Monday, November 29, 2004

HAPPY KAF-TET (29th)

We like homogenization as much as anyone, so let it be said that DovBear supports Blog Burst. In fact, we'd like to write for Blog Burst, and we eagerly anticipate the day when our content appears on "all participating websites."

We do take mild exception, however, to the Blog Burst that was cross-posted today on about 65 blogs, including Zman Biur.

This Blog Burst, about the UN vote on November 29, 1948 that established Israel, makes a wonderful concluding point ("it is imperative that we recognize with gratitude those countries who stood by our side at this crucial moment in history.') But along the way the facts are forgotten.

For example, nothing is said about Lod, Ramle, or Deir Yassin, (or any of the countless acts of violence committed by Arabs against Jews, for that matter.) Instead, the murder of "six Jews in a bus making [SIC] to Jerusalem, and another in the Tel-Aviv - Jaffa area" is presented as if this was the sole atrocity committed in those days. And the Blog Burst oversimplifies the Arab's reasons for rejecting the partition plan.
For the Arabs, even this [the partition plan] was too much. Though they had never had an independent state in Palestine and were now offered one, they would agree to no arrangement which would offer recognition to the Jews.
This is pure speculation. We don't know why the Palestinians made the error of rejecting partition. It's not at all clear that "recognition of the Jews" was the key stumbling block. Perhaps "recognition of the Jews" would have been forthcoming if the split had been different. Remember, the partition plan proposed to give the minority population an exclusive and hegemonic right to the majority of the land, granting 55 percent of the land to a group that comprised only 30 percent of the population, and who owned just 6 percent of the land. Perhaps this, and not a blind hatred of Jews, was the Arab reason for rejecting the plan? Also, the partition plan put 407,000 Palestinian Arabs within the Jewish state. Perhaps the Arabs objected to this? Certainly, Ben Gurion would have rejected a plan that put so many Jews under Arab rule. (Though, to his everlasting credit, he did accept a plan that gave him far less than he had wanted, and the Arabs should have, too.)

Finally, the writing of the Blog Burst is boring and the syntax is terrible. I admit, mine is sometimes worse, but I don't cross-post on 65 other blogs (yet). Here's one example of the sort of error a good writer, or a good editor, would have caught: "This war claimed the lives of 6,000 Jews, or 1% of the total Jewish population in 1948 - the per capita equivalent of the US today losing 3,000,000 lives..."

Per capita means per unit of population, or per person. Substitute English for Latin in the sentence above and you will see the result is nonsense. And there are other examples.

Given these errors of language and history, why did Biur and the 65 others accept this Blog Burst for publication?

7 comments:

Zman Biur said...

Someone woke up in a bad mood today! Come on, you're being way too analytical.

First, the text of the BlogBurst was not standardized. The project was suggested by IsraPundit, a proposed text was offered. My version was heavily edited. Don't blame the rest of the crowd for what I posted. It's my responsibility alone.

Second, the specific attacks are mentioned because they happened the very next day, not because they were the only ones to take place. I explicitly mention the continuation of the terror assault, the war and its casualties.

Also, we certainly do know why the Palestinian Arabs rejected partition. They explained their position clearly and repeatedly in multiple forums, from the Peel Commission hearings to the UN debate. It was clear that they would not accept any arrangement which granted the Jews political autonomy over any territory in Palestine. This is not speculation - they rejected the original Peel proposal which granted the Jews hardly any territory.

Regarding syntax - you're hardly a grammar perfectionist yourself. Who's this "we" you keep referring to? Dov and Bear?

My excuse: It was early and I was tired and rushed. Nyah!

Why did I participate? I was planning on writing about Partition Day anyway, and it sounded like a neat idea to join the crowd. I was also in the mood for the adrenaline rush of a link avalanche. You're no stranger to that motive, I take it.

Do you ever post on anything without being sarcastic or hypercritical? Lighten up, man! Cynicism is not the purpose of life.

Jack's Shack said...

I am willing to bet that many people don't spend a lot of time fact checking, let alone doing any sort of spell check.

DovBear said...

The "we" is the crack team of monkeys with typewriters we employ churning out copy. Or did you think it was just me here in my undies in front of the computer?

We don't know why the Arabs rejected partitian anymore than we know why 51 percent of Americans rejected Kerry in the last election. The reasons are multifarious. Your reason ("Because they hated the jews") is a neat simplification, one Jews embrace because it fits neatly into our view of ourselves and the world.

Zman Biur said...

We certainly know what the Arabs say they rejected partition. Yes, the reasons are multiple, but the fact remains that they consistently opposed any solution which would grant political rights to Jews anywhere in Palestine.

(For more on the Arab attitude, see the Peel Commission report, Chapter VI, The Arab Attitude.)

In any case, "Because they hated the Jews" is your words. I said nothing of the sort, nor is that what I believe. They considered - and consider to this day - all historically Arab / Muslim land to be rightfully theirs, and oppose allowing others any foothold there.

But I suppose I'm just a bigot who ascribes antisemitic motives to everyone, right? Who's the one embracing simplifications here?

Keep those monkeys churning.


(Incidentally, while we're nitpicking, it's inaccurate to say "the Palestinians made the error of rejecting partition". The "Palestinians" accepted partition; at the time, only Jews called themselves "Palestinians". The Arabs rejected the name Palestine entirely and considered themselves rightfully part of Syria. None of the contemporary documents refer to Arabs as Palestinians.)

DovBear said...

I don't understand this sentence: (if it even is a sentance) "We certainly know what the Arabs say they rejected partition."

We don't know why the Arabs rejected partition, not with final certainty. We have theories, but we can't be certain. It's not possible to know this absolutely, in the way we know that 2+2=4, and you shouldn't write as if we could.

"Incidentally, while we're nitpicking..."
My sentance as not innacurate. There is no ambiguity in the sentance. If I had said "the Arabs" rejected partitian, my sentence would have been less clear, as it would have suggested that people in Yemen, Libya and everywhere in between had some say in the decision.

Zman Biur said...

You know I meant to write why. Your typo-pouncing is tedious and unconstructive.

It's not possible to know this absolutely, in the way we know that 2+2=4, and you shouldn't write as if we could.But you know with absolute certainty how decisions are reached in the local black hat school, what PETA's motives are, etc., etc.?

We know what they argued, what they said, what they wrote and published, etc. You act as if none of the public record exists.


My sentance as not innacurate.[Aside to self: Should I pounce on his mangled grammar?]

Sure it is. The Arabs were not known as Palestinians then. It's just as inaccurate as calling the Jews in 1947 Israelis.


If I had said "the Arabs" rejected partitian, my sentence would have been less clear, as it would have suggested that people in Yemen, Libya and everywhere in between had some say in the decision.Actually, the other Arab states rejected partition too. Regardless, the accurate term would be "Palestinian Arabs".


If I spent more time on my writing I might have to quit my day job. Bad idea. Spelling, however, takes me no time at all.

DovBear said...

You know I meant to write why. Your typo-pouncing is tedious and unconstructive. <---- I didn't understand the sentance, and not because of the typo as I explain.

It's not possible to know this absolutely, in the way we know that 2+2=4, and you shouldn't write as if we could.But you know with absolute certainty how decisions are reached in the local black hat school, what PETA's motives are, etc., etc.? <--- The blackhat school piece was satire. And with PETA I was arguing AGAINT Miriam's certainty that PETA is anti-semitic. I was not presenting a certainty of my own.

We know what they argued, what they said, what they wrote and published, etc. You act as if none of the public record exists. <--- The "public record" includes many more reasons than the simplistic explanation you provided.

My sentance as not innacurate.[Aside to self: Should I pounce on his mangled grammar?]Sure it is. The Arabs were not known as Palestinians then. It's just as inaccurate as calling the Jews in 1947 Israelis. <---Actually, in those days the place was Palestine. The people were Jews and Arabs. But I was not writing as a person living in those days. I was wrting in 2004, for a 2004 audience. Calling them Palestenians rather than Arabs who lived in Palestine is legitimate.

If I had said "the Arabs" rejected partitian, my sentence would have been less clear, as it would have suggested that people in Yemen, Libya and everywhere in between had some say in the decision.Actually, the other Arab states rejected partition too. Regardless, the accurate term would be "Palestinian Arabs". <--- Acknowledged, but my shortcut (Palestenians) is less ambigous than your shortcut (Arabs)


If I spent more time on my writing I might have to quit my day job. Bad idea. Spelling, however, takes me no time at all. <-- you are lucky. I am a bad spelling. Thank God I have other gifts.