I refer to my earlier posts on the Middle East and Anti-Semitism. Simplistic portrayals of Middle Eastern issues are divisive and unhelpful. It seems that there are big problems on university campuses with some “left-wing” groups who take a simple line that Israel (and therefore Jewish people) are evil. I was very pleased to read that Islamic and Lebanese student groups are condemning such behaviour.
How can one have a straightforward view when even the basic facts on which such views are built are in dispute? For example, in relation to the recent Lebanese conflict, there has been heated debate as to whether media reports of a Lebanese ambulance being hit by an Israeli missile are accurate. On the one hand, a blogger has suggested that the reports were not accurate, but on the other a newspaper reporter has suggested that the reports were accurate.
Having done a fair bit of research on the web into the Middle East, I’ve discovered the crazy political world of the blogosphere. The trend seems to be that the left wing sites are anti-Israel and the right wing sites are anti-Islam. I don’t see why it should be a matter of being left wing or right wing. The Socialist Alternative students mentioned in The Age article above who identify as “left wing” seem to have gone so far around the political spectrum that they could be categorised as “right wing”. In fact, I don’t even know what those labels stand for any more. I think I’m going to be “other wing” or “my very own wing”.
Abusing someone merely because they are a member of a particular ethnicity or religion is just plain racist. This doesn’t mean one turns a blind eye to unpleasant behaviour by individuals of an ethnicity or religion, but just because someone happens to be a Jew or a Muslim should not be taken to indicate that they are a bad person! It certainly doesn’t excuse abusing someone, spitting on someone or making them feel uncomfortable on a university campus.