Once again the Left dines on its own: the demonization of Gal Gadot

February 22, 2018 • 9:15 am

When Gal Gadot starred in the enormously successful movie “Wonder Woman,” Leftists at first saw it as a moment of women’s empowerment. Here we had a strong and independent superhero who was a woman—much like “Black Panther” is praised for empowering black children. But it didn’t take long for the approbation to wane. After all, Gadot is Israeli and, like nearly all Israelis, she had to serve in the IDF, the Israeli military. That’s a national requirement. Gadot didn’t kill anybody; she was a combat instructor.

Nevertheless, it wasn’t long before her nationality and service in the IDF eroded her status as feminist hero, for in the pantheon of intersectionalist Leftism, Israel lies at the bottom of the heap—just above old cis white males. Her luster (and that of “Wonder Woman”) among Leftists began to fade (see here and here).

Now, it seems, Gadot, since she’s way low on the Oppression Hierarchy, isn’t allowed to decry last week’s school shootings in Florida.  One would think that her tweet below would have garnered approbation, and it did according to the hearts and retweets. But not everyone was happy.

Yes, the termites gnawed their way in, and, according to Everyday Antisemitism, the new social editor of Allure magazine, Rawan Eewshah, issued the following hateful response. “Child murderer”—seriously?

(I think this tweet has now been deleted. Good call!)


Eewshah wasn’t alone:


There are many more such reactions, but I needn’t go on. This reprises the old “blood libel” fiction of anti-Semites, and in my view reflects anti-Semitism. Does anybody think that Gadot endorses the targeting of children? Apparently some of the people above do, and they’re simply lying for the cause.

Let’s get this straight. Gal Gadot didn’t kill anybody when she was in the IDF. She did not kill any children. I highly doubt that she “relishes” watching children killed.  The Israeli Army has killed Palestinian children in military operations, but it does not do so deliberately, despite the claims of the ignorant. It would be a public-relations disaster in the eyes of the world if Israeli solders were under orders to kill children; in fact, the opposite is true. Children do get imprisoned in Israel for terrorist acts or attempted murder or injury. Gadot had no part in this; her crime was solely to be Jewish, to be Israeli, and to be in the IDF. To Intersectionalists, that makes it hypocritical for her to react in horror when a shooter kills 17 people in a Florida school.

Well, let’s look at the shoe on the other foot. Hamas and Hezbollah, and other Palestinian terrorists, deliberately target and kill Israeli children.  Want examples? Here are some:

  • The Itamar Attack in 2011(even in Wikipedia!): An Israeli civilian, his wife, and three of their children (aged 11, 4, and 3 months), were slaughtered by two members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The baby was decapitated and the children stabbed. The IDF tracked down the murders, who were tried. Many Palestinians celebrated the murders, even handing out candy and sweets in the street.
  • The murder of Hallel Jaffa Ariel, a 13 year old girl, in 2013. Mohammad Nasser Tra’ayra, the Palestinian killer who wished to be a martyr, stabbed Hallel to death in her bed. (You can see photos of the girl and the gruesome murder scene here.) Tra’ayra was killed when attempting to evade capture. He, too was celebrated for his deed; as Wikipedia reports:

The attacker’s mother praised her son as a martyr defending Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa Mosque and hoped others would follow in his path. A banner with pictures of Tra’ayra and the late Yasser Arafat was hung outside a building in the West Bank village of Tra’ayra’s family, and the family is eligible for $350 a month from a Palestinian fund for martyrs.

  • Here’s a long list of Israeli children killed by Palestinian terrorists; some were deliberately targeted, others were killed in suicide attacks, which of course are aimed at civilians. I suspect that if people take issue with this, Malgorzata can provide more examples in the comments.

The killing is bad enough, but when the murder of children is celebrated by Palestinians, as they so often do, that makes it doubly disgusting. Do Israelis shoot off fireworks and hand out sweets in the street when a Palestinian child is killed? Think again.

Now here is a Palestinian father taunting and daring Israeli soldiers to shoot his 3-year-old son. He even goads the kid to throw rocks at the soldiers. Note how the soldiers behave. I can’t help but think that the father, his comrades, and the person making the video actually wanted that child shot—so they could use it for propaganda. What kind of father would do this?

Who are the hypocrites? It is the intersectional Leftists who support Palestine (and their child-killing practices) and yet decry the shootings by Nikolas Cruz. What Cruz does resembles what Hamas, Hezbollah, and the terrorists named above do: they all deliberately target children. ‘

It is those who support Palestine, not those (like Gadot) who support Israel, who tacitly endorse the targeting of innocent children. If somebody lacks the moral standing to criticize what Cruz did in Florida, it is those who defend the actions of Palestinians. When was the last time you heard them complain about the murder of civilians, much less children?

72 thoughts on “Once again the Left dines on its own: the demonization of Gal Gadot

  1. “The Israeli Army has killed Palestinian children in military operations, but it does not do so deliberately, despite the claims of the ignorant.”

    Let’s also get the following straight: every army in the history of the world has had children as collateral damage, and nearly every one of them many, many more than Israel. Israel does more than any other country to avoid as much collateral damage as possible. When I see people make statements about how the IDF kills children, I know they’re antisemitic because I know they don’t make the same statements about every other country. They hold the only Jewish nation to a standard to which they hold no other nation. Of course, they’re also intentionally promoting the conspiracy theory — which I’ve seen from many on the left, including college professors — that Israel sets out to kill as many Palestinian children as possible.

    Either people like this hate Jews, or their vitriol and impossible standards of conduct just magically happen to be saved for the only Jewish nation in the world.

    1. “….that Israel sets out to kill as many Palestinian children as possible.” If that were true, we could only conclude Israel is excessively incompetent at it.

    2. Palestinian pre-schoolers are taught to hate Israeli children. There’s video of kindergarten graduations on YouTube of mock terrorist attacks against Israel. These 4-5 year old children are carrying mock automatic weapons as they act out hunting for Israelis to kill.

      How can peace ever be achieved when children are brought up like this?

      (Sorry, I can’t provide links from the device I’m on currently. I will later.)

      1. I’ve seen such videos. You are, of course, right about peace being unachievable under such conditions. Yet, somehow, this lack of progress is always and will continue to be blamed on Israel.

        1. Currently, Israel is part of the problem when it comes to peace talks because Netanyahu needs the support of the far right to retain power and they don’t want peace. However, most often in the past, it’s been down to Palestinian refusal to compromise.

          1. Yes, this is definitely true, but I understand why many Israelis have gone that route at this point. They have made concessions at every peace talk, but, every time they have, the Palestinian side came up with new demands. I wish they would go back to the tack they were taking in the 90’s, but I certainly understand why many people there no longer see it as an option. Considering all past experiences, it does seem like peace negotiations are impossible because it seems like the other side has zero interest in peace. It’s an intractable situation where, no matter what Israel does — beyond abandoning their country entirely — they will not have a willing partner for peace.

              1. I’ll never look at children’s shows the same way again!

                Seriously. Every time I see my nephew watching Spongebob or Ben 10, all I’ll be thinking about is every character cheerfully talking about the Zionist Jews being wiped from the Earth.

                Truly frightening.

  2. Thank you, Professor. This cannot be said too often – unfortunately. Even more, given the “they are just actors” conspiracy theories now flooding the media aimed at the students protesting the Florida school shooting, one wonders how many of the Gadot haters are bots. Sad, indeed.

    1. I am glad you brought that up. Apparently the conspiracy theories are being flogged by Russian bot trolls, according to an article in the NY Times.
      So now I am wondering if this Twit storm over Gal Gadot is also being pushed by the bots.

      Or maybe I am just getting paranoid.

      1. Real people are clicking “like” on the bot tweets about false flag exercises though. Two in particular: Donald Trump Jr and the completely revolting NRA board member and proud paedophile, Ted Nugent. (I wrote about it in a post yesterday, which didn’t get finished. Maybe today.)

      2. You’re not paranoid. I’d say a good rule of thumb for social media at this point is to assume any emotional & negative post by anyone you don’t already know/have past dealings with is a bot or troll.

        Hume in reverse: (to be considered an) ordinary human requires ordinary reasoning.

      3. I think that too much is let at the door of Russian bots. It was not Russian bots who banned the star of David from a gay pride, or organized BDS campaigns, or accused Israelis in training US police to kill blacks.

  3. Those tweets are by Palestinian activists and their useful idiots. They are part of the endless propaganda war that characterizes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In politics, of whatever kind, truth is only uttered when it serves a purpose. As a tactic, attacking Gal Gadot may be a mistake since she appears to be popular.

  4. Not to mention the Palestinians who position their children on rooftops hoping that they are “martyred”. What kind of person values an ideology above the life of his own child?

  5. Given the way many religious people think, it is possible that the father thought he was doing his son a favor – getting him to paradise quicker. [But what does a three year old do with 72 virgins?]

    1. What the hell’s a grown-ass man got any interest in 72 virgins for, is what I wanna know. If (pace all reliable evidence to the contrary) I ever wind up in paradise, one look at that kinda line-up, I’d be begging Allah for a weekend pass to Vegas, go kibbitz with some showgirls and pros. 🙂

      1. What I’d like to know is what kind of heaven women go to. Obviously not the one for men. The male heaven apparently doubles as the female hell. Gender apartheid even in the after life!

  6. If they want to actually identify the baby killer, the one who kills children everyday, why not mention al-Assad right there in Syria and his buddy boy Putin. They can kill more kids before breakfast every day than a pack of NRA loving young men in Florida.

  7. I don’t do social media, so I’m biased, but I’m starting to consider it a scourge on civilization. We need to get a handle on this. (Though I still love PCC(E)’s and Heather Hastie’s selected tweets.)

    1. We have a dark web untrawled & ungoverned by google, cops etc.

      We have the web we’re on now to interact on WEIT

      I suggest a 3rd web [entirely on its own channel] where users have an anonymised certificate & only one certificate. A cert check is required to perform any activity on the 3rd web such as logging in to a site, thus you can still be “Mark R.” to the public on WEIT & “Marcus Aurelius” on some other site, and so on, but if you step outside 3rd web guidelines you’d be sanctioned on the 3rd web & those sanctions can step into IRL if judged serious enough.

      It would not be very easy to sock puppet [as I’ve seen occur on WEIT a few times] & difficult to get around a site ban. This system might make it possible to still have an anon web presence under a Big Brother depending on the design of the certificates & the central clearing house.

      It would only work if there’s a momentum led by fb & the other SM platforms – an ad-click is much more valuable in an environment where it’s known that 99% of ‘views’ * ‘likes’ are real – that’s something.

      1. People who use the ‘3rd web’ would be paid dosh into a ‘wallet’ by retailers, researchers etc for their purchases [cash back rewards] & opinions & earn some sort of good citizenship badges for being net contributors.

        That has a Midwich Cuckoos overtone, but OTOH drive-by copy/paste comments arsonists would shrivel on the vine. Find the balance between cuckoos & arsonists.

      2. Sounds good; I nominate Michael Fisher to be the Web Czar. 🙂

        If you’ve seen sock-puppets here I think you should expose them. I’m given to understand that there are Roolz around here, and that that would contravene them.

        1. Thanks for the compliment Mr. Ken, but I’d make a terrible Web Czar – I’m a variety of authoritarian of the left without the necessary patience. I’d have to be paid very, very well to put up with nonsense. e.g. I think**, I think that citizens should have to earn the vote on a merit system based on net contributions to the civic good & I disapprove of party politics – absurd system.

          ** still thinking on the matter

          As to the puppets – I will. They are in the posts attracting the MGTOW & MRA types [not sayin’ anything about MGTOW & MRA – they can fry in their own juices with no assistance from me!]

      3. I like this idea, thanks for sharing. I second Ken’s nomination, though you’ve already declined the position. 🙂

        1. I’m crap at people herding. Maybe Deets can fit it in to his busy doggy day? 🙂

          Where is he & master? Exotic fishing trip?

    2. I think it’s mainly Twitter. I’m beginning to get mystified as to why any of the mainstream media takes any notice of Twitter. It’s basically just people spouting random ill conceived thoughts into the aether. Back in the day before the Internet, people used to spout the same random ill-conceived thoughts but the only people to hear would be the few in earshot.

      I don’t say Twitter should be banned, but if the media just ignored the outrage that pours forth from it, because really it isn’t news, the World would be a better place.

      1. There’s actually more of the bad stuff on Facebook, but that’s much more targeted so the sort person who enjoys WEIT is unlikely to see the bad stuff on Facebook.

        There’s good stuff on Twitter as well as bad. It’s possible to avoid most of the bad stuff there too. Just don’t follow the bad accounts. I don’t even follow Donald Trump because I don’t want to be part of his boasts about how many followers he has. It’s easy enough to look up his tweets still if I need them for a post.

        1. that’s not really the point I was making. Most Tweets are innocuous and occasionally enlightening, but there are a few people who tweet stupid or abusive tweets.

          I looked up Gal Gadot on Twitter and it turns out she has 1.66 million followers. If only one person in a thousand takes offence at her tweets and behaves like an arsehole, that’s 1,660 people tweeting abusive rubbish back at her, just from her followers. It shouldn’t really be a story when somebody with a million followers or more receives some abusive responses to their tweets.

          Having said that, I personally do like reading the stories about the faux Twitter outrages (Yes, I’m a hypocrite, so sue me). They make me feel happy because they affirm that I don’t write the stupidest stuff on the Internet. I see there’s a story in my RSS feed about Jennifer Lawrence destroying feminism by choosing to look spectacular. I’m looking forward to seeing what PCC(E) has to say about that one.

  8. Historian points out that the tweets in question come from Palestinian activists and their useful idiots, and BJ has heard similar poppy-cock from many on the Left including college professors. It might be worth unpacking these categories a little. The first and last categories include numerous professional Palestinians, a career path invented by UNRWA and expanded particularly, it seems, on US campuses.

    The second two categories–useful idiots and the Left–are either oxymoronic or reveal a paradox. In Israel, the many worker-owned cooperatives (kibbutzim) achieved some limited success, which should be an icon of the socialist ideal. Yet Israel is now a conventional bête noir for the pop-Left. ???

    The explanation which occurs to me is simple envy. The pop-Left in the West has accomplished nothing but 80 years of hot air, so its venom against a partly successful socialism could have psychological roots that are transparently obvious, and infantile.

    1. While you’re doing all that unpacking, maybe you could unpack for us what you mean by the “pop-Left” of some 80-years’ duration. The Old Left certainly has had many accomplishments — Social Security, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Child Labor laws, minimum wage, universal suffrage, Medicare, the civil rights movement, the environmental movement, and agitation to end the Vietnam War, just to name a few. Would that the rightwing had any comparable accomplishments!

      1. The accomplishments you list are all due to old-style pragmatic Liberals like Senator Robert Wagner of NY, sponsor of the National Labor Relations Act and the Social Security Act. These and other New Deal reforms are dismissed on the current pop-Left as having merely “saved capitalism” and so forth. The general tone can be savored in any mention of Barack Obama in, for example, Counterpunch.

        The CP of the old Left did indeed support FDR and New Deal legislation, but afterward busied itself with the concerns of the peace-loving and progressive USSR. By pop-Left, I refer to the set of clichés typical of unthinking “progressive” discourse in any era. The “peace-loving and progressive USSR” typifies the pop-Left of the 30s through 50s; the Mao jacket and Uncle Ho Ho Ho typifies that of the 60s to 70s; and today we have the regressives, de-platformers, and “As a…” noisemakers, together with 60s nostalgics.

        I think the psychology of the pop-Left is much the same in each era. As evidence, compare the rhetoric of Counterpunch to that of the Daily Worker in 1950. Perhaps the term infantile Left would be better than pop-Left, but the people involved (again, see Counterpunch) are often well along in years. And sometimes with a sophisticated, mock-academic style. For example, compare The Nation today on Venezuela to—well, to The Nation in the late 1930s on the USSR.

        1. I know very well which leftists you are talking about. The power-craving ones who try to turn their country into a hellhole with them on top, and failing this, claim credit for other people’s achievements.

  9. A powerful recruiting tool for Islamist, extremist murderers lies in particular religious beliefs about death. It’s almost impossible to follow all of the rules in the Quran, so when they die their soul is usually subjected to torture and questioning by angels. The key belief is that martyrs go directly to paradise. This probably explains why the 9-11 hijackers participated in all sorts of sinning forbidden by the Quran before their martyrdom. Crazy-ass beliefs make a difference in the lives of real people!
    Quote from Wikipedia:
    “In Islamic belief, souls may either rest in Barzakh during the time period between this worldly life and the final resurrection on the Day of Judgment or immediately pass into paradise or hell after the questioning of the deathangels Munkar and Nakir, thus Barzakh, similar to Christian idea of limbo, contains the souls, which go neither to heaven or to hell and remain in the grave. It is said that the martyrs – persons who die on the way of God – always skip Barzakh and the trial of the deathangels and go to paradise directly.”

  10. I have to say that I’m not too impressed by this post. Of course, most of it is true, as far as it goes. I am sure that Gal Gadot is a decent human being, and she was certainly delightful in the movie, which I saw in very small screen format on a flight from London to Addis Ababa. The intersectional stuff is all shit, as it always is.

    However, on the broader issue, I am disappointed by Jerry’s new interest in polarisation. There is a dialogue to be had about the “deliberate”/”collateral” damage of war (the subject of an unresolved spat between Sam Harris and Noam Chomsky). I would suspect that, together, the US, the UK and Israel have killed more children in Muslim majority countries than the latter have killed in non-Muslim majority countries (though how many children have been killed by Muslims in countries that are also Muslim, but in the wrong way, is a different question).

    The deliberate targeting of children is obviously detestable and always going to be more emotive than accidental damage. But Jerry’s quoting of specific cases can very easily be countered by similar examples on the other side (possibly less specific, but the “15 members of X’s family were killed in a drone attack while attending a family wedding” kind of story is also fairly emotive). Of course, Hamas and Hezbollah are loathsome political organisations, but they emerged under pretty loathsome sociopolitical conditions. I do business in Israel, and have also visited the West Bank and Gaza, and for this reason have no desire to demonise either side.

    But I think it is worth noting that neither Palestinians nor Israelis (nor Muslims nor Jews) have an inherent predilection for child killing, any more than Americans have an inherent predilection for random massacring. These practices arise out of specific political, social and economic conditions. While one can sort of understand why organisations like Hamas and Hezbollah can thrive in conditions of extreme social, political and economic constraint, it is harder to understand why the modern Republican Party can thrive in the richest and most powerful nation on earth…

    1. …neither Palestinians nor Israelis (nor Muslims nor Jews) have an inherent predilection for child killing, any more than Americans have an inherent predilection for random massacring.

      We know that Hamas in Gaza used areas in & around schools, hospitals, mosques & UN dedicated spaces for their HQs, OPs & for rocket launch sites. They didn’t have to! That’s child-killing-by-human-shield.

      In a number of incidents, Hamas terrorists threatened to kill UNRWA personnel if they revealed that the Islamist group was using the UN facilities for purposes of war, to ensure that they would not speak out about Hamas’s activities


    2. There are countless examples of genocides when children and elderly were murdered without any exceptions. German Nazis (and not only German) murdered Jews irrespective whether they were children, women, or elderly. Some decades earlier the same did Turks to Armenians, and in our times in the same manner ISIS murdered Yazidis and Boko Haram murder Christians. No, we don’t know whether this is just the result of murderous ideology. But ideology seems enough when it appeals to murderous instincts. And you are passing over the propaganda, the false accusations against Israel for murdering children. This propaganda harks to the long Christian tradition of accusing Jews for murdering Christian children for matzos, a tradition which is present also in Islam. Gal Gadot didn’t murder children, Israel Defence Force does not murder children, terrorists do. Efforts to present Israel as a society of child murderers is a continuation of a long tradition and it should not be watered down with stories about likelihood that Muslims murdered fewer children in non-Muslim countries than children who died as a result of wars of Western countries in Muslim majority countries. Even if this claim is true, here, in this place it just tries to erase the false accusation against an Israeli actor and against Israel itself.

      1. Malgorzata, fair enough, you are accusing me of the “whatabout” fallacy. I am very well aware of the history of anti-Semitism: my family on my mother’s side were Polish Jews (from Lvov/Lviv, so of course at the same time occupiers and imperialists, which is not an irrelevant consideration in this context). They were spared the worst because they had converted to Lutheranism a couple of generations before my mother was born, but nevertheless of the 11 immediate family members I see on photographs in 1939, just 3 were still alive in 1945.

        All I wanted to say was that, having lived all over the world, and travelled widely in countries where different political, religious and cultural traditions hold sway (and now after 7 years in Ethiopia, a country riven with religious, cultural, linguistic, ethnic and political tensions, and possibly on the edge of civil war), I am not prepared to stay silent while anybody claims that particular ethnicities, religions or cultures, have a greater propensity for child killing (or any other atrocity) than others. Jews have always been the target of the “blood libel”, but I would rather not see Jews unloading it on to another ethnic or religious group. Let us agree, quite simply, that tribalism or ingroup/outgroup hostility is a fundamental trait among humans and many other animals, particularly in conditions of conflict over territory or resources. The ultimate tribal expressions of hostility are rape and child murder, both of which are extensively justified in the Old Testament and the “holy” books of many civilisations, and certainly and notably in the Koran.

        So when you say that “Gal Gadot didn’t murder children, Israel Defence Force does not murder children”, what do you mean? “Murder” is a specific kind of act. If Gal Gadot deliberately killed an Israeli child, she would have “murdered” a child. If, in her capacity as a member the IDF, she had killed a Palestinian child in the course of a firefight, it would not be called “murder”, but “collateral damage”, unless she had deliberately targeted the child, or unless you were the parent of the dead child. When, in the course of its military activities in Gaza or the West Bank, the IDF kills Palestinian children – as it undoubtedly does – whether one calls that act “murder” or “collateral damage” quite simply depends on which side of the argument one happens to be. But we should not pretend that it is simple or a black-and-white issue.

        1. Julij Danil, Soviet dissident, published 1962 a short story (under the pseudonym , Nikolai Arshak) with title “Moscow speaking”. In this story one day people heard on the radio that a decree was issued by Soviet authorities that August 10, 1960 will be a Public Murder Day. On this day all citizens of Soviet Union who are over 16 will be allowed to kill other citizens (except a few people enumerated in the first article of the decree). Volunteers were legion. Is it a literary fiction? Can you imagine a day when authorities say: „today killing is allowed”? We don’t have to imagine. We know from history countless examples of such consent. Of course, it’s not done so generally, there are long campaigns of hatred, the victim groups are chosen, candidates are recruited into paramilitary gangs. How thin is a layer of culture? How many potential murderers are in every society? Turks and Armenians, Hutu and Tutsi, Germans and Jews… Think about cruelty of children – they have to be socialized and taught that cruelty is wrong. Think about European culture a few centuries ago – how much cruelty there was. I’m not saying that particular ethnicities are more prone to cruelty – I’m saying that all ethnicities are, and that you need particular cultures to stop it. If you teach children, like Palestinian children are taught from the cradle, that killing Jews is a noble and brave thing, you will have 16-17 years old killing small children. Israeli children are not raised in such atmosphere of hate (just compare school textbooks, children’s TV programmes, sermons in mosques and in synagogues and you will see the difference). So, yes, culture matters enormously.

          You compared killing of people by drone during fighting with killing sleeping children with a knife and, as I understood your previous comment, you treated both as much the same. I don’t. IDF’s efforts to spare civilians go very, very far. But in wars (started invariably by Palestinian side) many Palestinian die. When the enemy uses civilians as human shields it’s impossible to spare enemy’s civilians without endangering civilians on your side. It’s like comparing an ambulance driver in a hurry to an emergency who drives over a child suddenly running out on the road in front of him with a terrorist who drives straight into a bus stop and kills a child standing there. The tragedy of the parents is the same in both cases but these two cases are definitely not the same. Moreover, victims of so called collateral damage are bemoaned in the West only if the damage is done by Israelis. There is a very clear example of this. 2012 during the war with Gaza the Western media were full of outraged articles and pictures of a baby, Omar Misharawi, killed “by Israeli rocket. The media fell silent when it turned out that the baby was killed by Hamas rocket, which was intended to kill Israeli children but “fell short” (there are tens of such “fell short”, i.e. Hamas rockets which are falling on the heads of hapless Gazans but nobody in the West talks about them). Some newspapers even refused to publish a correction.

          Maybe it’s not a black and white issue, but there is much more black on the one side and people who are paying the highest prise are Palestinians – but they are paying the price for having such murderous leaders and for being raised in such murderous culture.

          1. Yes, I agree with much of this. Unfortunately, toxic political conditions make for toxic cultures, and they also contaminate the cultures around them. The shift in Israeli policy in recent years to the “mowing the grass” strategy may be necessary to national survival, but it essentially entrenches a permanent state of war in which Israel uses overwhelming force to keep its neighbours in check, further exacerbating the sense of frustration and humiliation that is a breeding ground for further terrorism, not to mention for murderous leadership and a murderous culture. And depressingly, I have old friends who, like me, have always been pro-Israel, who are now beginning to hold a discourse that is close to genocidal…

            1. It seems so easy to blame Israel’s policies for the “contamination of culture around them”. Is Nigeria “around them”? If not, why Boko Haram? Why Afghanistan with Taliban, Pakistan with murderous persecutions of non-Muslims, Saudi Arabia with flogging, decapitating and hanging? Iran? Syria is Israel’s neighbour but do you blame massacres going on there on Israel’s behaviour as well? Take a look at the list of the worst human right abusers and you will find Islam-majority states in the highest positions. So, maybe, Palestinian Arabs are more influenced by their culture (which encompasses an interpretation of their religion) then by behaviour of Israeli Jews. Palestinian Arabs behaved this way long before Israel was established 1947 (check how many murders, pogroms and rapes there were though nobody knew then what “mowing grass strategy” means), and the same was going on long before 1967 and “occupation”. Your friends may hold “a discours that is close to genocidal” but Israeli government and media do not. You can’t blame Israel for your friends but you can blame the Islamic/Arab culture for having Mein Kampf as bestseller, printed and sold in millions of copies.

              1. And besides having Mein Kampf for a long-running best-seller, there is the mantra that Jews are “descended from apes and pigs”. For the Nazis they were “vermin” and compared to rats. It sounds like the same mind-set. This goes beyond the “us and them” of different races and creeds. This is “we’re human beings and they aren’t, so we have to kill them.” In these circumstances, why does Israel get the blame for a lack of peace with their neighbours, and the neighbours are seen as “oppressed”?

              2. Sorry Malgorzata, I see that my remark was ambiguous. When I wrote: “Unfortunately, toxic political conditions make for toxic cultures, and they also contaminate the cultures around them”, I meant that the political conditions around Israel are toxic (Hamas, Hezbollah, etc.…), and that Israeli politics have been contaminated by them, rather than the reverse.

        2. I am gobsmacked by this statement of Mr. Crisp:

          I am not prepared to stay silent while anybody claims that particular ethnicities, religions or cultures, have a greater propensity for child killing (or any other atrocity) than others.

          What this means, translated into English is this: “All cultures are exactly equal in their propensity for violence and murder.” Do you seriously believe that? Are you one of those people who think that North Korea is the moral equal to Sweden in their propensity to commit “any atrocity”?

          Please give us a response; I am all ears.

          1. Fair enough. I was not clear in what I wrote. What I intended was a rejection of “essentialism”. North Korea is a good example, because absolutely the only difference between North Koreans and South Koreans is their political system. So to express it more clearly, an individual’s membership of a “race”, ethnicity, culture, nationality, does not give them an inherently greater propensity to commit atrocities. On the other hand, human beings have evolved with a propensity to differentiate between us and them, so in the mildest form, our ability to care about the suffering of others is limited by the circumference of our “circle of moral concern”, and in the most extreme form, we are prepared to perpetrate the most horrible acts on “them”, usually under the influence of political and/or religious propaganda. Admittedly, it is hard to think of Sweden and North Korea in the same context, but let’s not forget that Sweden was a major player in the 30 Years War, one of the bloodiest in European history, in which the two warring sides were essentially divided by a difference over whether a man in a dress can turn wine into blood and bread into meat by waving his hand…

            As for people being prepared to sacrifice their own children in a political cause, most nations seem quite happy to do that, though they usually wait until the children have got to the age of 16 or 18. Note that the children in question are usually male, the more disposable of the two sexes in all cultures, arguably for good evolutionary reasons. Sadly, I also have reason to believe at first hand that people will sacrifice their children for less “noble” causes. It is said that in certain rural parts of Ethiopia, parents teach their children to play “chicken” with four-wheel-drive cars. The going rate for a driver to escape life imprisonment (regardless of fault), or a lynch mob, for killing a child, is around 70,000 Ethiopian Birr (US$2500), perhaps 8 years’ income for a peasant farmer.

            1. Oh for crying out loud; you have to dig back hundreds of years to find Swedes committing atrocities so that you can somehow make them equal to North Korea? Do you see how ludicrous your argument looks? First you say that culture can make a difference in moral behavior (and I agree with that; I never said anything about inherent ethnic differences), and then you sort of have to TRY TO FIND A WAY TO MAKE SWEDEN AS BAD AS NORTH KOREA. Can’t you just admit that at present there are moral differences between nations, whatever their cause? I am afraid you are unable to do that, so committed are you to the notion that every group is exactly as moral as every other group.

              Just look at the videos Heather posted about how Palestinians teach their kids to hate Jews and Israelis (these videos are widespread across the Middle East). You will see no such videos on Israeli media. Yet somehow, despite the culture of hatred that Palestinians cultivate in their children, you are still going to argue that somehow they are exactly the same in terms of their murderous instincts.

              I suggest that if you want to continue to argue, you do better than equating Swedes with North Koreans (and don’t deny you did that).

              1. I don’t really want to pursue this argument much further, because I tend to agree with you on most issues, and absurdly I think we probably agree on this one, but I am obviously not making myself clear or you are feeling particularly combative.

                First, yes, I absolutely deny that I equate Swedes with North Koreans, and frankly I would have expected a slightly less straw man response on your part.

                So let me spell it out to you. I have absolutely no difficulty accepting that nations and cultures differ at different times in their “moralities”, with modern Sweden somewhere at the top of the scale if the morality of nations is equated with the prosperity of their populations and the tolerance of their social and political attitudes, and modern North Korea somewhere near the bottom. It is an uncontentious point. I am simply trying to make an equally uncontentious but broader point that the “morality” of nations and cultures is contingent not essential, and varies with political, economic and ecological conditions. North Korea is not “essentially” a nation of people committed to global Armageddon, but nor is Sweden “essentially” a rich, social democratic, peaceful, tolerant nation. Enlightened and civilised Europe tore itself apart and killed a significant proportion of its young men and massive civilian populations (not to mention factory processing 6 million Jews) twice in the last century, so in the same way Europe is not “essentially” a continent devoted to Enlightenment ideals (a truism that is sadly reemerging, for example, with Poland’s reversion to the authoritarian Catholic nationalism that my mother grew up with a century ago).

                So my only objection to your position is that I see in it a hint of ahistorical essentialism. You write: “you are still going to argue that somehow they [the Palestinians] are exactly the same in terms of their murderous instincts.” Yes, if you really believe they are “instincts “, rather than taught/learned behaviours. I will do the courtesy of assuming that you did not mean “instincts” (understood as genetically encoded behaviours), if you will do me the courtesy of not straw manning me.

              2. I will conclude my bit here by saying

                a. nobody said anything about “essences” of cultures, so the strawmanning is on your part. The claim was about the moral equivalency NOW between Palestine and Israel, REGARDLESS OF ITS CAUSE. If you can point out where anybody arguing against you said that there is anything but a cultural difference that leads to this (I mentioned propaganda), then please do so.

                b. Though you accuse me of “strawmanning” you, let me remind you of what you said:

                “I am not prepared to stay silent while anybody claims that particular ethnicities, religions or cultures, have a greater propensity for child killing (or any other atrocity) than others.”

                No, you didn’t stay silent; your claim, which is absolutely clear here and in your original post, is simply that no group has any different propensity for atrocities than any other group. That is palpably absurd.

                You have now walked this back, all while denying you ever said this. But you did say this, and it is absolutely a statement of moral equivalency of all cultures. When I pointed out that Sweden was not morally identical to North Korea, instead of saying, “Yes, you’re right and I was wrong,” you reached back into history to save your argument by showing us that Swedes were once in wars several hundred years ago. Why, exactly, did you do that? You were arguing against something that nobody said. The argument was about NOW, and that is also perfectly clear.

                The upshot is that you made statement you couldn’t support, were called out on them, and are now saying that you were “misunderstood.” You weren’t; you just aren’t prepared to admit that your statement above was wrong. There is strawmanning, but it is not on my part, or Malgorzata’s.

                And no, I’m not especially pugnacious, but I get annoyed by someone who makes a clear statement and then tries to pretend they never said it, and that they were “misunderstood.” You were’t–you were just WRoNG.

  11. As already been stated bashar al-assad and his army have been killing children for quite some time. The difference is, it’s his own peoples’ children.
    Perhaps that’s ok by these tweeters’ litmus test as they scan the landscape looking for outrage.
    And they found one in Gadot, an easy target for their lazy pathetically biased thinking.

  12. Extremists and the self righteous will always use whatever is available to unfairly demonize those they consider their religious and political foes. Religious extremism is the real problem, everywhere it’s found.

  13. Just another reminder:

    Antisemitism is RIFE among the left, especially the regressive left. This includes quite a few of the ones who have “anti-racist” in their Twitter bio.

    Just like they apply the “original sin” concept to all “white cis men”, they apply the “original sin” concept to all Jews/Israelis.

    1. Excuse me, but I studied to be an Orthodox Christian before I met my husband and I can tell you that your thoughts of Original Sin are not a part of the Orthodox faith. Not even sure what your point is about regressive left…

  14. This thread reminds me of a tactic that was used during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. Iran gave children little plastic “keys to heaven”, told them it was wonderful to be a martyr, and then had them run through minefields to clear them for the adult soldiers following along behind them. I don’t remember how widely this was reported–it was only Muslims killing their own young–but it reveals an attitude to human life.

  15. I simply wanted to share something with my child that I grew up with. Wonder Woman. I looked forward to seeing the new Wonder Woman with an open mind. And I did it with my daughter. I knew it was not going to be a Wonder Woman in Red, White, and Blue like the one I grew up with, but one that would not just protect the USA- but the world. I loved it, she loved it and I really don’t understand why anyone could not have loved it if they had known her as I did.

  16. I support the Palestinians (on the whole) but those tweets attacking Gadot were moronic. Also ridiculous.

    Save the outrage for real outrages, it isn’t as if there’s any shortage of them.


  17. An Irish, originally Catholic, friend from Derry (he got out because he had the same name as an ‘informer’ the IRA – or was it the provisional IRA? – were after and didn’t want to be murdered with a few trimmings beforehand) told me how the IRA would get young boys to throw stones at British soldiers in the hope that there would be shots fired and a boy dead, because that meant the next morning there would be young people queuing up to join the IRA… I loathed Prime Minister Blair but one very good thing his government (and particularly Mo Mowlam) did do was to broker a ceasefire and bring about some semblance of peace in Ulster after years of counter-productive Thatcherite intransigence and refusal to negotiate with ‘terrorists’. There does not, alas, as the historian Tony Judt, who was Jewish, remarked, seem to be an interest in trying talks…

Leave a Reply