the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Letter to Paris #2

Dear Tara,

As I sign of peace in a political world, I will not link to articles that insinuate that Islam is a religion of violence, because that is something I strongly detest when I see it written by conservatives.   How about you refrain from linking to articles that state that “the Jewish fundamentalist belief of being God’s chosen people has allowed Israel to believe it can do as it will?”

As I wrote in your comments:

“While I believe the Palestinian leadership and the Arab world bear much of the responsibility for the problems in the middle east — along with Israel — and I particularly blame Iran for arming Hezbollah to the teeth in this current conflict (they sent off a drone today that neared Tel Aviv), I would never say that Arab violence comes out of the religion of Islam.

So, I hope you will agree with me that the statement that the central Jewish concept of “the chosen people” means they can “do as they will” is completely horrendous, and a total misinterpretation of what it is about — moral duty, not superiority. The concept of the chosen people is completely bound to the idea of keeping the commandments that bring a people closer to God. For a journalist to use the “chosen people” line as an explanation for Israel’s entry into Lebanon smacks of the most abhorent anti-Semitism.

If Jews really believe that they were chosen as a ‘superior’ people who can do as they will, they would be the most stupid people that ever existed, especially after being driven from their homeland, forced to wander the world for centuries, made to live like second class citizens, tortured, and murdered by both Muslim and Christian. What luck to be so chosen!”


  1. question girl

    thank you neil – i hope you don’t mind, but i am copying this and saving it as a word file

    everytime i meet someone, they try to educate me about how i am “wrong” for being a jew & my beliefs

    i have given up trying to explain myself, my religion, and mu culture, but being ablt to look at what you wrote will remind me that there ARE smart & educated people out in the real world

  2. Paris Parfait

    Neil, I did not write the article that upset you and I thought it was interesting to air John McCarthy’s views, particularly as he was a hostage five years in Lebanon. As I responded to your comment about McCarthy’s article, I suggest you direct your objections to The Independent, where McCarthy’s article was published. In my weblog, I do not censor opinions or points of view different to my own – as you well know. I try to encourage dialogue and understanding from all sides.

  3. the Yearning Heart

    For a little while, I dated a guy who was an Israeli army cadet (or whatever they call them) and is probably now serving in Lebanon. When I asked him his personal philosophy regarding such things, it was much along these lines of ‘the chosen people’ who were destined to hold Israel through a covenant with God.
    I’d seen a similar sentiment when I read ‘Wanderings’ by Chaim Potok. (I hope I spelled that right; I’m at the school and connection is slow so Googling isn’t as easy as it could be.) I can’t remember the exact phrase, though, since I read that book in high school, but I recognized it when I read it.
    I can’t say for sure how widespread this belief is, in Israel or anywhere else, but I’ve seen it here among fundamentalist Christians, too. And I’m glad that not everyone who supports Israel right now shares that concept. It reminds me of Manifest Destiny, the Continental System, the Irish Question and other times in history when opposing sides each decide that God Gave Us This Land.
    When opposing sides have this view, bloodshed is inevitable. I can’t say I can agree with either side – even though I am from the United States and directly benefited from the idea of Manifest Destiny, born on the site of a prehistoric Ouashita encampment. I wonder how long the Plains Wars would have continued had the Lakota and other well-organized nations had access to media, oil money, and seats at the UN.

  4. deezee

    As much as I disagree with many of the Israeli govt’s policies and most specifically its current actions in Lebanon, I also believe that the completely slanted dissection of Israeli politics as compared to its neighbors adds to the conflict in the region as well as justifying anti-semitism.

    And Paris, by linking as you do on your site, you certainly aren’t implying a lack of agreement with the article since you haven’t offered any context. Rather, you do seem to imply agreement, which, obviously, you are completely entitled to, but it doesn’t seem as if you’re merely ‘encouraging dialogue.’

  5. Tatyana

    Neil, I don’t see those two assertions you site as horrendous being on equal foot.
    The sooner liberals like you understand that Islam is a religion of violence, the more chances they and their families will have to survive the carnage the muslims intend for them – provided they’ll accept the need to fight the danger and stop appeasing it.

    This issue has nothing in common with Anti-Semitic acusations. In fact, it only concern Jews as part of the world that muslims – by definition – are trying to eliminate or convert. Islam-devoted are Anti- all others: Jews, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Christians, Druz (sp?), etc.

    As to Jews doing what they will -hell yes. As much as all the rest of the globe: in our country we’ll do what we pleased. And will defend ourselves by any means we might find necessary.

  6. Neil

    Tatyana – Islam is not a religion of violence.  It has been perverted by fanatics. 

    Yearning Heart — There is a strong Jewish connection of the land of the land Israel for 5000 years. It is part of the Bible. Jews have been saying “Next Year in Jerusalem” for thousands of years. And yes, religious Jews do think that Jerusalem was a place promised by God as their land. So, what? What does this have to do with the assertion that Jews can “do what they will” because they are a chosen people? First of all, most Israelis are secular and not religious. They are fighting for their country, something that every single country in the world has done at some time or another, including our own.

  7. Dagny

    I come from a family in which a number of different religions are practiced, including Islam. I find the statement that “Islam is a religion of violence” to be one of the most ignorant that I have ever heard. Yes, there are people who use the religion as a justification for their violence — just as people of various faiths have done over the centuries. However, the fact that some have chosen to use it as a justification for their actions does not mean that the religion itself is to fault.

  8. Tatyana

    And how do you know it, Neil? Do you believe everything Bush says? (hehe)

    Please, spare me the nonsense.

  9. Tatyana

    Dagny, I find the people who profess you views ignorant.

  10. Dave Greten

    Tatyana – Islam is not a religion of violence. It has been perverted by fanatics.

    Thank you for setting the record straight. I thought my head was going to explode. Every religion has its loonies. It would be stupid to negatively judge Christianity in a likewise manner based on the teachings of the “God hates Fags” guy and other lunatics.

    Believe it or not, Iran had a reformist president in power who fought against the Muslim fundamentalists before Bush lumped them into the “Axis of Evil” bucket and started his saber-rattling campaign against them.

    Iran was receptive to the concept of democracy and reform until Bush gave them the back of his hand. With his threats of bombing them and the launch of the Iraq invasion, the Iranian fanatics took power over the moderates.

    Oh yes, and Iraq. What to do? Maybe we should give power to the Sunnis. Oops, can’t do that, they are all ex-Baathists. How about the Shiites? Oops, can’t do that, they have deep ties to Iran. How about the Kurds? Nope, the Kurds just want to be left alone.

    Irony – Saddam a secular leader. Don’t get me wrong, he was a thug. But a decidedly non-religious one.

    Now we are reaping the bitter harvest of Bush’s idiotic policies. What a mess. Mission accomplished.

  11. Non-Highlighted Heather

    Dagny, I find the people who profess you views ignorant.

    This is how wars start. When communication shuts down, so does civility, respect, and the ability to peacefully co-exist.

  12. Dagny

    Tatyana, perhaps I could have chosen a better word. However, it still does not change my opinion that you were making a generalization that was mistaken — as generalizations often are.

    I am also not surprised by your response as this is how I have seen you respond often enough when anyone deigns to question anything that you have said.

  13. Rosie

    Forgive me, the Yearning Heart, but I think this story is nothing but your fantasy.
    “For a little while, I dated a guy who was an Israeli army cadet (or whatever they call them) and is probably now serving in Lebanon. When I asked him his personal philosophy regarding such things, it was much along these lines of ‘the chosen people’ who were destined to hold Israel through a covenant with God.”
    The vast majority of Israelis that serve in IDF, are totally secular, and would never ever say anything you claim your former BF said. Only an ultra-Orthodox would say something like that and I seriously doubt that person would be serving in the Israeli army or dating you.

    Besides, there is a huge difference between talking about the “Chosen people” and a covenant with god.

    Your anti-semitic slip is showing.

  14. Miss Eight-oh-Five

    Taking the historical long-view, it’s hard to designate Islam as the religion of violence and ignore something as violent as the Christian Inquisition. But is it fair to say, that in modern days, Islam is perhaps, um, the less evolved religion? After all, there really is no other religion today (even those that have their fair share of Fred Phelps-like fanatics) that is as actively violent as Islam. And while one could (I do) argue that the Catholic church oppresses women, the powerlessness of women in that religion is no where on par with that of Islam. There is no perfect organized religion (which is why I’ve recused myself from any of them), but in the scope of imperfections, Islam seems to be in a whole different field.

  15. Tatyana

    Heather, your remark should be addressed to a person who first introduced that word. I simply repeated it – but I do find it an appropriate one.

  16. Tatyana

    Dagny, you sweeping generalizations with regards to my expressed views are simply shocking!

    As to muslims: I’ve lived more than a half of my life among them. Not “in the same universe” close, but “next door” close. As I do now.

    In my experience, those who are not terrorists themselves, “understand the causes”, find apologies and/or send money to terrorists. Those who are not, are not practicing muslims.

    I stand by my opinion.

  17. femme d'espoir

    I am so not feeling the love in here.


    Neil, I’d rather read about talks with your penis.

  18. the Yearning Heart

    Rosie, it’s entirely possible that his whole story was a fabrication, but it’s what he told me. True, I was a college freshman, and pretty naive. I don’t know where he got his views, or even if he held them seriously, but I did find a strange disconnect there.
    And since I never asked to see his military ID or anything, maybe being a junior officer or cadet or whatever it is called might just have been a story he told women he dated. I don’t know if he was Orthodox, or even especially orthodox for that matter. Come to think of it, he might have been faking his whole persona. I don’t know how relating the story itself could be construed as being anti-Semitic, having nothing to compare it to personally. I’ve only personally met maybe a dozen Israelis in my life, if that many, so I don’t have enough information to compare, but I could give you what details about him I have if you would care to e-mail me. My address in on my Blogger profile.
    I’m curious though – do many anti-Semites mention dating Israelis? And had a blast? (Oh, I didn’t mention it – I had a blast.) And wouldn’t object to dating one again? And flirt with Neil? Did I mention what a nice smile he had? The Israeli guy, I mean – though Neil’s smile is very nice too, and accented very well by his graying hair, which is most attractive on a man.

  19. Rosie

    the Yearning Heart: “I’m curious though – do many anti-Semites mention dating Israelis? And had a blast?”

    Point well-taken.  Sorry about that part.

    (I really am sure now you’re not one of them, but I have met plenty of anti-semites, who said “Some of my best friends are Jewish”) 


  20. NSC

    “Tatyana – Islam is not a religion of violence. It has been perverted by fanatics.”

    You are correct, Neil, it is not a religion of violence and it is being perverted by fanatics. Unfortunately, those fanatics seem to be much more numerous than anyone could ever have imagined. And those moderate followers are either unable or unwilling to do something about them. So for all practical purpose, Islam might as well be a religion of violence since no one seems to be interested in changing it.

    BTW, this is TWM – I moved to a new blog with new initials.

  21. Viscountess of Funk

    Question Girl: Why would someone question why you are a jew or your beliefs? Are they Christians?

    As a person raised (born, baptised, confirmed, practicing) Christian, what saddens me the most in this world is certitute. The certainty that one’s OWN religion, whether it be Muslim, Christian, or Jewish is the ONLY way. Maybe that belief makes me, by definition, not a Christian. So be it. I would rather love my fellow man and respect his beliefs than follow a religion that is a religion of exclusion and intolerance.

    Can you write about panties or boogers or something like that tomorrow?

  22. Neil

    Boogers? That is such a Christian word.

  23. Dagny

    Tatyana, I am truly sorry that that has been your experience. It is not the case of all people who practice Islam though. As others pointed out, this same kind of reasoning could be applied to fanatics of all types who use religion or whatever else to justify their actions. Sadly it seems that we will always have fanatics.

  24. Danny

    I don’t know Paris Parfait at all but after reading her blog and seeing the context in which that John McCarthy article was included on her site (I assume the underlining was her own), it seems like it had a purpose beyond simply “encouraging dialogue and understanding from all sides.” It IS important to hear diverse points of view so I’m curious why Paris Parfait seems to be backing away from her opinions about Israel and its policies in response to Neil’s comments.

    Tatyanya, if you really believe that “Islam is a religion of violence,” how can you not also say that Christianity is a religion of violence? If we were somehow able to do a head count of killings and other atrocities supposedly committed “in the name of God” during the past few thousand years, don’t you think the Christians would win hands down? I don’t believe that Islam, Christianity, or Judaism are “religions of violence” in any way, shape, or form. YES, it’s clear that a very violent form of Islamic fundamentalism is on the rise and must be dealt with, but I don’t see how it helps the conversation to repeat such incendiary and illogical rhetoric.

  25. the Yearning Heart

    Rosie – I wasn’t offended and I really hope no one else was, either – except maybe the bigots. Actually no, I hope I didn’t offend the bigots, either; I hope I made them think.
    It does remind me that the original post mentioned that the statement:

    …the Jewish fundamentalist belief of being God’s chosen people has allowed Israel to believe it can do as it will…

    “smacks of the most abhorent anti-Semitism”
    and while it might misrepresent Jewish fundamentalist belief, and even completely miss the idea of what’s going on in Israel, I’m trying to figure out where the anti-Semitism comes in. My dictionary, which I admit is pretty old, defines anti-Semitism as

    n. hatred toward or discrimination against Jews or the Jewish religion

    Which, by definition, is just another form of bigotry. Is misunderstanding a belief of a minority of a certain people the same thing as hating or discriminating against the entire group?
    I’ve read a lot of anti-Semitic literature in my studies. I’ve found lots of it to be really shocking – for example, H. L. Mencken’s personal journals. I wish I had that book here. He described a trip, I think to Provence, as being very pleasant, as there was (I’m paraphrasing from memory) not very many Jews littering the street … the town is very strictly Catholic and the typical Jewish deceit would not fare well in Provence. That would “smack of the most abhorent anti-Semitism,” and I would describe anyone who said anything like that as a bigot.
    Of course the original quote was likely even more abhorent, as Mencken had a much better command of English than that. I read so much in my cultural anthropology class that semester that in fact it might be a completely different book by a completely different author, and it may have reminded me of Mencken, but whoever said it, I couldn’t think of offhand a better example of bigotry.

    Neil – I tried to look in my “Joys of Yiddish” to find the Yiddish word for “booger” but the closest I could find was “schmutz”. I ask the philologists: Is there a Yiddish word for “booger”? Since Billy Crystal describes Yiddish as “German with phlegm,” there simply must be one.

  26. Neil

    Oy oy oy, why did I write this f***ing post!

    I thought everyone was just going to pat me on the back and say I’m such a nice guy for being so outspoken, but fair to all people.

    Now, Yearning, I’m assuming you just like to play devil’s advocate here. I know Jews like to cry anti-Semitism every time someone criticizes a Barry Manilow concert. But what do we have here? —

    1) the concept of the chosen people — the central concept of the Jewish pact with God (we’ve all seen the movie)

    2) the use of this central Jewish religious concept to describe why Jews are so arrogant and disrespect the lives of other peoples, as if the children of the Lebanese were just fodder to be tossed aside, so much less important than the “chosen” Jewish children…

    3) You don’t see a problem here?

    4) Thirty Muslims were just caught in London about to bomb 10 planes and kill thousands of people and since I am a believer in respect — I fight those who say Islam is a violent religion.

    5) So, why is it so hard for you to understand that associating the Jewish religion with hatred and arrogance, an evil that has been used for centuries as an excuse for anti-Semitism is not anti-Semitic itself?

    This ‘misunderstanding’ of what Judaism is all about has certainly been going on for a long time, don’t you think?  Are you telling me that you still “misunderstand” it?  Or that a professional journalist who is writing about THE MIDDLE EAST still misunderstands the Jewish religious concept of the chosen people — a five thousand year old religion that spawned both Islam and Christianity?  When do you think it is time to understand what it is all about?   And how about a five second search on google for the wikipedia article?

  27. Non-Highlighted Heather

    Heather, your remark should be
    addressed to a person who first introduced that word. I simply repeated it – but I do find it an appropriate one.

    No, Dagny did not make the comment personal, she found the statement to be ignorant, but she did not say that you were. In contrast, you made the claim that people who thought like her were ignorant. Calling a statement ignorant keeps the topic at arms length, calling the person ignorant that made the statement makes it personal. When you start attacking the person all hopes of reasonable discourse go out the window.

    But ultimately it was none of my business and I should’ve kept my mouth shut. Apologies to both of you.

  28. LilMissIndie

    “how can you not also say that Christianity is a religion of violence?”

    She can’t say it because it isn’t true. Christ, upon which Christianity is based, did not espouse violence against non-believers. He quite plainly says in the Bible that no man may come to the Father but through Him (Jesus), but He also tells us that we must not judge others nor throw the first stone, and must turn the other cheek (teachings that cause some American Christians to wonder about the validity of ever going to war, but that’s another discussion). I agree that horrific events have occurred in the name of Christianity, but they had no basis in the Christian faith or New Testament. The evil-doers, such as those who burned “heretics” to death, did it based on man-inspired beliefs and in spite of their religion. There is nothing in the life of Christ, except for the wicked beating he gave the vendors in the temple, that hints at violence. He submitted, and his apostles later submitted, giving up their lives to spread the Gospel. They did not take innocent victims with them when they died.
    As for Islam, I am not that familiar with the Quran. I have heard that some verses exhort believers to kill non-believers, but I could not point you to them. If someone does quote a verse to you, I encourage you to look it up and read it in context before you judge it.
    I have read the New Testament, however, and nowhere does it teach about killing non-believers.
    And as for the nation of Israel believing that “it can do as it will” because the Jews are the chosen people, if you believe that, it is obvious you have never read the Old Testament. Yahweh kicked their chosen asses all through those pages, even while He loved them to distraction. Religion aside, many Israelis are secular and simply determined not to put up with others whose declared objectives include wiping Israel from the face of the earth. It’s not about being “chosen” by God; it’s about reacting to a threat against their existence. Actually, Israel has exercised restraint seen nowhere else in the world, largely due to its relationship with America (e.g., Israel not responding to Iraq’s scuds in the Gulf War because we asked them to sit tight and trust our Patriot missiles). They have given land back to the very enemies who warred against them decades ago, got beat, and still voice hatred and threaten extermination.
    So, Neil, I admire your attempt in the original post to spread the blame around, but believe me, Israel’s share of it is microscopic compared to those she is fighting.

  29. Sarah

    *pats Neil on the back*
    Neil, this was a great post, and you are such a nice guy for being so outspoken, but fair to all people!

  30. Sarah

    (seriously, I really appreciated this post, and all the comments that have followed)

  31. Alex

    While I think that Israel has gone too far in Lebanon and while I do believe that the American neocons are likely highly influencing their actions of recent weeks deep behind the scenes, I also think the most vital difference between Israelis and Hezbollah is that Israel carries guns because they have to, while Hezbollah has guns because they want to, because they have a lust for violence and any destruction necessary if it means the obliteration of Israel from the map. Anyone who has been to Israel knows that Israelis truly want peace with their neighbors, but I wasn’t in Egypt half a day before I got attacked (verbally) when the person I was speaking to in Cairo learned I was Jewish and living in Israel. Israel unfairly bares the brunt for all that is wrong in the lives of their neighbors and that is truly a tragedy.

  32. Tatyana

    Sorry, folks, for delaying my replies: just got home after a nice night on the town.

    Danny (you put one “y” too many in my name, but I forgive you in the name of tolerance): why didn’t I say anything about christianity?
    Why should I? You might as well ask why I didn’t say anything about Kings and Cabbage: because it’s irrelevant to the topic at hand. I was talking about Islam itself, not engaging into comparative analysis of various religious confessions. Besides, being an atheist, am a wrong person to ask about christianity. I believe someone with working knowledge of the topic has answered your inquiry above, though.

    Heather, thanks for the lecture, but Dagny’s response indicates plainly that I understood her correctly: by “statement” she meant the one made by me, and not something floating in eternal aether, unsigned.
    Besides, statement itself is not animated; it can’t be ignorant, pissed off, can’t be a demagog or a sophist. It can, however, be uttered by a demagog or an ignorant person. So when something I said is repeated and then described as being ignorant, it involves me personally.
    Words have meaning besides their “warring value”; “ignorant” describes somebody who’s unfamiliar with a subject. I am not one, in regards to practical implications of living in the midst of muslims; I had plenty of experience. Can’t say the same about a person who bases her opinion of the whole religion on one encounter with a family member (who by definition should be nice to other family members).

    Neil, I’m sorry, but that was an unfortunate turn of phrase, “I fight those who say Islam is a violent religion”.
    Now you’ll have to announce the boxing match of the century: Neil vs Tatyana. Think, Neil, think, what a disaster to your reputation. It’ll end badly for you either way:
    -if you comment is necessary
    -if you win, you’ll feel guilty for beating up a girl, and everyone will point their acusatory fingers at you, the one “who can only beat up girls” (the anti-semitic bastards), and your mother will call you: Neil, what would your father say? He was a peace-loving man – and you, his son, had beaten up a girl!

    See what I mean?
    Ts-ts-ts. What were you thinking? And where was your editor?

  33. Danny

    You’re misinterpreting what I said, Lilmissindie. I’m no scholar on the life of Christ or Muhammad but I think there are more parallels to their stories than differences. ALL fanatacism, ALL of it, comes from what you call “man-inspired beliefs and in spite of religion.” You don’t really believe that the heinous actions of Islamic terrorists emanate directly from the life and teachings of Muhammad, do you? It ain’t about Muhammad and the tenets of Islam, it’s religious fanatacism, pure and simple. Of course it’s clear that certain Islamic leaders and organizations are promoting this fanatacism in a big way for their own purposes, but I stand by my statement that Islam is no more inherently a “religion of violence” than Christianity is.

  34. Danny

    Sorry for the typo, Tatyana—and to think not two hours ago I was reading a really excellent novel about one of my favorite Romanovs—the Grand Duchess Tatyana Nikolaievna.

    It is precisely because you were talking about “Islam itself” and not Islamic fanatacism that made me blather on about Christianity. Incidentally, as you know, Tatyana Romanov was murdered at the age of 21 by atheist fanatics so I’m not saying that wild-eyed fanaticism is limited to religious zealots.

    However, not being a scholar on organized religion or the Russian Imperial family, I think I’ll shut up and go back to ruminating about Barbara Stanwyck on my own blog.

    P.S. Forget Neil vs. Tatyana, I think everyone would rather see a Tatyana vs. Sophia match.

  35. Non-Highlighted Heather

    Indeed, the only breath given to a statement is in life of its bearer. Yet, I still stand by my position. I just deleted everything I said after that because I don’t want to turn Neil’s blog into a message board. You’re clearly an intelligent, well spoken woman. Unfortunately I think much of your sapience is lost in your style, but perhaps thats of no matter to you.

  36. Tatyana

    Heather, “an intelligent, well-spoken woman”? I assure you, it’s the drink in me; Saigon Cosmo in particular. [aside: googled “sapience”, found ‘snorkeling equipment. choose from variety of styles’…mused for 3 min.] Isn’t it nice, both of us stand still, on our mutual positions of confidence!

    Danny, family of the last Russian monarch were not murdered by atheists for being devoted christians; it’s not a “hate crime by religious fantatics”. It was a calculated cold-blooded elimination of the threat to the new communist regime in the country where the royalty were traditionally respected and supported by 80% of population, to prevent them becoming a banner for consolidation of the anti-bolshevist forces. [aside: who’s Barbara Stanwyck?]

    Have to disappoint you: there will be no match Tatyana vs. Sophia since we have no disagreements whatsoever. Unless she insists I fly to LA and supply Neil with my underwear…it is too dear (literally) to me…

  37. Non-Highlighted Heather

    Finally!!! Some common ground. We’re both drunk. Stand alone? I think I’m doing more swaying than actual standing.

  38. Jack

    I have a hard time reading comments about how people think that Israel has gone too far.

    Thousands of rockets rain down upon your country and it is only by luck that more people haven’t been murdered.

    look at this Powerpoint presentation and consider what could happen.

    Think about what you would want if this was happening to your country and then think about it again.

  39. Paris Parfait

    Neil, I can’t imagine what you hoped to accomplish with this post. First of all, I would not presume to tell you what you should or should not publish on your site. Isn’t there still a free press, at least in the US and Europe? Since when are you interested in censoring someone’s opinion, simply because it differs from your own or offends you personally? Second, in all my years of living in and covering the Middle East, I have never once equated religion with politics, either with Israel or with any Arab country. To me, religion is a personal matter and not political. Third, I highlighted one paragraph of John McCarthy’s piece in the Independent and underlined the point I consider important: Until the safety and human rights of Palestinians – and of all people in the region – are valued as much and put on an equal footing with those of Israelis, there is no hope for a peaceful settlement. That’s the key to the whole piece. And in order to read the rest of the article, people had to go to The Independent website, where the article was originally published. I did not highlight what McCarthy said about religion; you did. I respect John McCarthy’s opinion, as he is a journalist who has lived and traveled in the region and was held hostage in Lebanon for five years. I respect many people’s opinions, but that doesn’t mean I agree with every word out of their mouths. I certainly don’t agree with yours lately! So whatever McCarthy’s personal beliefs about Israelis and religion, he is entitled to express them, just as you and I are. And on my weblog, I allow a variety of viewpoints to appear, including your own piece expressing your views, as you will recall.

  40. Neil

    Actually, I am for censoring of opinion at times. Call me one of those politically-correct guys, but I think we all need to be careful not to promote those who express racism or hate. John McCarthy may be a hero for his years of captivity in Lebanon. And he may make some excellent points about politics. But since we had this little thing going on about how we are understanding each other’s viewpoints, I wanted to be clear that I don’t tolerate the insulting of a religion to make a political point.

    I should make it clear that I don’t agree with the views of Tatyana on my comments, even though I have left them on. She is out of line in her opinions on equating Islam with violence. I don’t see what is wrong with taking Mr. Mcarthy to task — or you to task — for linking to an article that equates Jewish thought with arrogance and war crimes. For the sake of peace, the easiest thing to do is just to say I’m right and you regret what he said, but you still think he made some good points on Israel. But the very fact that HE SAID IT — as a journalist in the Middle East for many years — makes his opinion suspect to me. I’m clearly biased, but I’m not a journalist. He is. He shouldn’t be throwing around anti-Jewish sentiments as if they were facts.

    But now the fighting is over and we can all go back to enjoying Tevye and Golde getting it on. Ironically, considering our argument, in the bedroom, women have always nicknamed me “The Chosen One.”

  41. Jack

    But the very fact that HE SAID IT — as a journalist in the Middle East for many years — makes his opinion suspect to me.

    It is just one of many ignorant comments he has made. I have read other comments and sometimes wonder if he isn’t suffering from a little Stockholm Syndrome.

  42. Bill

    Oy oy oy, why did I write this f***ing post!

    You have my sympathies.

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