Friday, June 4, 2010

Helen Thomas: Jews: Get the Hell Out of Palestine; Go to Poland

On May 27, Helen Thomas, the 89-year-old White House Press Corps member and columnist for Hearst Newspapers, said, on camera, that Jews "should get the hell out of Palestine" and go back to "Poland."

Reflections I'd like to share with Helen Thomas.

I was once traveling by pick-up truck through the Central African Republic. Everyone on the truck, except me and two Arab Muslims, was a black African, speaking Sango, which I understood, but which the Arab Muslims did not. At least I assumed that they did not understand Sango, because they did not flinch as the black Africans began to plot, in the Sango language, murdering the Arab Muslims.

Deep hatred of the mostly mercantile and mobile Arabs and Muslims was common among the mostly Christian and/or Animist, agriculturalist, rooted, black Africans among whom I lived. They associated Arab Muslims with the Arab Slave Trade that has devastated black Africa for over a thousand years, claiming between eleven and eighteen million victims, far larger than the Atlantic slave trade, and that continues to this day. Too, black Africans associated Arabs, especially Lebanese, with a despised economic role.

Helen Thomas was born to Lebanese immigrants. She is part of a widely scattered Lebanese Diaspora. Wikipedia reports that this Diaspora is between twelve and fifteen million people, larger than the population of Lebanon itself.

Lebanese, in places like Africa and Brazil, perform Middleman Minority functions in society. Edna Bonacich's Middleman Minority Theory identifies Jews in Europe as also performing Middleman Minority functions, reaping, and enduring, the blessings and curse of that vexed social role.

Many black Africans expressed openly to me their hostility to Lebanese in their countries, and their wish that the Lebanese would "get the hell out of" their villages.

I wonder what Ms. Thomas would say to them.

I wonder if anyone will confront Ms. Thomas with the complicated place of her own ethnicity in the world.

Sadly, I suspect that all too many find it easy today to hate and demonize Jews, and to allow other ethnic groups to escape without any critical examination at all.

Lebanese Diaspora

Thomas Sowell mentions Lebanese as middleman

Arab Slave Trade

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Bieganski the Blog exists to further explore the themes of the book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture.
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