23 February 2007

Sound the bell again, professor

It is an old story, and I don't know its source:

A professor of anthropology visits a Bedouin camp to investigate this or another habit of the tribe. Feeling thirsty, he looks around for a well and finds it. Near the well he observes (professors usually observe, you know...) a donkey with a bell on its neck walking around a pole and powering a water pump via a system of pulleys, levers and whatnot attached to it. The donkey walks, the bell dingles, the water gurgles - a sweet country idyll, in short.

Suddenly professor is struck by a thought. He looks around and finds an old Bedouin resting in the shadow of a palm tree a way off. Approaching the elder, professor asks, after a usual ceremony of introduction and all the mandatory exchange of polite questions: "Tell me, wise elder: that donkey - what would happen if it stops walking around the pole and instead just shakes its head from time to time? After all, no one is watching it."

"You see," says the wise Bedouin, "that donkey here is not that clever. If it were clever enough to do what you say, it would be already a professor in a university".

And the reason I was reminded of that story is a new "investigative report" on the human rights abuses in the occupied territories by Israel. The report is issued by one John Dugard, a South African law professor who is the UN's special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories. The report is quite long, some of it is true, some of it is based on the say so of the people the learned professor interviewed, nothing of it is new.

No, Israel is not lily white, I am not even trying to hint at this possibility.

But the report, besides not contributing a iota of new information, continues the line of endless "Israeli apartheid" sound bites. It is especially poignant coming from a white South African (some kind of guilt transfer or what?). And the way our professor, not even being an anthropologist, comes to the "apartheid" label is:

After describing the situation for Palestinians in the West Bank, with closed zones, demolitions and preference given to settlers on roads, with building rights and by the army, he said: "Can it seriously be denied that the purpose of such action is to establish and maintain domination by one racial group (Jews) over another racial group (Palestinians) and systematically oppressing them?
How exactly Jews and Arabs are split into two racial groups is up to professor to explain. Probably a short course in anthropology will not go amiss in his case. There is another pearl of wisdom, this time squarely in professor's professional bailiwick:
Israel denies that this is its intention or purpose. But such an intention or purpose may be inferred from the actions described in this report.
Interesting what would happen if professor Dugard were trying a case in a court of law and attempting to prove someone guilt (or innocence) by inference? I am afraid that both the case and the professor's law diploma will be thrown out into the nearest garbage bin.

And what would you say about the objectiveness of an "investigator" that dismisses the arguments of the other side off hand in the following manner:
He dismissed Israel's argument that the sole purpose of the vast concrete and steel West Bank barrier is for security. "It has become abundantly clear that the wall and the checkpoints are principally aimed at advancing the safety, convenience and comfort of settlers," he said.
In fact, it is not only the manner of the dismissal, but the language in the quote above, that stink to high heaven. It is proved beyond doubt that the (yet unfinished) border fence has already drastically reduced the terrorist acts inside the Green Line. And not a week passes without a wannabe martyr or two being caught at a checkpoint. So whom exactly our professor is calling "settlers"? Isn't he adopting the Hezbollah lexicon that refers to all 6 million Israelis as "settlers", by any chance?

Israel is certainly heavy-handed in its behavior and there is much to be improved in our treatment of Palestinians. To call what Israeli does "apartheid" and to ignore the basic right of the Israeli citizens to be safe is just another link in the endless UN-manufactured chain of sounds that serve no positive goal. Aside of providing our worthy professor with a useful occupation - albeit a monotonous one, somewhat similart to the one described in the donkey's story above.

So - shake your neck again, professor...

Cross-posted on Yourish.com



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