Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

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Lazar Taxon
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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby Lazar Taxon » 2013-07-20, 13:25

Arguably there's been a political entity called Germany for most of the past millennium - you can see on old maps that it was frequently used as a short form name of the Holy Roman Empire, and from 1815-1866 it was the German Confederation. On that subject, I've had arguments with people who refuse to acknowledge that Austria used to be part of Germany, and that its exclusion from the empire of 1870 was a Prussian contrivance.
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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-07-20, 20:47

All nationalities are created whether by the state (civic nationalism) or the people (ethnic nationalism). Sometimes it's both. The point is there is a double standard where the Palestinians always have their claim to nationhood attacked while Israelis hardly ever have to prove theirs even though there was no Israel to speak of until 1947 - it was just "Palestine" and they were just Jews living there.

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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby Lazar Taxon » 2013-07-20, 22:23

But Israel defined itself as a state of all Jews (in the sense of being willing to take them in, at least), and is the only place on Earth that's predominantly Jewish and Hebrew-speaking. A Martian ethnographer is going to have no trouble calling the Israelis a nation, and a lot of trouble assigning them to any other. Palestine, on the other hand, was not pan-Arab in its conception, and had no cultural, religious or linguistic distinctiveness from its neighbors and no history of statehood. It was an arbitrary slice of territory, and many of its inhabitants were Egyptian migrants who came in as the Jews stimulated the economy. The only substantive thing done to establish a Palestinian nation is the bad-faith efforts of Arab governments to maintain the "national distinctiveness" of descendants of Palestinian refugees by keeping them in camps and denying them basic rights. If the West Germans had put Pomeranian and Silesian expellees in camps for 70 years, would we now have a Prussian ethnicity with a right of return to western Poland?
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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby linguoboy » 2013-07-20, 22:57

Lazar Taxon wrote:If the West Germans had put Pomeranian and Silesian expellees in camps for 70 years, would we now have a Prussian ethnicity with a right of return to western Poland?

Quite possibly yes.

Does a South Sudanese nationality exist? Why or why not?
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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-07-20, 23:22

Lazar Taxon wrote:But Israel defined itself as a state of all Jews (in the sense of being willing to take them in, at least), and is the only place on Earth that's predominantly Jewish and Hebrew-speaking.
That may be, but Jewish does not equal Israel, and as I've said Jews have been living in the area that is now Israel for a long time but "Israelis" as a nationality are a fairly recent phenomenon.
Palestine, on the other hand, was not pan-Arab in its conception, and had no cultural, religious or linguistic distinctiveness from its neighbors and no history of statehood. It was an arbitrary slice of territory, and many of its inhabitants were Egyptian migrants who came in as the Jews stimulated the economy.
So I guess there's no such thing as Algerians or Omanis either.

I don't see why it matters that many Palestinians have no historic ties to the land. Most Israelis are descendants of Jews who had been living in Europe or North Africa for the last two thousands years, and so their claim to the land is pretty weak too. If the Roma of Europe settled in Panjab and established a state there, I bet the locals wouldn't take it well either.
The only substantive thing done to establish a Palestinian nation is the bad-faith efforts of Arab governments to maintain the "national distinctiveness" of descendants of Palestinian refugees by keeping them in camps and denying them basic rights.
This glosses over everything that Israel has done to them to deny their national aspirations, which ironically includes the exact same things in the part I highlighted.

I have no illusions about the way the Arab nations treat Palestine: they're a bargaining chip to be used against Israel, nothing else. But Israel's treatment of them has not exactly been in good faith either. Their policy has been to deny their connection to their homes so that Israel can have their land and incorporate it into their state. And that's the reason why there is such widespread denial of Palestinians as a nation. It's politically motivated - weaken their claim to nationhood and you weaken their claim to statehood at the same time.
If the West Germans had put Pomeranian and Silesian expellees in camps for 70 years, would we now have a Prussian ethnicity with a right of return to western Poland?
Maybe. All nationalities are invented, even ones as old as the Jews. And Israel as a nation is no older than Pakistan is, yet I don't see anyone claiming that Pakistanis aren't a nation and their territory rightfully belongs to India. "Palestine" is just as much of a thing as "Bosnia" and "Moldova" are.

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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby Lazar Taxon » 2013-07-20, 23:27

linguoboy wrote:Quite possibly yes.
I was asking that rhetorically, because the answer is no. It would be a case of one ethnicity using some of its members as pawns to bolster a territorial claim and antagonize an opponent. Keeping your co-ethnics interned in camps may give them some claim to minority status within their new host country, but it has no bearing on their claim to the area from which they were expelled. Most of these so-called Palestinian refugees have never even set foot in Palestine; that, combined with their lack of cultural, linguistic or religious distinctiveness, and the lack of agitation from 1948 to 1967 for a Palestinian state separate from Jordan, argues against their being a nation. They're Arabs who are discriminated against by Arab governments because their ancestors happened to have lived in a certain place at a certain time.

Does a South Sudanese nationality exist? Why or why not?
That depends on the extent of national consciousness among the peoples who live there, but their claim is stronger than that of the Palestinians because not only are they distinct from their northern neighbors, but they also lack ethnic homelands elsewhere.
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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-07-20, 23:32

Lazar Taxon wrote:It would be a case of one ethnicity using some of its members as pawns to bolster a territorial claim and antagonize an opponent.
Oh, like Israeli settlers you mean?
Most of these so-called Palestinian refugees have never even set foot in Palestine
Oh, like most Jews who made aliyah?
They're Arabs who are discriminated against by Arab governments because their ancestors happened to have lived in a certain place at a certain time.
Oh, like how the Palestinians are discriminated against by the government of Israel for that reason?
That depends on the extent of national consciousness among the peoples who live there
National consciousness is hardly lacking among Palestinians.
but their claim is stronger than that of the Palestinians because not only are they distinct from their northern neighbors, but they also lack ethnic homelands elsewhere.
So because there other Arab nations, the Palestinians don't deserve one? Why don't the South Sudanese go to Kenya or Chad? Surely they'd have more in common with the black Africans there than the Sudanese Arabs, amirite?

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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby linguoboy » 2013-07-20, 23:43

mōdgethanc wrote:So because there other Arab nations, the Palestinians don't deserve one? Why don't the South Sudanese go to Kenya or Chad? Surely they'd have more in common with the black Africans there than the Sudanese Arabs, amirite?

Most of them have ethnic kin across the border in any case. The Azande are also in the DRC and the CAR, the Nuer and Bari live in Ethiopia as well, and the Shilluk are considered to be a branch of the Luo of Kenya. So I guess that despite dwelling where they have for millennia, they can all be said to have "ethnic homelands elsewhere" and therefore didn't deserve to have a state on land claimed by Sudan.
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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby Lazar Taxon » 2013-07-20, 23:47

mōdgethanc wrote:And Israel as a nation is no older than Pakistan is, yet I don't see anyone claiming that Pakistanis aren't a nation and their territory rightfully belongs to India.
I also don't see anyone claiming that expelled Hindu Sindhis, Punjabis and Bengalis have national distinctiveness or a right of return.

Oh, like Israeli settlers you mean?
Am I claiming that Israeli settlers are being exploited, and that they're being put forth as a distinct ethnicity? No, that's not what what I'm claiming.

Oh, like most Jews who made aliyah?
If they had other predominantly Jewish states to go to, then yeah, they would have no particular claim on Israel.

Oh, like how the Palestinians are discriminated against by the government of Israel for that reason?
Yeah, Israel discriminates against them too. But that still doesn't make them a nation.

National consciousness is hardly lacking among Palestinians.
I didn't say it was the only necessary condition. The southern states of the US had some politically-oriented national consciousness during the Civil War, but I don't see anyone arguing their ongoing right to self-determination.

So because there other Arab nations, the Palestinians don't deserve one?
Yep.

Why don't the South Sudanese go to Kenya or Chad? Surely they'd have more in common with the black Africans there than the Sudanese Arabs, amirite?
How does Arab analogize to black? If Kenya or Chad were predominantly Dinka, then yeah, the South Sudanese wouldn't have as much cause for a national identity distinct from those countries.

linguoboy wrote:Most of them have ethnic kin across the border in any case. The Azande are also in the DRC and the CAR, the Nuer and Bari live in Ethiopia as well, and the Shilluk are considered to be a branch of the Luo of Kenya. So I guess that despite dwelling where they have for millennia, they can all be said to have "ethnic homelands elsewhere" and therefore didn't deserve to have a state on land claimed by Sudan.
There are no countries where those ethnicities predominate. There's no Nuer republic where a Nuer can seek refuge. That's what I mean by a homeland.
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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-07-21, 0:30

Lazar Taxon wrote:]I also don't see anyone claiming that expelled Hindu Sindhis, Punjabis and Bengalis have national distinctiveness or a right of return.
Why not? Do Muhajirs have a right of return to India? How about Afghans who fled to Pakistan during the civil war in the 80s? I don't see why they should haven't one if they were forced to emigrate, or their immediate ancestors were.

I think it's the height of hypocrisy to say that Jews whose ancestors have lived in Europe for thousands of years have more of a right to the land than people whose parents and grandparents lived there.
Am I claiming that Israeli settlers are being exploited, and that they're being put forth as a distinct ethnicity? No, that's not what what I'm claiming.
No, I don't think you are. I am claiming that Israeli settlers are, as you put it:
a case of one ethnicity using some of its members as pawns to bolster a territorial claim and antagonize an opponent

If they had other predominantly Jewish states to go to, then yeah, they would have no particular claim on Israel.
So if there were no other Arab countries, the Palestinians would have a right to go there? The other Arab countries, as we have established, do not want the Palestinians living in them forever. I don't think they have another country to go to as a place of refuge.
]Yeah, Israel discriminates against them too. But that still doesn't make them a nation.
I think you're applying your criteria for what is and isn't a nation very selectively, to say the least. That is, I don't see why Israel should get to be a nation just because they succeeded in getting their own state and the Palestinians didn't. That is the only meaningful difference I am seeing.
I didn't say it was the only necessary condition. The southern states of the US had some politically-oriented national consciousness during the Civil War, but I don't see anyone arguing their ongoing right to self-determination.
You don't? You've never heard the phrase "the South will rise again"? There are neo-Confederates who think the South should secede, believe it or not.
So because there other Arab nations, the Palestinians don't deserve one?
Yep.
This is just special pleading. The Jews might not have another country, but they did have other countries to go to where they were safe, most notably America. You're lumping all Arabs together because it's convenient for you which ignores that not all Arabs see themselves as Arab first and Egyptian, Lebanese etc. second.
How does Arab analogize to black? If Kenya or Chad were predominantly Dinka, then yeah, the South Sudanese wouldn't have as much cause for a national identity distinct from those countries.
What you're not getting is that all nationalities are made up. There's no reason the Egyptians couldn't decide tomorrow that they are no longer Arabs but Egyptians and they speak Egyptian, not Arabic. "Arab" is really more of a pan-ethnic group like Slavs or Nordic people than a single monolithic nationality.
There are no countries where those ethnicities predominate. There's no Nuer republic where a Nuer can seek refuge. That's what I mean by a homeland.
There is no Palestine either. You've just arbitrarily decided that Jews get to be their own ethnicity because they're special but Palestinians don't because they're just another kind of Arab to you.

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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby Lazar Taxon » 2013-07-21, 0:47

mōdgethanc wrote:Why not? Do Muhajirs have a right of return to India?
I'm not seeing it, no. In their case, the Muslim Urdu-speaking nationality (such as it was) largely transplanted itself and became dominant with Pakistan, so I don't see how India would really offer them any more of a home.

I think it's the height of hypocrisy to say that Jews whose ancestors have lived in Europe for thousands of years have more of a right to the land than people whose parents and grandparents lived there.
You know, I just don't care that much about particular patches of territory. The difference between the Jews and the Arabs is that the Jews only have one country of their own, regardless of where it is. There are about twenty Arab states.

No, I don't think you are. I am claiming that Israeli settlers, as you put it:
a case of one ethnicity using some of its members as pawns to bolster a territorial claim and antagonize an opponent
The Israeli settlers aren't being used as pawns, they're actively choosing to settle and antagonize. Nobody's keeping them from returning to Israel proper.

So if there were no other Arab countries, the Palestinians would have a right to go there? The other Arab countries, as we have established, do not want the Palestinians living in them forever. I don't think they have another country to go to as a place of refuge.
If there were no other Arab countries, then yeah, they would have a much stronger claim to self-determination. There have been so many other ethnicities which have lost a province or two without trying to segment themselves and live in the past. As I said above, I don't think Germany would have any stronger claim on the western third of Poland if some of the Germans had decided to keep some other Germans in camps for 70 years.

That is, I don't see why Israel should get to be a nation just because they succeeded in getting their own state and the Palestinians didn't. That is the only meaningful difference I am seeing.
The Israelis have a combination of ethno-linguistic uniqueness and territoriality, which makes a persuasive case for independent status. The legitimacy of the original Zionist project is as much a closed question as that of the nations of the New World - the fact is that they are where they are, and they're distinct. If we're talking about unfair treatment, it's the Jews who are subjected to special criticism as if every other country in the world hadn't been founded on conquest and migration.

You don't? You've never heard the phrase "the South will rise again"? There are neo-Confederates who think the South should secede, believe it or not.
Sorry, yeah, I have heard of them. But I meant sane people.

This is just special pleading. The Jews might not have another country, but they did have other countries to go to where they were safe, most notably America. You're lumping all Arabs together because it's convenient for you which ignores that not all Arabs see themselves as Arab first and Egyptian, Lebanese etc. second.
I think I have less concern than you do in contrived identities. I mean, look at Lebanon - a gerrymandered little province originally designed to give the Christians a majority. I don't see there to be a Lebanese ethnicity distinct from the Syrians. At least the Egyptians may have dialectal distinctiveness and some lingering memory of their pre-Semitic civilization to speak in their favor, but the Palestinians have very little to distinguish themselves from other Levantine Arabs.
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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-07-21, 1:51

Lazar Taxon wrote:'m not seeing it, no. In their case, the Muslim Urdu-speaking nationality (such as it was) largely transplanted itself and became dominant with Pakistan, so I don't see how India would really offer them any more of a home.
That's not the point. I think that morally, if they wanted to return, they would have the right to. And they didn't really leave voluntarily, they left largely due to the ethnic violence and rioting caused by the partition of India. Did you know about a million people died in that?
You know, I just don't care that much about particular patches of territory. The difference between the Jews and the Arabs is that the Jews only have one country of their own, regardless of where it is. There are about twenty Arab states.
I care about people being driven out of their homes so a bunch of foreigners can move in and take it. I don't care if it was 60 years ago. That was ethnic cleansing, and it was unjust. If you were driven out of Massachusetts, would you be okay with that if I told you "well, there are 49 other American states you can go to, so suck it up"?
The Israeli settlers aren't being used as pawns, they're actively choosing to settle and antagonize. Nobody's keeping them from returning to Israel proper.
The Israeli government is de facto supporting them and using them against the Palestinians by protecting them and their land. Look at a map of where the security barriers are - they're balkanizing the West Bank so that Israel can continue to claim it for themselves. Ever hear the phrase "facts on the ground"? It was coined in reference to Israeli settlements and it means an irrevocable change in the ethnic makeup of the region.
If there were no other Arab countries, then yeah, they would have a much stronger claim to self-determination. There have been so many other ethnicities which have lost a province or two without trying to segment themselves and live in the past. As I said above, I don't think Germany would have any stronger claim on the western third of Poland if some of the Germans had decided to keep some other Germans in camps for 70 years.
Who's living in the past? There are Palestinian refugees living in camps, today. These people need somewhere to go. The Arab countries don't want them. Israel doesn't want them. Where are they supposed to go, Uzbekistan?
The Israelis have a combination of ethno-linguistic uniqueness and territoriality, which makes a persuasive case for independent status. The legitimacy of the original Zionist project is as much a closed question as that of the nations of the New World - the fact is that they are where they are, and they're distinct. If we're talking about unfair treatment, it's the Jews who are subjected to special criticism as if every other country in the world hadn't been founded on conquest and migration.
You must be having a laugh. I think by continuing to recognize Israel's right to exist, we are being more than fair to Israel. Nobody is asking the Israelis to leave their home, yet we're asking the Palestinians to leave theirs. At best, they might get about a quarter of it back. That's what I call unfair treatment.

As for the uniqueness of Israelis, there are lots of unique ethnic groups that don't have their own states, and lots of states that aren't ethnically or linguistically unique. I don't see anyone claiming that Austria ought to be part of Germany because they're both German speakers, yet you're saying the Palestinians don't deserve their own country because they're Arabic speakers. So uniqueness is clearly not the only reason for statehood.
Sorry, yeah, I have heard of them. But I meant sane people.
IMO people who think that Israel can just take the West Bank for themselves and the Palestinians can go screw themselves are not sane people.
I think I have less concern than you do in contrived identities. I mean, look at Lebanon - a gerrymandered little province originally designed to give the Christians a majority. I don't see there to be a Lebanese ethnicity distinct from the Syrians. At least the Egyptians may have dialectal distinctiveness and some lingering memory of their pre-Semitic civilization to speak in their favor, but the Palestinians have very little to distinguish themselves from other Levantine Arabs.
As I keep telling you, all identities are contrived. You really think there is all that much separating Americans from Canadians? You seem to think there is an objective way to distinguish one ethnic group from another. Well, there isn't, just as there's no clear way to distinguish one language from another. And really, "Jewish" is somewhat of a contrived identity too. In Israel there are Central European Jews, North African Jews, Caucasian Jews and Ethiopian Jews. They have nothing in common besides a shared language, religion and sense of identity - the exact same things the Palestinians have in common with each other.

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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby Lazar Taxon » 2013-07-21, 2:15

mōdgethanc wrote:That's not the point. I think that morally, if they wanted to return, they would have the right to.
I have trouble understanding this notion of morality that you're appealing too; it seems more like romantic fantasy.

Did you know about a million people died in that?
Yes, I knew that.

I care about people being driven out of their homes so a bunch of foreigners can move in and take it. I don't care if it was 60 years ago. That was ethnic cleansing, and it was unjust. If you were driven out of Massachusetts, would you be okay with that if I told you "well, there are 49 other American states you can go to, so suck it up"?
I wouldn't feel that I had an absolute right of return, no. And is it me that's being driven out, or my ancestor of 70 years ago? Because you're minimizing this difference, and I think it's important; a claim to an "ancestral homeland" is much more tenuous than a claim to a place where I used to live. But in any case, this is a few hundred thousand people out of the tens of millions who were displaced in the aftermath of World War 2; why are the Palestinian Arabs so much more special than the Germans, Poles, Indians, Pakistanis, or Sephardic Jews? Do you propose to undo all the ethnic cleansing that's ever taken place? It's obvious that this would reduce to absurdity.

The Israeli government is de facto supporting them and using them against the Palestinians by protecting them and their land. Look at a map of where the security barriers are - they're balkanizing the West Bank so that Israel can continue to claim it for themselves. Ever hear the phrase "facts on the ground"? It was coined in reference to Israeli settlements and it means an irrevocable change in the ethnic makeup of the region.
I'm not disputing that. I'm opposed to the Israeli settlements in the West Bank because I think they're needlessly antagonistic. What I'm disputing is your claim that the settlers are being used as pawns, as if they didn't choose to be there.

Who's living in the past? There are Palestinian refugees living in camps, today. These people need somewhere to go. The Arab countries don't want them. Israel doesn't want them. Where are they supposed to go, Uzbekistan?
Given that they're Arabs and that most of them have lived their entire lives in their Arab host countries, I'd say it's the responsibility of their host countries to stop treating them like dirt.

You must be having a laugh. I think by continuing to recognize Israel's right to exist, we are being more than fair to Israel. Nobody is asking the Israelis to leave their home, yet we're asking the Palestinians to leave theirs. At best, they might get about a quarter of it back. That's what I call unfair treatment.
You talk about "a quarter of it" as if this is a quantifiable thing. You know that Jordan was originally part of Palestine, right? That's already 70% of Palestine (that is, a Palestine no more arbitrarily defined than any other) which is an independent Arab state today. I can define Palestine as the original mandate, as that part of it west of the Jordan, as that part allocated to the Arabs in 1947, as that given to Egypt and Jordan under the armistice, or as anything else; it's all sophistry.

As for the uniqueness of Israelis, there are lots of unique ethnic groups that don't have their own states, and lots of states that aren't ethnically or linguistically unique. I don't see anyone claiming that Austria ought to be part of Germany because they're both German speakers, yet you're saying the Palestinians don't deserve their own country because they're Arabic speakers. So uniqueness is clearly not the only reason for statehood.
I'm not saying that uniqueness is the only reason for statehood - I'm surely not saying that all Arab countries need to be one state - but I'm saying that absent anything else, there has to be some reason for statehood. In the case of the Palestinians, I don't see any.

IMO people who think that Israel can just take the West Bank for themselves and the Palestinians can go screw themselves are not sane people.
I don't think Israel should take the West Bank for themselves either. My contention is that the Palestinians are not a nationality distinct from other Arabs, not that the Israelis have a right to colonize predominantly Arab areas. I'm not even opposed to a Palestinian state; I just don't think it's a necessity, and I think the Palestinian right of return is an absurdity.

You really think there is all that much separating Americans from Canadians?
Not at all; I wouldn't mind a merger of the two countries (although the Canadians probably would). But I take issue with the argument, "These two countries are separate, even though they don't have to be; therefore this other country must be separate too." New nation-states need to justify their separation; established ones don't. If this weren't the case, we'd have chaos.

As I keep telling you, all identities are contrived. You really think there is all that much separating Americans from Canadians? You seem to think there is an objective way to distinguish one ethnic group from another. Well, there isn't, just as there's no clear way to distinguish one language from another. And really, "Jewish" is somewhat of a contrived identity too. In Israel there are Central European Jews, North African Jews, Caucasian Jews and Ethiopian Jews. They have nothing in common besides a shared language, religion and sense of identity - the exact same things the Palestinians have in common with each other.
The exact same thing that Palestinians have in common with all Arabs, yes. And there are many independent Arab states.
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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-07-21, 2:39

Lazar Taxon wrote:I have trouble understanding this notion of morality that you're appealing too; it seems more like romantic fantasy.
It's not. It's quite simple - kicking people out of their homes is bad, and allowing them to return helps alleviate the injustice. I think you understand the first part. The second part is what you have trouble with.
I wouldn't feel that I had an absolute right of return, no. And is it me that's being driven out, or my ancestor of 70 years ago? Because you're minimizing this difference, and I think it's important; a claim to an "ancestral homeland" is much more tenuous than a claim to a place where I used to live.
There are still people living who fled from their homes, but anyway, aren't you agreeing with me here? Because I said that the Jews' claim to the land is much more tenuous than the Palestinians' since it's based on its being their ancestral homeland from 2000 years ago. Surely that's not as strong a case as one where it existed within living memory.
But in any case, this is a few hundred thousand people out of the tens of millions who were displaced in the aftermath of World War 2; why are the Palestinian Arabs so much more special than the Germans, Poles, Indians, Pakistanis, or Sephardic Jews? Do you propose to undo all the ethnic cleansing that's ever taken place? It's obvious that this would reduce to absurdity.
No, I don't propose that. Like I said, there are living people and their immediate families who were affected by this. And I don't deny that other groups got a rough deal after World War II; I'm of Polish descent and I tell people that all the time. The reason we gave the Jews their own country was basically because we felt sorry for them suffering more than anyone else in the Holocaust. But that's no reason to allow them to continue shitting all over the Palestinians and then pretend to be the victims here.
I'm not disputing that. I'm opposed to the Israeli settlements in the West Bank because I think they're needlessly antagonistic. What I'm disputing is your claim that the settlers are being used as pawns, as if they didn't choose to be there.
They did choose to be there, but the Israeli government still uses them as a political tool and says "look, we can't give you this land because our own citizens are living on it". Presumably the settlers are on board with this. So they are pawns, but willingly so.
Given that they're Arabs and that most of them have lived their entire lives in their Arab host countries, I'd say it's the responsibility of their host countries to stop treating them like dirt.
So Israel is absolved of its responsibility to give them their homes back and instead dumps its internal problems on its neighbours. How is that fair?

And again, not all Arabs are the same and you shouldn't assume the Palestinians want to live in those countries.
You talk about "a quarter of it" as if this is a quantifiable thing. You know that Jordan was originally part of Palestine, right? That's already 70% of Palestine (that is, a Palestine no less arbitrarily defined than any other) which is an independent Arab state today.
Yeah, but these Palestinians we're talking about aren't from Jordan. They're from Israel.
I'm not saying that uniqueness is the only reason for statehood - I'm surely not saying that all Arab countries need to be one state - but I'm saying that absent anything else, there has to be some reason for statehood. In the case of the Palestinians, I don't see any.
Well, they've been shit on by Israel and all the neighbouring Arab countries for the last half century. I say that's as good a reason as any. But I think for the Palestinians this isn't even about statehood so much as it is their need for a home. If they were allowed to go back to their ancestral villages in Israel and become citizens, they would probably be okay with that, or at least more okay with it than they are with the current situation. But Israel will never allow that because then they would be outnumbered by Arabs and lose their claim to be the Jewish state.
I don't think Israel should take the West Bank for themselves either. My contention is that the Palestinians are not a distinct nationality, not that the Israelis have a right to colonize predominantly Arab areas.
So what exactly should be done with the West Bank? Should Israel keep it? Because unless it's forced to give it to the Palestinians, that's what it plans on doing.
The exact same thing that Palestinians have in common with all Arabs, yes. And there are many independent Arab states.
Which is my point - if those Arabs are allowed to have their own countries, why aren't they? They're just as distinct as they are. I don't understand how you apply your standards for who is and isn't a distinct nationality. It all seems arbitrary to me.

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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby Lazar Taxon » 2013-07-21, 2:58

mōdgethanc wrote:It's not. It's quite simple - kicking people out of their homes is bad, and allowing them to return helps alleviate the injustice. I think you understand the first part. The second part is what you have trouble with.
Indeed I do. First of all, allowing people to return to their homes when other people (who are not actually evil aggressors) have established homes in their place is by no means a good thing; and the idea that my ancestor's home, which I've never even seen, is synonymous with my home, is deeply problematic and draws us into all sorts of absurdities.

There are still people living who fled from their homes, but anyway, aren't you agreeing with me here? Because I said that the Jews' claim to the land is much more tenuous than the Palestinians' since it's based on its being their ancestral homeland from 2000 years ago. Surely that's not as strong a case as one where it existed within living memory.
I don't give a hoot about 2000 years ago. The Jews' claim to Israel is that they have settled there and established a state there. If this claim is tenuous, then every white person in the western hemisphere needs to move back to Europe, and the Europeans need to reshuffle themselves as well.

But if you're speaking of Israeli claims on the West Bank, I don't support those at all. I'm opposed to the settlements just like you.

No, I don't propose that. Like I said, there are living people and their immediate families who were affected by this. And I don't deny that other groups got a rough deal after World War II; I'm of Polish descent and I tell people that all the time. The reason we gave the Jews their own country was basically because we felt sorry for them suffering more than anyone else in the Holocaust. But that's no reason to allow them to continue shitting all over the Palestinians and then pretend to be the victims here.
Again, it might help if we can divide the question into Israel's existence within the pre-1967 borders and Israel's settlement of the occupied territories; I find the former perfectly legitimate but I don't support the latter.

So Israel is absolved of its responsibility to give them their homes back and instead dumps its internal problems on its neighbours. How is that fair?
I don't think that Israel should commit itself to attaining a fantastical "original home" state of affairs, no, especially considering that so much of Israel's population is descended from people expelled from Arab countries. As I've indicated above, the fate of Arabs born and living in Arab countries being mistreated by their own governments is not an internal problem of Israel.

Yeah, but these Palestinians we're talking about aren't from Jordan. They're from Israel.
What's the smallest subdivision of territory for which this logic makes sense, and for how many generations is the right conferred?

Well, they've been shit on by Israel and all the neighbouring Arab countries for the last half century. I say that's as good a reason as any. But I think for the Palestinians this isn't even about statehood so much as it is their need for a home. If they were allowed to go back to their ancestral villages in Israel and become citizens, they would probably be okay with that, or at least more okay with it than they are with the current situation. But Israel will never allow that because then they would be outnumbered by Arabs and lose their claim to be the Jewish state.
I fail to see the need for them to return to these particular spots within Israel that they've largely never seen. I think they should have a home just like everyone else, and I think Israel should agree to a territorial settlement where the majority of the West Bank goes to some kind of Arab state; but this constant focus on a few particular villages just seems like romanticism to me.

So what exactly should be done with the West Bank? Should Israel keep it? Because unless it's forced to give it to the Palestinians, that's what it plans on doing.
I think Israel should divest itself from the West Bank, yeah.

Which is my point - if those Arabs are allowed to have their own countries, why aren't they? They're just as distinct as they are. I don't understand how you apply your standards for who is and isn't a distinct nationality. It all seems arbitrary to me.
Well for one thing, the Palestinians aren't as distinct as other groups like the Egyptians which have their own national dialects. But mainly, your logic doesn't make sense, as it would allow limitless division into ethnographically unjustified states. As I've said, the onus is on a proposed state to justify itself, not on an established one.
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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-07-21, 4:20

Lazar Taxon wrote:Indeed I do. First of all, allowing people to return to their homes when other people (who are not actually evil aggressors) have established homes in their place is by no means a good thing; and the idea that my ancestor's home, which I've never even seen, is synonymous with my home, is deeply problematic and draws us into all sorts of absurdities.
Like I said, the litmus test should be whether there are living people who are affected by it. There are people who have seen their homes destroyed, both Arabs and Jews (though mostly Arabs) and it's not fair to tell them they can't go back because sorry, the country's full. Israel could accept the Palestinians returning to their ancestral homes if they were ready to accept giving up the Jewish nature of the state, but they aren't, so I think they'll have to be content with returning to the West Bank. (Israel does have a large Arab community and they get along fairly well, but two or three million immigrants coming in all at once is a bit much for any country to handle.)
I don't give a hoot about 2000 years ago. The Jews' claim to Israel is that they have settled there and established a state there. If this claim is tenuous, then every white person in the western hemisphere needs to move back to Europe, and the Europeans need to reshuffle themselves as well.
I never said otherwise, though. I certainly don't think we can make claims on land where the relevant parties are all long dead. I mean, it's not like we're going to give North America back to the Natives. But in cases whether the people affected are still alive, we can and should make reparations, like for example when the Canadian government apologized to Chinese immigrants who had to pay the head tax when they came here.
But if you're speaking of Israeli claims on the West Bank, I don't support those at all. I'm opposed to the settlements just like you.
If the settlements are just a land grab, I'm opposed to them. On the other hand I think Israel needs to shit or get off the pot when it comes to the status of the occupied territories. Either they're going to be part of the country or they're not. If they are, let the settling continue, but either way they owe it to the Palestinians to at least let them settle there too.
Again, it might help if we can divide the question into Israel's existence within the pre-1967 borders and Israel's settlement of the occupied territories; I find the former perfectly legitimate but I don't support the latter.
I would be okay with incorporating those territories into Israel if the Arabs there had the same rights as the Arabs in Israel proper. But they don't, and that's wrong.
I don't think that Israel should commit itself to attaining a fantastical "original home" state of affairs, no, especially considering that so much of Israel's population is descended from people expelled from Arab countries. As I've indicated above, the fate of Arabs born and living in Arab countries being mistreated by their own governments is not an internal problem of Israel.
The treatment of the Arabs in the occupied territories is certainly Israel's problem though, and so are the Arabs born there but living abroad.
What's the smallest subdivision of territory for which this logic makes sense, and for how many generations is the right conferred?
I'm gonna say the British Mandate of Palestine at the time of Israel's independence and the generation that was alive at that time. So, Israel plus the occupied territories. Not Jordan.
I fail to see the need for them to return to these particular spots within Israel that they've largely never seen. I think they should have a home just like everyone else, and I think Israel should agree to a territorial settlement where the majority of the West Bank goes to some kind of Arab state; but this constant focus on a few particular villages just seems like romanticism to me.
Well, I agree that it's a pipe dream and Israel will never allow it to happen. But I mean, if we have people who were kicked out of their homes as children, I think morally they have a right to return to them. But the problem is since then they've started families and had two or more generations of children who have never seen those homes. So then it becomes a lot more problematic both logistically and morally.
I think Israel should divest itself from the West Bank, yeah.
So Palestine can declare independence, or Israel should just stop allowing settlers there? Because I don't think it matters if Israel gives it to them or keeps it as long as they let the Palestinians settle there too.
Well for one thing, the Palestinians aren't as distinct as other groups like the Egyptians which have their own national dialects. But mainly, your logic doesn't make sense, as it would allow limitless division into ethnographically unjustified states. As I've said, the onus is on a proposed state to justify itself, not on an established one.
Maybe they aren't as distinct from Jordanians or Syrians as Egyptians or Moroccans are, and there are other Arab nations that were basically invented by the British or other colonial powers. But I don't agree that it would mean we'd have to give an independent state to every group that demanded one. I think the case of the Palestinians is kind of unique in that you've got millions of people living elsewhere who think they have more of a claim to this patch of land where they don't live than the people living there right now and that's gonna be a big problem unless we can find a home for them somewhere that they'll accept.

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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby IpseDixit » 2013-07-21, 8:52

Babelfish wrote:I guess you're right :? Though hardly any Israeli politician would say that; when talking to the wide public they need to sell us peace and security, and they know that, and we won't feel we have them until we have reached an agreement with the Palestinians and other Arab countries (and probably for quite a while afterwards). Then again, having unilaterally retreated from southern Lebanon and later from the Gaza Strip only to have extremist terrorist organizations bent on Israel's destruction take over, even with the best of goodwill we're not too keen about getting out of Judea & Samaria now... Yet leaving the situation as-is isn't good either, even in times of relative quiet Israel is facing international pressures and it's like sitting on a volcano and waiting for it to erupt.


Yes, you're right. To me, Palestinians don't look really willing to reach a peace agreement with Israel. In my opinion the reality is that if the West Bank is handed over to them, they'll see that just as the first step before taking back the whole land. I might be mistaken, I hope so, but personally that's what I sense... And I don't see any reason why Israel shouldn't expect a new wave of terrorism from there; and that time, the consequences would be much worse than with Gaza.

That's why I personally think a peaceful solution is almost impossible.
Last edited by IpseDixit on 2013-07-21, 21:55, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby Set » 2013-07-21, 14:07

IpseDixit wrote:Yes, you're right. To me, Palestinians don't look really willing to reach a peace agreement with Israel. In my opinion the reality is that if the West Bank is handed over them, they'll see that just as the first step before taking back the whole land. I might be mistaken, I hope so, but personally that's what I sense... And I don't see any reason why Israel shouldn't expect a new wave of terrorism from there; and that time, the consequences would be much worse than with Gaza.

That's why I personally think a peaceful solution is almost impossible.

Based on what evidence? The Palestinians have offered solutions quite a few times and it's always been Israel that has broken the various agreements (either directly or through collective punishment for the actions of a small militant group which is against the Geneva convention). The Palestinians offered to make small land swaps which would leave Israel much better off as long as they moved the IDF an illegal settlers out of the West Bank and offered to formally recognise Israel and not seek to get back all of the land which was illegally taken by Israel from them over the years. Israel rejected it. So I don't know where you got your opinion from.


As for the nationalities being made up thing. Nationalities are not (always) constructed identities like states are. A group of people with a collective language, history, etc. was not told to be like that; the nationality that they are may well be a label that is applied to them later, but this doesn't mean that the their nationality/ethnicity is invented. Of course some of these ideas are then used and manipulated by state powers to create a made up idea of a united group, but this just shows that nation-states are made up, not ethnicities.
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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby linguoboy » 2013-07-21, 18:08

Set wrote:As for the nationalities being made up thing. Nationalities are not (always) constructed identities like states are. A group of people with a collective language, history, etc. was not told to be like that; the nationality that they are may well be a label that is applied to them later, but this doesn't mean that the their nationality/ethnicity is invented. Of course some of these ideas are then used and manipulated by state powers to create a made up idea of a united group, but this just shows that nation-states are made up, not ethnicities.

Just because nationalities aren't always constructed from above doesn't mean they're not always constructs. Where does a group get the notion that it has a "collective language" in the first place? Imposing a particular standardised form onto a segment of a dialect continuum is almost always the work of a state-level actor. A great many people may have voluntarily chosen to speak Standard French, but that doesn't mean that Standard French itself came into being spontaneously.

It's the same with history. The experience of two neighbouring communities always has features in common and features which set them apart. Constructing a "collective history" means emphasising some of those features at the expense of others. All "Germans" suffered through the Thirty Years' War, but--as with the "War Between the States" in the USA--not everyone suffered fighting on the same side.
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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby Saim » 2013-07-24, 13:26

linguoboy wrote:Where do they come from then? Has there been a Kosovar nationality from the beginning of time just waiting and waiting for a state to come into existence to house it?

There still isn't a Kosovar nationality. Albanian-speakers in Kosovo almost entirely identify themselves with the Albanian national project (in fact, a higher proportion of Kosovo Albanians are in favour of unification with Albania than actual Albania Albanians).

Better examples for your idea in the same area are the Montenegrin, Macedonian and Bosniac ethnogeneses.

mōdgethanc wrote:All nationalities are created whether by the state (civic nationalism) or the people (ethnic nationalism).

Don't forget that this "civic nationalism" usually tries to create a culturally homogenous population to become both etnic and civic (the best example of this is French nationalism).


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