By Gery L. Deer
August 6, 2014
There’s an inherent problem with “political correctness” when it extends to speaking out against bad policy or horrific acts against the innocent. When the super-sensitive “left” can’t accept that people can dislike someone’s opinion without literally hating them, any hope of long-term, productive dialogue or constructive discourse is totally squelched.
When President Obama was elected, people became so obsessed about his being our first African American president, that to even mention a disagreement with his policies labeled one a racist. Naturally, that’s ridiculous but for the majority of his first term, anyone who argued against him was considered to simply be hateful and bigoted.
We’re in a similar, uncomfortable, situation now with the problems going on in Gaza and the alleged bombing of civilian targets by both Israel and Hamas. There is no question that what’s going on there is terrible and it’s a given that Israel has suffered its share of problems in its short existence as a nation. But, criticism of their tactics in the current Gaza conflict does not make one anti-Semitic, which is utter nonsense.
Because Hamas is seen by many as a “terrorist” organization, it is therefore more acceptable to criticize them publicly, but that’s not the debate. It’s not anti-Semitic to state, “It’s wrong for Israel to bomb civilian targets and kill innocent people, including children.” Anyone who thinks that it’s ok to bomb kids regardless of the purpose may be hinging on sociopathic mentality.
After a United Nations-operated school was bombed in Gaza City last week, killing 20 and wounding dozens, including children, The Washington Post reported that the UN officially condemned Israel for the bombing with UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl saying, “I condemn in the strongest possible terms this serious violation of international law by Israeli forces. This is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame. Today the world stands disgraced.”
There are, of course, those who have accused the U.N., as an organization, of being anti-Semitic since its inception, but this is not an indication of that. This is a statement from the commissioner-general communicating that the world group disagrees with the Israeli tactic and would prefer they try to find a peaceful solution.
Considering that the GPS coordinates of the school had been reportedly sent to Israel at least 17 times, at this point it’s Israel’s own actions drawing negative opinion and squelching sympathy for their cause. Still, it’s seen as distasteful to speak against the Jewish nation without being labeled racist and therein lays the problem.
Will it always be that with any minority or historically trodden-down group, negative opinion or public critique will draw for the speaker undo hatred or have them forever labeled racist, anti-Semitic or worse? Is political correctness always this blind, even in the court room? Yes. It always will be. Take, for instance, mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes here in America.
Statistics suggest that the vast majority of drug criminals in the U.S. are African American. Since there are often mandatory minimum prison sentences on the books for various levels of possession, sale and use of street narcotics, by the logic of some, which makes mandatory minimums racist. Are they? That’s a debate for another time, but the same logic is at work here as well.
There seems to be a belief among modern liberals and conservatives alike that freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, so long as you only say what they want to hear. Anything that goes against the grain on either side of the aisle will earn a swift retribution for the originator of the message. Oddly, it’s always been that way, but now, with social media, the Internet and an instant news cycle, there’s just more of a platform for argument.
Speaking one’s mind about an atrocity is the purview of any conscientious observer. Whether someone is doing so from a racial bias is another matter entirely. However, if those committing the atrocity expect sympathy in some way, it’s unlikely that they will achieve any of their goals by fueling the fires of hate through horrific actions, regardless of whether they believe it to be the means to the end.
Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer syndicated by GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing. More at gerydeer.com.