Friday, August 13, 2010

Hippiness: Bang-Bang-Shoot-Shoot

Here’s another news item that might be food for thought and dinner-table conversation.

One of the last refuges for hippiness is the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash.

There you will find the highest concentration of Birkenstocks and facial hair in the Western hemisphere.

Evergreen is so Left they make Cal (Berkeley) look like Tea Partiers.

In Evergreen, the board of the “Co-op” market voted last month to boycott produce from the Land of Israel.

Here is a handy guide to responding to someone you meet who wants to stop supporting Israel or worse wants to harm Israel.

First, acknowledge that their motive is valid: strong feelings about the living conditions of many Arabs living in lands adjacent to the Jewish state.

We have seen images and heard accounts of these conditions that are very upsetting. These narratives have persuaded us that (1) we are getting an unfiltered, objective understanding of the conditions and (2) the blame for these conditions lies mostly, if not solely on the Israeli government, and therefore by extension on the Israeli people who put that government in power.

Given the volume of information that has informed this conclusion, it would take an equally great volume of counter-information in order to change someone’s opinion.

Most people you meet will not be interested in this kind of education.

I would, however, suggest making these three points:

(Point 1) The fact that I am Jewish does not mean that I have an irrational bias towards Israel. There are plenty of Jewish people who are anti-Israel. But it has been my personal experience as well as that of others that the more one pauses to hear all sides of a story, the more one’s own views tend to moderate.

The question is, are you interested in what is true, or are you interested in bashing-Israel, regardless of the facts?

Because if you are interested in what is true, I would dare say that you cannot honestly claim that you are well-informed if you haven’t examined the evidence on these websites:

Examine them well, with an open mind, and then send me an email to tell me you still see the blame as one-sided. I don’t believe I will receive any emails.

If you don’t want to take the time to become well-informed, then at least be intellectually honest enough to admit you are taking an emotional stance and not a reasoned one.

Point number 2:

Even from within the world-view of the emotional stance, a boycott of Israeli products doesn’t really make sense.

I’ll explain.

A boycott means “we cannot in good conscience trade in Israeli produce.”

Does the boycotter’s computer contain an Intel Core Dual chip? Better stop using it. Invented in Israel. Every local-grown peach you ring up on that register is using an Israeli product. Not to mention the computers you have at home and everywhere else. Get rid of them.

Well, you already have the computers, don’t want to throw them out. But don’t buy a new one with the Windows NP, XP or Vista. These operating systems were all developed in Israel.

I should add Microsoft Office, also an Israeli-developed product. I wonder if we would have any anti-Israel flyers without Israel’s help. Sorry to point out an inconvenient truth.

While we’re at it, let’s mention some other Israeli inventions in the computer industry that you should add to your boycott: Firewalls and Virus protection software, cellphones, cellphone cameras, and AIM and ICQ instant messaging technology. There is even an important search algorithm used by Google that was invented – guess where? As soon as you leave this forum and go googling, you’re supporting Israel. Do you use Skype or other VOIP service? Invented in Israel. Better move back to the local phone company.

I wonder how many American farmers use drip irrigation. That’s an Israeli invention. So are many of the solar power technologies that we use in the United States.

I hope the emotional boycotters never get sick, because the following are some of the medical technologies that you’re going to have to avoid:

• Computerized prescription systems
• The ingestible camera pill
• Babysense anti-SIDS monitor
• Copaxone, which is an MS drug
• Mirabel breast cancer detection

In fact, thanks to Teva pharmaceutical, 1/15 of all prescriptions in the US come from Israel. Make sure you let your doctor know that you don’t want any of these life-saving Israeli products.

That is, if you are being intellectually honest. Or are you a boycotter of convenience?

Point #3

What if the Boycott Israel campaign is the product of forces of evil? Israel has a better human rights record than any country in the Middle East. This is a fact that you can verify. Boycotting people who do so much good in the world is a tactic that has been used in the past by ideologues who wanted to delegitimize Jews, or the Jewish State, regardless of these facts.

In summary:

• Inform yourself using multiple sources and form an educated opinion.
• Consider the absurdity – the impossibility - of a true boycott
• Consider the possibility that joining a boycott supports the political-religious agenda of the most radical people in the world. The Palestinian Authority doesn’t boycott Israel but Hamas does. Which side will you choose?
Finally, here’s a film worth watching and showing:

Shabbat Shalom

“Some people like the Jews, and some do not. But no thoughtful man can deny the fact that they are, beyond any question, the most formidable and the most remarkable race which has appeared in the world.” - Churchill

1 comment:

Berd said...

Dear Rabbi Seinfeld, these are interesting opinions you present. I can't say I agree with the thrust of your argument. Still it is good to know what you're thinking. Thanks for sharing. - BERD