Friday, 1 February 2013

No Matter How Cynical You Are, It's Always Worse Than You Think

Sometimes it's hard to remember that there are things in the world that are genuinely getting better.  We're getting close to forcing another two hideous life-threatening diseases to go the way of smallpox, for example.

Also, 2013 has already been a banner year for those who want to see racism stamped out.  Not because Obama got his second inaugural, really, so much as Israel have promised to stop secretly injecting Jewish Ethiopian immigrants with contraceptive drugs.

It thrills me to learn that 2013 is a year in which a western-backed democracy will not lie to newly arrived black citizens - citizens who share the religion that forms the basis of the state's entire existence - by insisting upon medical injections which are actually designed to limit their population growth.

The fact that 2012 was not such a year is, of course, utterly reprehensible.

I await with interest the response of the bobbleheads in the American media. Will they a) ignore this, b) claim only an anti-Semite would object to European Jews forcibly rendering African Jews infertile [1], or c) claim that everything would've been fine if the IHM had just focused on those damn dirty Palestinians instead?

I'm pretty sure the answer is a), but whatever one's personal feelings regarding the Knesset's approach to international relations, only an idiot would bet that no-one in the US chattering classes won't be willing to defend this to the hilt.

(You'd also be unlikely to lose money betting at least one defender will be the kind of rabid evangelical who under any other circumstances would have hoped the hypodermic needle injected at both ends.   As far as I can tell, the general opinion of the US far-far-far right is that Israel must be given exactly what they want whenever they want it, so that the Christians can get hold of it once AIDS wipes out all the Jews in the world. America can be a complicated place.)

I get tired of all the people who insist on comparing Israeli treatment of Palestinians with Nazi Germany's treatment of Jews, not least because the horrible living conditions of many Palestinians is something to be discussed in absolute terms, not comparative ones, and you're not going to get anywhere with a country born from the fires of the Holocaust by trying to bring up the Nazis for the sake of scoring rhetorical points.

All that said, though, it might also be helpful if the Israeli government could refrain from describing illegal African immigrants as threatening "our existence as a Jewish and Democratic state" whilst sterilising some of those that have every legal right to live there. It should be harder to make the obvious analogies than this.

[1] Some people online are arguing what boils down to "at least this wasn't permanent sterilisation!".   I'd argue the point is moot when you're regularly insisting on repeat injections (referred to as "innoculations" by the medics involved).  The idea that a government that secretly prevents you from having kids until it changes its mind is meaningfully different from one that secretly prevents you from having kids even if the next guys want you to seems pretty shaky.  It would after all be hard to defend the government being able to impose lifelong imprisonment without a trial or chance of appeal on the grounds that at least no-one's being executed.

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