Sometimes, people wonder why I am a misanthrope. Once in a while, I hear about super cool people like the Internets Celebrities, who make super awesome videos about economic justice, and I am proud to be a humanist, too. Maybe there is hope for people. Then I hear that Helen Thomas, a reporter I had admired for her thoughtful stories about the Bush administration, said that Jews should leave Palestine and go back to Poland and Germany. The best part is that she said this at a White House reception for Jewish American Heritage Month. Cry. Right-wing nutters are screaming about her position in the WH Press Corps and yelling at liberals for "defending" her anti-Semitic comments. Since I'm leaving for a week-long trip to Warsaw on Friday to trace my roots, I believe I am in a good position to weigh in on this. (Quick recap: My grandfather fled there in 1939, and the rest of his family died in the Holocaust. He returned to Poland in the summer of 1946, and he fled again when pogroms killed hundreds of other Jews who had returned.) Sure, it is different today, but I am pretty sure there's no going back there. I'll also add that Jews lived in Palestine well before WWII. That said, it makes me nervous to throw out the anti-Semitic label. Why is every criticism of Israel - and this one takes the cake for being ignorant and offensive - automatically chalked up to general anti-Semitism? I'm plenty critical of Israel's horrid, horrid policies in many areas, but I hardly am anti-Semitic.
Actually, the illegal occupation of the United States doesn't seem too different to me than Israel, except that it happened before we were "civilized" like we are today. Until Americans face up to the land grabs we've made from Indians/Native Americans, I'm not sure that we have the moral high ground to yell at anyone. Is Helen Thomas giving her house back to whatever group of people happened to live there before they were essentially ethnically cleansed, or is it OK because we seized our land so long ago? (Oh, and I love how Ari Fleischer is suddenly a champion of African-Americans. Ugh.)
Speaking of hypocrites, until other Middle Eastern countries stop using the Palestinians as political pawns for their own corrupt regimes, I'm not sure they deserve a voice in the matter, either. The righteous finger pointing reminds me of all the politicians who scream as loud as possible about family values while they personally violate every stricture they impose on others. Everyone in this affair is guilty.
Yeesh. The whole thing makes me want to move into a cave and live with bats. Bats seem more civilized. Damn.