s a big difference. You should try to get the facts right before talking.
        B. Since it took the US hundreds of years to get to the point it is now, after wiping out whole Native American civilizations and enslaving millions of blacks, while Israel has only existed for 60 years, I’d say that Israel is ahead of the US, if anything.

      • Cliff
        November 26, 2009, 3:41 am

        Haha. You’re so dense. Israel doesn’t exist in an era where slavery is socially acceptable. Same goes for its racism towards and hatred for Arabs. It’s colonial foundation, and on-going existence as a colonial-settler State are all out of step w/ the ‘Western’ ‘freedom-loving, terrorist hating, democracy’ blah blah.

        So in the 21st century, the Jewish State is backwards. Moreso when you factor in the Jewish sense of entitlement when it comes to ‘$ocial justice’ [the Jewish Left].

        All that pretentious garbage is even worse when you find out it’s completely farcical.

        So when a Zionist parasite like you compares your pariah State to the US, we should welcome it. It opens you up to all sorts of easy shots.

        Last time I checked, COLONIES were so 15th century.

        Don’t you have to go watch Schindler’s List for the 500th time?

      • syvanen
        November 26, 2009, 3:46 am

        So I guess your argument is that since Israel has only been around 60 years it should be given a chance to practice slavery for another century and in the mean time exterminate the native people who happened to own the land of Palestine just like the other European colonist did over that last 4 centuries in its colonies — and then after that Israel will hold to ethical standards. Very, very interesting proposition you have there. Hey boy, go for it. That sounds like a real winner. You should run out and start another lobby, there must be some like minded folks with the dollars to fund such an operation.

      • syvanen
        November 26, 2009, 4:14 am

        Hey fool if the coach wants to apologize to his fans he does it through the media. That is how communication works. So James statement is factually correct. OMG, you are so stupid, I am embarrassed to even waste my time to point this out.

      • OhioJoes
        November 26, 2009, 7:49 am

        The word Nazi is perfect for describing Israel. The Nazis killed 75% of European Jews, and the Israelis have. . . Ummm. . . Killed dozens! The Palis have quadrupled in number sincr their Nakba/Holocaust. It’s the worlds slowest and most inefficient genocide, but genocide it is!
        Are there abt racist fans of German football, Sylvanen? Just wondering.

      • Chaos4700
        November 26, 2009, 9:05 am

        Still having problems with that reply button, I see, OJ? Maybe if you’d had more military training in the United States instead of Israel, you wouldn’t be displaying such a fantastic capacity to target your attacks. Your comrades on the USS Liberty might have appreciated if you didn’t inherit the Israeli capacity for “accidental fire.”

      • potsherd
        November 26, 2009, 9:18 am

        No, Israel is going backwards. It was founded at a time when racism was acknowledged as an evil, and while the rest of the world has moved away from tolerating it, Israeli racism increases and becomes more acceptable in the general society.

        carnas has his facts correct, but fails to draw the correct conclusion – that the leadership of the team would make a public apology for being insufficiently racist to suit its racist fans is definitely a symptom of racism’s deep hold on Israeli society. In the US, any member of the team known to have uttered such a statement would be out of a job in a nanaosecond and the entire team sentenced to remedial sensitivity training. In Israel – business as usual.

        Nor is this an isolated case, only an extreme one, in a country where members of the government call Arabs “animals.”

      • Colin Murray
        November 26, 2009, 12:33 pm

        that the leadership of the team …. In Israel – business as usual.

        This is an excellent summary.

      • carnas
        November 26, 2009, 2:28 pm

        No, syvanen: Saying that he “apologized to the media” is incorrect, because it implies that the media was upset with what he had said. He apologized to a certain group of fans, and it was reported through the media.
        There’s a difference between the two, but given that you’re working with a small number of functioning neurons, I can see why wouldn’t get it.

      • MRW
        November 26, 2009, 4:12 pm

        Great points you made, Syvanen.

  8. Oscar
    November 26, 2009, 10:47 am

    potsherd is spot-on. Carnas, you have to be kidding. “He didn’t apologize to the media; he apologized to the group of racist fans. That’s a big difference.”

    This makes a “big difference?” The only “big difference” it makes is demonstrating that Israel and the US don’t have “shared values.”

    Anyone remember what happened to Atlanta Braves’ John Rocker when he called a black teammate a “fat monkey” and made numerous racist comments to a Sports Illustrated reporter? Oh, yeah, he became a pariah and was forced out of baseball. link to sportsillustrated.cnn.com

    What about the Cincinnati Reds’ owner Marge Schott? Schott referred to then-Reds outfielders Eric Davis and Dave Parker as “million-dollar niggers” and allegedly said: “I would never hire another nigger. I’d rather have a trained monkey working for me than a nigger.” Major League Baseball banned her from day-to-day operations for three seasons and forced her to sell the team. link to en.wikipedia.org

    And the colorful Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder. Who could forget his history lesson:

    The black is a better athlete to begin with because he’s been bred to be that way — because of his high thighs and big thighs that goes up into his back, and they can jump higher and run faster because of their bigger thighs. This goes back all the way to the Civil War when during the slave trading, the owner — the slave owner would breed his big black to his big woman so that he could have a big black kid.

    He was immediately fired and never had another major announcing job.

    The reason we’re all stunned by the story Ali read is that there are consequences for injecting racism into sports in America. A media frenzy ensues, your professional career is destroyed, and you are ostracized from sports. In Israel, the coach apologized for not being racist enough to — as carnas describes it — “the group of racist fans.” The Israeli media didn’t seem to have any issue with this incident, and reported it without any analysis you’d typically see in the US media.

    It’s a perfect illustration of how the US and Israel truly don’t have “shared values.”

    • potsherd
      November 26, 2009, 11:08 am

      Rush Limbaugh, most recently, was blackballed by the NFL owners when he tried to buy a share in the Rams. They knew the players wouldn’t tolerate his racism.

    • carnas
      November 26, 2009, 2:23 pm

      “The Israeli media didn’t seem to have any issue with this incident, and reported it without any analysis you’d typically see in the US media.”
      How would you know? Do you speak Hebrew or any other ME language? Do you follow the news from Israel? Like the other blabbermouths on this blog, you don’t have a clue.

      • Oscar
        November 26, 2009, 2:38 pm

        carnas, yes, indeed I do. I read haaretz, jpost.com, ynet every day.

        Since you’re convinced I have no clue, then please enlighten me: was the Israeli media outraged over this incident? If so, please provide a link. (In English, please, since as I don’t speak Hebrew.) Ali brought the story up because it has a shockingly racist theme. Please prove Ali and me wrong.

      • carnas
        November 26, 2009, 3:10 pm

        Here’s an example. Sorry, it’s in Hebrew – I don’t think it’s too much to ask people here who pretend to understand the situation in the ME to learn Hebrew and Arabic.
        I’ll translate the first part for you since Google’s translation is terrible:
        “The identification and understanding Aviram Baruchian exhibited towards the hurt feelings of the La Famiglia group attest more than anything to the low level Beitar Jerusalem has reached this season.”
        link to nrg.co.il

      • Oscar
        November 26, 2009, 3:15 pm

        Thank you for this, carnas. I will revisit the situation. Seems to me you agree wholeheartedly that there’s no place for racism in sports, and you are clearly disassociating yourself from the fans of Beitar Jerusalem. I take you at your word.

        Still, this never would have happened in the US. Why do they permit the hooliganism/racism of the Beitar Jerusalem fans? What sort of power do they have over the team that they can force the coach to apologize for aspiring to have an Arab on the team?

      • carnas
        November 26, 2009, 4:03 pm

        Yes, I agree, and I would hope Beitar were punished more severely for their fans’ behavior. Why they’re not is unclear – the league management are just too lenient with these issues. I should add, though, as I said above, that racism is a general problem with soccer, and many European teams fail to appropriately deal with their fans.
        I also believe that most Israeli soccer fans, who aren’t generally on the liberal side of the political spectrum, don’t agree with their racism and hooliganism; at least that’s the impression you get from reading talkbacks, and from the fact that Arab Israelis play for many teams as well as the national team.

      • tree
        November 26, 2009, 4:13 pm

        The segment on Baruchian is quite short, carnas. According to the google translation, which is of course quite butchered, I can’t detect any criticism of the racism of not allowing an Arab soccer player. Perhaps you could translate the short section for us. And perhaps Shmuel could give his translation of the section as well.

        Here’s google’s messy translation:

        2. Beitar’s decision not to attach particular its ranks include Arab player, not dependent on approval or refusal of the captain Aviram Baruchyan. No one was interested until this week what he thought of Aviram issue, and since we know that almost all football players refrain from expressing an opinion in every issue Basically, we did not think it is important to know what think Baruchyan. But unlike the heads of Beitar given street have control generation, Baruchyan expressed an opinion last week exceeded substantive and meaningful about the dramatic nature of Beitar.
        News became a fiery statement, and there were those who rushed to tie him to the media crowns.י But they do not know the dynamics of Jerusalem. Sufficed a few calls Underground leader in Baruchyan doubled, grovelled even announced he did not mean to hurt the feelings of the organizations, headed by her Familia, rewarded with encouraging signs in the stands. Baruchyan, as long as you come here. What do you have of Arabs.

        I don’t get a sense of “media outrage” here. Please enlighten me with a translation.

        2. ההחלטה של בית”ר לצרף ובעיקר לא לצרף שחקן ערבי לשורותיה, לא תלויה בהסכמה או בסירוב של הקפטן אבירם ברוכיאן. אף אחד לא התעניין עד השבוע מה דעתו של אבירם בסוגיה, וכיוון שאנחנו יודעים שכמעט כל שחקני הכדורגל בארץ נמנעים מהבעת דעה בכל סוגיה עקרונית, לא חשבנו שחשוב לדעת מה חושב ברוכיאן. אבל בניגוד לראשי בית”ר שנותנים לרחוב לשלוט בהם כבר שנות דור, ברוכיאן הביע בשבוע שעבר דעה חריגה בעניין מהותי ובעל משמעות דרמטית על אופיה של בית”ר.

        האמירה הפכה לניוז לוהט, וכבר היו כאלה בתקשורת שמיהרו לקשור לו כתרים. אבל הם לא מכירים את הדינמיקה בירושלים. הספיקו כמה טלפונים מראשי המחתרות בעיר וברוכיאן התקפל, התרפס ואפילו הודיע שלא התכוון לפגוע ברגשותיהם של הארגונים, בראשם לה פמיליה, שגמלו לו בשלטי עידוד ביציע. ברוכיאן, העיקר תבוא לפה. מה יש לך מערבים.

      • MRW
        November 26, 2009, 4:16 pm

        “The identification and understanding Aviram Baruchian exhibited towards the hurt feelings of the La Famiglia group attest more than anything to the low level Beitar Jerusalem has reached this season.”

        Oh, gee, that’s is a real take-down. That’s telling ’em, isn’t it, carnas. Searing outrage from the Israeli press, likening the racism to a season’s score. Wow.

      • carnas
        November 26, 2009, 4:23 pm

        I translated part of the headline above, and it’s quite clear in its criticism:
        ““The identification and understanding Aviram Baruchian exhibited towards the hurt feelings of the La Famiglia group attest more than anything to the low level Beitar Jerusalem has reached this season.”
        The rest criticizes the team management for letting these fans control them, and the player for grovelling to the fans and reneging on his statement.
        Here’s another piece, criticizing the media for not being critical enough, although it mentions that one newspaper organized a petition to have an Arab player signed to the team, while the other clearly refers to this group of fans as racist and violent.
        link to the7eye.org.il

      • MRW
        November 26, 2009, 4:23 pm

        Good post, tree.

      • MRW
        November 26, 2009, 4:25 pm

        The rest criticizes the team management for letting these fans control them, and the player for grovelling to the fans and reneging on his statement.

        Like I said. Real outrage. Over control, and being a freirer.

      • Shmuel
        November 26, 2009, 5:11 pm

        Translation:The decision of Beitar to hire and especially not to hire an Arab player does not depend on the agreement or refusal of the captain, Aviram Beruchyan. Until this week, no one cared what he thought about the matter, and since we know that almost all football players in Israel refrain from expressing an opinion on any important issue, we did not think it was important to know what Beruchyan thinks. Unlike the heads of Beitar however, who have allowed the “street” to control them for years, Beruchyan, last week expressed an unusual opinion on a fundamental issue, of dramatic importance to the character of Beitar.

        The statement became hot news, and there were some in the media who were already congratulating him, but they don’t know the dynamics in Jerusalem. A few calls from the leaders of the “undergrounds” in the city, and Beruchyan folded, grovelled and even declared that he had not meant to hurt the feelings of the organisations, first and foremost La Famiglia, who repaid him with banners of encouragment in the stands. Beruchyan, the important thing is that you come here. What do you care about Arabs?

      • tree
        November 26, 2009, 5:18 pm

        Thanks, Shmuel! I’ve got to run, out the door to begin my week long vacation. Best to you and yours and to everyone here, including carnas. See you all in a week.

      • MRW
        November 26, 2009, 5:45 pm

        Thanks for the translation, Shmuel. It’s a far cry from what carnas intimated. And certainly La Famiglia was not booed in the stands for their subsequent banner approval, as they would have been here.

    • MRW
      November 26, 2009, 5:42 pm

      Thanks for the research, Oscar.

  9. potsherd
    November 26, 2009, 2:36 pm

    Most of the people who post on this site seem to follow the news from Israel and the Israeli press on a regular basis.

    As opposed to those who have nothing to add to the discourse but insults.

    • carnas
      November 26, 2009, 3:11 pm

      They follow the news in English. It’s not the same. As I said above, I don’t think it’s too much to ask people here who pretend to understand the situation in the ME to learn Hebrew and Arabic.

      • James Bradley
        November 26, 2009, 3:26 pm

        Many of us do speak Arabic, including myself, and many of us do speak Hebrew as well.

        Your straw man argument is not going to work here.

      • Shmuel
        November 26, 2009, 3:34 pm

        Carnas:I don’t think it’s too much to ask people here who pretend to understand the situation in the ME to learn Hebrew and Arabic.

        Just curious, carnas. How’s your Arabic, and what Arabic-language media do you follow on a regular basis?

      • carnas
        November 26, 2009, 4:05 pm

        My Arabic’s very good, thank you. I don’t have the time to follow the Arab press as much as I’d like to, but I wouldn’t pretend to know exactly what’s going on in the Arab world simply from perusing headlines in English.

      • MRW
        November 26, 2009, 4:22 pm

        Hey, carnas, do you populate this blog for the Israeli govt? You one of the hired, military or otherwise, paid to write on American blogs? Inquiring minds want to know…

      • carnas
        November 26, 2009, 4:28 pm

        I’m not getting paid by anyone. You might want to get the idea that everyone who speaks Hebrew and Arabic is an Israeli govt. spokesman out of your head; some of us can form our own opinions based on reading enough in all the relevant languages.
        Why don’t you ask Shmuel if he gets paid by the Palestinians?

      • olive
        November 26, 2009, 4:54 pm

        I doubt that Palestinians would have the money to pay someone to counter Hasbara on the internet…

      • Shmuel
        November 26, 2009, 5:18 pm

        Why don’t you ask Shmuel if he gets paid by the Palestinians?

        Damn, there goes my cover. Unfortunately, my paycheck has been held up in Gaza for a couple of years. Fortunately, I have a day job :-)

      • Tuyzentfloot
        November 26, 2009, 5:39 pm

        I think you’re all looking at it the wrong way. There is a budget for internet hasbara, and those who manage the budget are only too glad that you’re not asking for compensation. The word ‘freiers’ comes to mind…

        The occasional visitor Awamori is probably getting compensated, but he only gets to talk about Goldstone – on every type of forum you can imagine – sounds like fun.

      • tree
        November 26, 2009, 3:38 pm

        And, of course, anyone who pretends to understand the situation in Iran needs to learn Farsi. Don’t talk about North Korea unless you understand Korean, no discussion of apartheid South Africa can be understood unless you know Afrikaans, and certainly one cannot understand Darfur unless one learns Fur or Konjara.

        And of course, historically, one can not understand Nazi Germany unless one knows German.

        Does any of this make sense? Of course not.

      • Shmuel
        November 26, 2009, 3:53 pm

        I’d take that a little further, tree. It’s not enough “merely” to know the language. One must be completely immersed in the culture or cultures in question, to venture an opinion on … anything!

        Does any of this make sense? Of course not.

      • carnas
        November 26, 2009, 4:07 pm

        You can talk about these countries as much as you like. You’d still have less access to information and by default know less about them than someone who speaks their language.

      • MRW
        November 26, 2009, 4:17 pm

        Shmuel speaks the language.

      • tree
        November 26, 2009, 4:23 pm

        Not necessarily. There are numerous native speakers of various countries who are in fact completely ignorant of what is going on in their own countries or other ones who share the same language. It makes it easier to stay informed if you understand the language, but simply understanding the language does not by default make one more knowledgeable. It is a logical fallacy to claim otherwise.

        One of the things that makes it easier for English speakers to understand the situation in Israel/Palestine is that so many native Israeli/Palestinian writers also speak English, or have had their works translated into English.

      • carnas
        November 26, 2009, 4:31 pm

        Ceteris paribus, you would know more if you knew the language. People who actually do research learn the languages, so having translated works isn’t enough, despite your excuses.

      • tree
        November 26, 2009, 4:39 pm

        Still waiting for that translation, carnas. Its only two paragraphs.

      • tree
        November 26, 2009, 4:47 pm

        Yes, “all other things being equal”, it would be helpful to know the language. But knowing the language, by itself, does not equate to “all other things being equal”. Your statement,

        “You’d still have less access to information and by default know less about them than someone who speaks their language.”

        is still a logical fallacy, because it assumes “ceteris paribus” that doesn’t necessarily exist. Having access to that information and knowing, or caring to know, that information are two different things.

      • Shmuel
        November 26, 2009, 4:51 pm

        Access is helpful, carnas, but not nearly as important as curiosity, balance, open-mindedness and the ability to process information. I’ve come across many people who know neither Hebrew nor Arabic, but have a far deeper understanding than most Hebrew or even Hebrew and Arabic speakers I know. I see absolutely no correlation. There are a lot of reasons for this, including the “wisdom” that distance gives, but also the fact that there is far more deep analysis of the situation going on in English than in any other language. Those who know other languages will have access to even more information, but will not necessarily have any greater understanding.

        If I may get a little personal, you say that you read both Hebrew and Arabic, yet I find your understanding of both Israel and the Arab world superficial and closed-minded. I’m not trying to insult you, but to point out that I really fail to see what superior understanding your knowledge of Hebrew gives you (I’ll leave the Arabic to someone else). There are people here who know no Hebrew, yet run circles around you in terms of breadth of knowledge and depth of understanding of the situation in I/P.

      • James Bradley
        November 26, 2009, 4:58 pm

        you would know more if you knew the language.

        IF that’s the case Carnas, why is it that you know absolutely nothing about the situation?

      • carnas
        November 26, 2009, 5:02 pm

        How surprising – if someone agrees with your point of view, they must be a great expert on the ME!
        Also, knowing Hebrew and Arabic doesn’t exclude knowing and reading relevant English literature. In fact, I speak all three languages, and nonetheless come to conclusions which are different from yours. It must be difficult for you to deal with the fact that not everyone parrots your opinions.

      • tree
        November 26, 2009, 5:11 pm

        Still waiting for that translation, carnas. Its been nearly an hour since the request was made. I can think of two possible reasons why you haven’t completed the translation. Number one, the commentary you cited really isn’t “media outrage” at the racism of Betar fans, and the apology of Baruchyan. Number two, your knowledge of Hebrew is overstated and you are having a hard time translating two paragraphs in under an hour. (Perhaps both are operative?) What other possible reason could you have? If you are trying to impress us with your more nuanced understanding, you’re not doing a very good job at convincing anyone when you can’t translate a short bit of Hebrew here.

      • carnas
        November 26, 2009, 5:22 pm

        Tree, I have other things to do besides fulfill your requests. Besides, have you forgotten I’m a paid Israeli govt. agent – why would you ask me to give you information?

      • Shmuel
        November 26, 2009, 5:28 pm

        Here is an example of your misreading a situation in one of the languages you read, jumping to very wrong conclusions. My views have developed over the years, listening to smart people I didn’t agree with. That doesn’t necessarily mean I came to agree with them, just that they made me think and question my own positions. That’s uncomfortable and even painful sometimes, but it’s worth a lot more than the number of languages I read. My negative impression of the views you present here has little to do with the fact that I don’t share them, and everything to do with the fact that they tend to lack depth, coherence and basic humanity.

      • tree
        November 26, 2009, 5:51 pm

        “Tree, I have other things to do besides fulfill your requests.”

        What other things? For someone with other things to do you seem to be hanging out here. You’ve posted numerous times here since the request, all attempting to make the point that you are more knowledgeable on the situation because you understand Hebrew. The best way to make that point would be to translate that cite of yours and prove that it really was an example of “media outrage” in Israel. You failed at both. You couldn’t translate it and, when translated it could hardly be called an example of Israel media outrage at racism. Answering my request could have helped you make a point here, but you failed. Both your points just got exploded by Shmuel.

        I don’t think you are paid, just biased and poorly informed, despite your possible (but likely limited) knowledge of Hebrew.

        Ok, now I’m really gone! (I swear!) TTFN!

      • Tuyzentfloot
        November 26, 2009, 5:54 pm

        There’s a claim about change in companies, that when new people arrive they first have to learn the new environment. Then after 6 to 9 months they start to understand the mechanics and start becoming able to bring fresh insight. After a few years though they’re fully absorbed in the company culture and you can’t expect much deviation anymore.
        Being immersed in a system for a long time helps some forms of insight, and blocks other forms of insight. Being immersed in Israel for a long time is not very helpful for some forms of understanding about that country.

  10. Shmuel
    November 26, 2009, 4:04 pm

    I know a Brazilian who used to play for Beitar. He’s black, and regularly had bananas thrown at him. There’s a lot of racism in football. The real issue here is the reaction of the team’s captain. I’m really wondering how Israel’s football authorities have handled this, if at all. I’m betting they haven’t. In Italy, racism by fans but especially by players, is dealt with quite severely, with penalties for the clubs, and broad press coverage.

    • James Bradley
      November 26, 2009, 5:01 pm

      Exactly Shmuel, football racism amongst fans and spectators is a given in many countries not just Israel.

      The problem was how an official of a football team is expected to defend the racism of a teams fans.

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