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Monday, March 23, 2015

Baseless Hatred Once Again Rears Its Ugly Head

At the outset I will freely admit this post is childish, petty, and completely beneath the level of normal, polite discourse.  But I have decided that just as I advocate responding in kind to those who physically attack Israel and her citizens, I have come to realize that the only response to incessant ad hominem attacks from right wing lunatics and left wing moonbats alike, is to respond in kind.  

A couple of days ago, Israeli musician / songwriter Yehonaton Geffen caused a small stir when he said that the date of the recent Knesset elections would now be marked as a 'Nakba' for the peace camp, borrowing the Arabic word for 'catastrophe' that is used by our Arab enemies to refer to the founding of the State of Israel.  

Subsequently, Geffen was physically attacked by someone, apparently because of his 'Nakba' statement and/or his outspoken left wing political views.  

I must state emphatically that such an attack is a criminal act, and is completely beyond what can ever be tolerated in a free democratic society.  And I am pleased that it was loudly condemned by people from all across Israel's political spectrum.

But apparently another lefty Israeli entertainer was feeling left out of the spotlight, as Israeli singer, Achinoam Nini (AKA Noa to her fans) complained to the media that upon returning to Israel, she too was allegedly 'attacked' by a right winger because of her political views.

According to news reports, Nini said that she was subjected to "curses and insults" at the airport, upon returning from a trip abroad.  I guess when a a person holding left wing views says horrible things about someone on the right, it is an expression of free speech.  When the tables are turned, it is an 'attack'.

After all, I don't recall Achinoam Nini making any statements condemning left wing Israeli artist Yair Garbuz's speech in front of thousands of people in Rabin Square last week attacking more than half of Israel's citizens when he bemoaned the fact that, "Kissers of amulets, idol-worshipers and people who bow down and prostrate themselves on the graves of saints" were 'given' control over the State of Israel. [source]

I can forgive a doddering old fool like Garbuz for momentarily forgetting that control of the country is not something that is 'given' like some Bolshevik political favor.  It was / is won via the democratic processes of our vibrant democracy that has, much to his dismay, marginalized Israel's political left.  

In fact, many on the left are howling mad that the country has repeatedly used the ballot to unambiguously express their weariness with failed policies of appeasement and surrender; preferring to entrust successive right wing governments with the power to decide when we will have a viable peace partner with whom to negotiate.

But Achinoam Nini is neither doddering, nor a fool, and deserves no such forgiveness.  She gave full-throated voice to opinions that, in any other place or context, would be soundly denounced as bigoted.  

Here is a sample of her statements:

The best thing about the horrible election results is that we will now have a clear delineation of stances, with everyone coming out of their holes – including the ugly radical right wing victors, drunk from their victory, who will show off their ugly faces, along with the good people, like Geffen.


Note that Nini didn't say that the positions held by the right wing voters were 'objectionable' or 'ugly', but rather that the right wing voters themselves were ugly (and presumably, bad), while those on the left are beautiful and good!

This sort of ad hominem attack is, IMHO, what's wrong with Israeli politics, and I, for one, am not going to sit idly by without responding in kind.

Achinoam Nini may have a beautiful voice and be an accomplished musician, but since she has decided to attack me and my fellow right wing voters on the basis of our physical appearance,  I have  decided to state that Achinoam Nini is ugly.  

This is not an opinion.  It is objectively provable.  

She has bugged out eyes, a long hooked nose, an overbite so pronounced that she could easily eat an apple through a picket fence, and hair that resembles a straw broom.


Ms. Nini, I may, indeed, be ugly.  But that cannot undo the fact that my political views are held by the majority of this democracy's voting public.  

My advice to Achinoam Nini is to stick to what she does best and to not try to invent an 'attack' in order to try to make herself relevant.  She is a talented musician, but an inept political pundit. 

And for the record, despite my earlier statements about Achinoam Nini's looks, I admit I was being petty and childish.  Truth be told, the whole of her beauty far exceeds the sum of her unconventional features.  

Sadly, it is her baseless hatred and bigotry that remain ugly and beyond redemption.

Posted by David Bogner on March 23, 2015 | Permalink


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Well David, talking about looks, once again you have managed to make me look totally ridiculous laughing out loud at my computer screen. I agree with every word, second your objectively provable statement, and really like your concluding observation the whole of her beauty far exceeds the sum of her unconventional features - in a way this to me reflects the people of Israel.... (-:

Posted by: Daphna | Mar 23, 2015 3:51:38 PM

Personally, I think she's pretty. She has beautiful eyes, lovely hair, and a strong nose. I've kept reading your blog loyally for the last 10 years or so (wow!) because I enjoy your writing and your perspectives on things even if I don't always agree. This post, though, is very disappointing to me - perhaps the second half of it at least should have been kept in the drawer?

Posted by: Eloise | Mar 23, 2015 3:56:09 PM

Daphna ... Glad the post had at least one of its desired effects.

Eloise ... As with political debate, it is wise to read what I have to say to the end before responding. Just saying.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Mar 23, 2015 4:04:16 PM

I read it to the end, and get your point, I just didn't find that your conclusion overcame my distaste for the middle.

Posted by: Eloise | Mar 23, 2015 5:13:39 PM

I've also been reading your blog for the better part of a decade and have enjoyed almost every post. However, I find quite distasteful what you did in this post. What you wrote at the end doesn't undo what you did in the middle of the post. You singled out an individual and shamed her for her looks, while she merely generalized. She threw a weak left at the entire right wing and you went for her jugular.

Posted by: Meir D | Mar 23, 2015 5:48:35 PM

Eloise ... I'm sorry to disappoint. I hope my track record has bought me a little slack.

Meir D... What I did was petty and childish. What she (and many, many like her) did is dangerous. The first step towards warfare is dehumanizing your enemy. I abhor that behavior regardless of whether it comes from the right or the left. Sadly, it is an anomaly from the right and all-too common from the left. The left was especially adept at this tactic before and during the disengagement from Gaza. They made anyone who didn't agree with both their position and methods out to be monsters. What I did in my post today was to draw attention to the difference between calling an individual ugly and calling an entire segment of the population ugly. It frightens me that anyone could be more offended by the former.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Mar 23, 2015 5:57:07 PM

This is just beneath you in every way, with or without the opening and closing disclaimers. I thought your Hebrew was good enough to know that "פרצופם המכוער" in context is a metaphor and doesn't mean anything to do with physical appearance. There was no ad hominem attack in the first place.

The part about not condemning Yair Garbuz is also neither here nor there. I don't think Ahinoam Nini is the most sophisticated and intelligent political commentator in the country, though her heart seems to be in the right place, but she doesn't have to condemn every idiot on her own side of the political spectrum to get a pass to express her opinion, any more than you do.

And what gives you the right to decide that she 'invented' the attack? Calling her a liar is even worse than the rest of this childish post.

Posted by: Simon | Mar 23, 2015 6:15:20 PM

Simon... My Hebrew is just fine and I respectfully disagree with your contention that it is okay because she was speaking metaphorically. You, like Meir D. seem to think that broad sweeping statements are somehow less dangerous than one-on-one verbal attacks. I respectfully disagree. As to calling her a liar, let's just say that given her celebrity and the crowded conditions where she says the verbal 'attack' took place, it is certainly odd that nobody seems to have witnessed the exchange. If you have information that would shed light on this, I will be happy to walk back my suspicions, and even apologize.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Mar 23, 2015 6:23:31 PM

Bogner, so good to see you still know how to make a point. Evan Sayet sums up the Left best: The modern liberal, there’s something about his ideology that leads him to invariably and inevitably side with evil over good, wrong over right, the lesser over the better, the ugly over the beautiful, the profane over the profound, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success.” As Lily Tomlin used to say, "and that's the truth!"

Posted by: Beth | Mar 23, 2015 6:57:05 PM

What a straw man! I didn't say it was "okay because she was speaking metaphorically", I said her remarks weren't ad hominem in the first place. If it comes to that, they weren't as broad and sweeping as you claim, either: the "ugly face" in question belongs to "the lunatic fringe intoxicated by victory", not all of the right-wing.

If you really think that dehumanizing your enemy is "an anomaly from the right and all-too common from the left", then apparently we don't live in the same country, or even the same planet. It seems like quite an evenly-distributed phenomenon to me, unfortunately, and I fully agree with you that it's what's wrong with Israeli politics, along with the widely-held belief that people from the opposite side of the spectrum shouldn't be allowed to make their voices heard.

Posted by: Simon | Mar 23, 2015 7:24:17 PM

Simon... I respect you far too much as a person and as a writer to begin to parse your comments for things on which to disagree. In fact I'll grant you most of your points. However, I respectfully suggest that you should rethink your "lunatic fringe intoxicated by victory" statement. It can't work both ways. A 'fringe' element can't be victorious in a democratic election, ergo she was addressing her hateful remarks towards the entire right wing. I don't expect you, or anyone to embrace every word I write here. But as I said to a previous commenter: I hope my track record has bought me a little slack.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Mar 23, 2015 7:33:52 PM

The moment I read Noa's statement in your post, my mind flashed back to a moment after the 2004 American Elections. My wife had a Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker on her car and a couple of guys in a pickup came by rolled down their windows and hollered "Losers!" at us. I have no problem identifying those guys as "ugly radical right-wing voters."

I would not, at least prior to today's post, have characterized you in that way.
I will also tell you, as an American having watched this campaign unfold, that this was the most "American" Israeli elections I have seen. It made me sad to watch it. I expect better from countries with Parliamentary Democracies. I watched מחנה ציןני wage a slime job on Netanyahu across the pages of Ha'aretz that made it impossible for me to respect them (or even discern any of their positions). I watched Netanyahu build an entire campaign around Iranian nukes. I watched Bennett run a beautiful ad in which he did a great job of sending up the tendency to apologize for being in the right, but which was too subtle for most viewers to comprehend.

It was an ugly campaign, and the people who did not prevail have steam to blow off.

And all of this vitriol and time and trouble and expense and what do you have? More Bibi. I don't think that's a win for either side. After taking up something that almost looked like a position at the rally on the eve of the elections, he lost no time backpedaling and apologizing for those statements.

Noa's statement is worth a good hard look. Read it against the grain and it says, in essence, that Israeli political life has become as polarized as American political life. And that does not bode well for the Israeli body politic.

Posted by: Rich | Mar 24, 2015 6:12:23 AM

Let's have another good old Photo Friday to defuse the political divisions :)

Posted by: Eloise | Mar 26, 2015 3:45:22 AM

"Noa's statement is worth a good hard look. Read it against the grain and it says, in essence, that Israeli political life has become as polarized as American political life. And that does not bode well for the Israeli body politic."

Considering that Israeli political life has included Ben Gurion ordering the shelling of the Altalena in 1948, thinking Menachem Begin was still on the ship, Noa's statement betrays how little she knows.

Posted by: Bozoer Rebbe | Mar 29, 2015 9:06:27 AM

Begin WAS still on the boat.

Posted by: Rich | Mar 30, 2015 5:53:43 AM

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