Monday, February 13, 2006

Keeping Track Of Folks' Humanity

Eric Alterman may be a coward, but he still does some good work. Reminds me to two things:

1) Juan Cole said a long time ago (and, I'm paraphrasing/re-wording greatly) that just because someone is disastrously wrong/evil on one/some/most things, we should not totally discount their opinions on everything, forever. [Sorry - I didn't feel like looking up the ref.]

This lesson, which I believe is a valuable one, is something I took to heart right away. It reminds me of something said by Brother Cornel a while ago (paraphrasing):

2) You have to 'keep track of the humanity of the very people who have dehumanized you.'

In that regard, we give Alterman a chance to do some good in the world by pointing out that there are many other people in the world like Chomsky who believe in freedom and peace:

In IPF Friday, MJ Rosenberg writes about an Israeli, an Orthodox Jew, Yitzhak Frankenthal, whose 19-year old son, Arik, was kidnapped and murdered by Hamas. Did that turn him into a hawk, a hater of Palestinians? On the contrary, he vowed 'not to become another bereaved parent who lost a son only to support the very policies and conditions that led to his death.' He liquidated his business and now devotes his life to promoting reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. He has met with the Hamas leadership and addressed Hamas crowds in Gaza. He has no illusions about them but argues that Israel and the United States should start talking to them. He thinks that if Hamas believes Israel is serious about getting out of the West Bank, they will be ready for a deal. Unlike American Jewish hawks, this man's words merit serious consideration. He lost his son, he is an Israeli. Why is it that the most heroic and fearless hawks all seem to live in New York and L.A.?

I guess if you're an Israeli and your son is killed by Hamas, then that's one way to get Alterman to take your arguments seriously. Who knew?

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